My best friend, Mikaela, and I enrolled in a Hot Yoga 30-day Challenge for the month of May at Hot8 in Beverly Hills, California. It changed my life, in the most astounding, ridiculous, fulfilling ways imaginable.
1) Dehydration is the root of all evil.
Seriously though, I make it a point to drink water throughout the day, and judge my hydration levels on the color of my urine and my overall mood. I’m usually the girl who’s interrupting everything to pee because I drink so much water. But 105-110 degree heat everyday will make you wonder how much water is really physically acceptable to drink. Some days I couldn’t get enough.
2) Yoga instructors can make or break you.
When you find that one you resonate with, or two if you’re really lucky like me, they make it all worth it. When you forget about the time, you forget where you are, and you delve into that space of truly connecting your body and soul. They turn yoga into poetry and grace, and the way their bodies move makes your jaw drop, and makes you wonder why you didn’t take up yoga 10 years ago when all the cool hippies were raving about it.
They become the reason you show up. Because they show up for you in the most miraculous ways.
3) The interior of your car will start to smell like the yoga studio, an equal blend of sweet and sweat.
Mmmm, ewww, namasteeeeeeee.
4) There will be days you physically just don’t feel like you can do it, like drive your car halfway there and turn around can’t do it.
Yes, this happened to me. One Saturday about 20 days in I woke up early with the intention of getting my yoga in, and my mind right before I spent the day with this cute guy I had just started seeing. Yeah, I needed the yoga to keep me sane from the potentially neurotic “I’m so into him” feelings. I drove halfway to Hot8 and my body was just shouting to me, “take a day off please!” So I did. Sure, I felt guilty, but I listened to my body. I had an amazing date, and I showed up 100% the next day for two classes.
5) You will grow in ways you couldn’t expect, spiritually and physically.
The 30-day challenge came 60 days into my yoga practice. It was my new best friend’s last month in LA and we just had to do it! I knew it would be a challenge, but I didn’t expect the way it would touch my heart, and strengthen my body. I remember sitting in savasana on the 29th day of the challenge. Next to my best friend who was about to move across the country. And my favorite instructor quoting Dr. Seuss, “How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” I cried. In yoga class. My soul was on fire. The culmination of developing a lifelong friendship, a mentorship with my yoga instructor, a deep self-reflection, the stillness, the calm, the strength, the sweat, the tears. I grew in that moment. I will never forget it. Don’t ever be ashamed of human emotion. It gives you power.
6) You best have access to laundry facilities.
Seriously. The sweat is no joke.
7) Coconut water rocks when you’re super dehydrated.
So do bananas. And lemon essential oil water. Yeah, potassium and magnesium are vital. And lemon oil to flush out those nasty toxins. Waking up with leg cramps ain’t no joke. Drink LOTSA water, and supplement when necessary (i.e. when you have leg cramps and yellow urine).
8) Best friends make for the best yoga mates.
Without Mikaela, I wouldn’t’ have made it. She’s my soul sister. She’s my forever yoga partner. She’s the reason I made it through 30 classes in 30 days (actually 35 classes in 35 days counting the 4 days preceding May). Yogis for life. Love you, girl. And thank you for sticking by my side.
9) Smiley face stickers have just as much meaning when you’re in your 30s as they do when you’re 7.
When you get to put that sticker next to your name after each class you feel like a Rockstar! Just like in first grade when you finished a book and got to put the sticker next to your name. Yeah, same feeling 25 years later.
10) Be nice to the parking attendants, they’re just trying to do their job well, and that’s alotta cars to deal with.
Parking in LA is just plain ridiculous, let alone in Beverly Hills. But at least its validated for 2 hours at Hot8. Sure it can be stressful having to get there 15 minutes early just to make sure you can park and make it to class in time. Just be kind – they’ve gotta deal with Mr. FancyPants Executive with the Maserati, and he’s probably not as sweet as you on a Friday at 5pm.
11) Get used to showering at a public facility.
Showering after hot yoga is mandatory, I don’t care who you are. Even if you sat in child’s pose the whole class, you stink. Mandatory shower ASAP.
12) You will be awestruck when you see the amount your body can sweat, gazing at your outstretched arms, watching the streams of sweat rushing down your skin.
The human body is a machine. A beautiful, elegant, fierce machine. Listening to sweat drip off your body onto your mat is music. Shedding old toxicity and breathing in deep purification – its magic.
13) Hot yoga is not for wimps.
I’m a former Division 1 athlete and I always had a slight fear of yoga. I was accustomed to rigorous, high intensity workouts and didn’t think yoga could do much for me. Until I injured myself in 2014 and couldn’t run or jump without pain. “Ok, fine, lets try this yoga thing,” I told myself. Goodness, I wish I would have learned yoga when I was first introduced to sports at age 6. My body would be so much stronger, flexible, and I could have had a more compassionate view of myself from a much younger age. Hey, better late than never. Do the yoga!
14) Beyoncé f*ing rocks, hell yeah, Marja!
I love both of these women, but especially Marja. She’s fierce, she’s sassy, she’s compassionate, a dreamer, a lover of life, a teacher, a friend – I’ve been so blessed to learn yoga and life lessons from my fellow Finnish soul sister. She will teach yoga for Beyoncé one day. And my heart will pulse with such joy when it happens. She’s the shiz.
15) A combination of the right music, the right instructor, the right mantra… will stretch you further than you thought possible, no pun intended.
Just kidding. All puns intended.
Seriously though, now I can touch my toes.
16) You may run into an impromptu mobile Kendrick Lamar concert.
On Sunset Boulevard drenched in sweat, shivering, after your back-to-back Friday evening classes, but screw it, you only YOLO once, right? Go see the concert, your bestie’s boyfriend will bring you a hoodie. Thanks, Chad!
17) Breath is life.
This is very apparent in a 110 degree hot yoga studio filled to capacity with sweaty yogis. Yoga has taught me a new way of recognizing and utilizing breath in my life. You can breathe your way through every challenge, every obstacle, every emotion that life gives you. That’s the truth. Do it now, inhale deeply through your nose filling your belly then chest and heart, and an open mouth exhale. Feels nice, doesn’t it? Now practice that. All. The. Time.
18) You very well may cry. Not because it hurts, but because it touches your soul.
I did. And I love myself more because of it.
P.S. For my friends in Los Angeles, check out Hot8 Yoga!