I have always considered myself healthy. I eat well, maintain a fairly regular running regime and generally say ‘no’ to the third slice of cake. And yet, it wasn’t until Tuesday that I had ever stepped within the depths of a yoga studio. I had figured that yoga was for women who didn’t like cardio and men who were trying to pick up those women. I was wrong. It turns out that yoga isn’t all new-age smoke and mirrors. Rather, it was a physically relieving experience that had me hooked from my first session. I and another Couturing gal, had the pleasure of visiting one of Melbourne’s premier yoga studios, One Hot Yoga, to take this long-term trend for a test drive. Om!
One Hot Yoga is a sensuously sleek studio that presses on the pulse of South Yarra. As soon as I had approached, it was obvious that the pristine lines and rich red brick were born from the fingers of a meticulous architect. I entered alone. The front reception was bustling; men and women dabbed at their flushed faces with small towels before handing them over with a soft exchange of ‘thank you’. After giving my name, I was immediately directed to the changing room and told that there was a fountain of filtered water by the door.
I climbed a small flight of stairs and entered the sort of light-filled space you’d expect of a ballet studio. The heat pulsated from beautifully disguised thermal heaters and began to wrap about me. Between this and the soft, rich scent of star anise, cinnamon and vanilla, I had already forgotten my day. The room was full and yet so silent that as I weaved through the motionless bodies, the only sound I heard was the occasional exhale of breath. As I took my place, I turned to my companion and whispered, ‘are we yogis yet?’
The feeling one gets upon the completion of a session is invigorating. I anticipated nausea, dizziness and an all-over ache but was surprised to find my limbs limber and my mind calm. My instructor, Christie, was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the session. I asked why she thought heated yoga had risen to such popularity, her response was that ‘people get addicted to the heat, to the sweat.’ And although that may sound bizarre, there is something oddly cleansing about experiencing such a physical release. As Christie later said, ‘it’s about creating a clean slate.’
One Hot Yoga and hot yoga in general, should not be confused with the practice of Bikram. Bikram Yoga is a franchise of yoga that began with Bikram Choudhury. The two streams both stem from the lineage of Bishnu Gosh but One Hot Yoga draws upon other such yoga types as Ashtanga, Iyengar and others. Bikram asks students to follow a 90-minute fixed series of postures whilst One Hot Yoga asks for a 60-minute session of varied positions. The reasoning behind this is that a varied structure allows students to build upon different muscles as well as enjoy a fresh and interesting experience each time.
The sessions offered by One Hot Yoga are well priced and are scattered throughout the day, ensuring that both the early birds and the night owls will be in attendance. The class sizes are relatively small and not entirely populated by size 6 ex-models as I initially feared. Although, there were a couple of girls who entered with a bottle of sparkling water in one hand, coconut water in the other. For the most part, however, it’s just you, me and a handful of dedicated yogis. I spent the days following my class at OHY feeling refreshed, recovered and motivated to exercise more. Their introductory offers are exceptionally tempting ($25 for an unlimited two weeks) and the studio provides mats for no charge.
Take a detour from your usual work-home commute and give OHY a chance. You’ll leave calm, energised and with a sign-up form in hand. Trust me; I’m a yogi now.
One Hot Yoga, 36 River Street, South Yarra.