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Latest rankings and reviews by JLipowski:
10 Sep 14

Forty Degrees

Get Ready to Sweat (in a Good Way)

I have heard so much about hot yoga. It is the “hot” topic (pun intended) you see and read about on your friend’s blogs, stating how much they love it. I also remember reading another blog, recapping their first experience. They said and I quote, “You know that feeling when the sweat starts pouring into your eyes? Yeah I didn’t. Until today.” It really grabbed my attention and piqued my interest.

I thought I knew what it meant to sweat. I’ve even had sweat dripping into my eyes after various workouts, but this hot yoga experience worked my body in a new way and took sweating to a whole new level.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect walking in. I knew it was going to be fun and warm (although as I later found out I underestimated the heat) and there were going to be bikram yoga poses, which I was kind of familiar with, but other than that my body and mind had no idea what I was in for.

For my first class, I got there early, making sure to secure a good spot. I was extremely nervous, so I told the instructor I was a first timer to hot yoga. He said he would look out for me.

A couple minutes into class, I thought to myself “Oh! I’m sweating.” Turns out, that was nothing. By the end of the class, 90 minutes later, my clothes were absolutely drenched and it looked like I took a shower without toweling off. Sweat was pouring off my skin, literally. And it wasn’t just me. Everyone, from first-timers to experts, had water dripping from their body.

Additionally, although the moves are relatively slow and about concentration, breathing and strength, my heart was pounding. I didn’t expect to have such a high heart rate. The yoga relaxed me yet my body was enduring a full-blown cardio workout. Overall, the instructor really made me feel comfortable, emphasized it’s not a competition and helped tweak my posture here and there.

I wanted to try several types of classes to get the full experience, so I also tried a 60-minute hot yoga class followed by meditation, and yin yoga. The 60-minute class is faster paced than the 90-minute class, rightfully so. Instead of doing each posture twice, you only do them once, however it really moves. You still get a great cardio workout, but in a shorter period of time. The 30-minute meditation session afterwards was wonderful. The instructor guides you, your thoughts and your body. Again, it was a nice way to end the day, as it was the last class of the evening. The meditation sent me home in a state of bliss.

Yin Yoga ended up being quite a surprise. With this class, I really had no idea what to expect and I discovered it was a great way to wrap up the week. Personally, I found it seemed to be a combination of breathing, stretching and meditation in a way. I enjoyed how long we held the postures, and this class helped balance me out.

I also had the privilege to attend one of Dev Kapil’s classes. He is an internationally acclaimed yoga master from India, so I wanted to seize the opportunity. He did a hatha yoga class in the hot room, pushing my mind and body to new limits.

In all the classes, the teacher pushed each student to the max but did not force anyone to go too far. They gave modifications for every level and depending on how far each student wanted to challenge his or her body. It is hard work, but when you walk out of the studio you feel refreshed and experience a sense of calm.

The studio is centrally located, just steps away from Leidseplein. It is also easily accessible by multiple tram lines, including the 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, and 12. It offers different plans, depending how often you want to attend. Plus, you do not need to reserve in advance. You just show up approximately 15 to 30 minutes in advance. If you do not have a mat, you can rent one for 1 EURO. If it’s your first time visiting the studio, you don’t have to worry about bringing a mat or a towel. They will supply you with one.

Make sure to bring soap, shampoo and/or conditioner with you, though, as they have showers but do not provide toiletries. It’s also good to bring an extra towel for all the sweat you’ll need to mop up.

If you are looking to try hot yoga, I would recommend going to Forty Degrees.

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