I will be the first to admit that I LOVE the feeling of being in a hot sweaty challenging yoga class. I would feel this euphoric high as I walked out of the class and took my first breath of cool fresh air rush into my lungs and the drops of sweat on my turn cool.
I used to work at Core Power (a hot yoga studio) where I did on average 3 classes a week. Usually on top of my crazy gym routine cause… well exercise bulimia. My eating disorder told me I had to train this much in order to be a worthy, happy human being.
The funny thing is, I was probably the most unhealthy human being despite the fact that I had a membership to 3 gyms, drank green juice every morning, and ate mono meals of pineapple for breakfast. I listened diligently to the advice I saw floating around the interweb; fasting, detoxing, juicing, sauna sessions, colonics… you get the picture.
I gobbled up all this information about health and wellness and became obsessed with doing everything right and creating the healthiest body I would.
I would read up on the latest findings in health and practice them diligently.
If the world said–>vegetables are good for you
I would fill up my plate for breakfast lunch and dinner with asparagus, green beans, broccoli, spinach leaving no room for anything else
If the world said–>Exercise makes you strong
I would exercise 7 hours a day in hopes of becoming stronger.
If the world said–> Yoga has so many benefits
I would then do yoga in a room that’s 105 degrees with 15 lbs weights 3x a week.
If the world said–> Green juice is filled with antioxidants
I would go 3 weeks with drinking only green juice and eating no food.
To sum it up, I would take everything to the EXTREME.
Sure, working out is good for you but that doesn’t mean working out 7 hours a day is healthy. 30 minutes of moderate activity 5x a week is all that is recommended to stay healthy. My 87-year-old grandma is very healthy and she has never once stepped foot into a gym. For her activity, she enjoys walking and gardening which she does a couple of times a week.
Over-training has been shown time and time again to lower one’s immunity, put too much stress on your heart and bones, decrease the quality of your sleep and lead to hormonal issues in both men and women.
Similarly, eating vegetables is good for you. There’s lots of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in produce but eating too many vegetables can cause a lot of problems. First off, many people experience extreme digestive distress from the high amount of fiber in an all-vegetable diet. Secondly, while there are many nutrients in vegetables there are many that are missing. Meat, eggs, dairy, wholegrain, fish, these foods have essential nutrients in them as well and if we don’t get enough of them the body can become depleted.
If there’s something that I have learned about eating disorders over the years is that they LOVE extremes. Unfortunately, health is usually not found at either end of the spectrum but instead in the middle. Eat some veggies every day, don’t ONLY eat vegetables. Work out and be active, but take lots of rest days. I know it doesn’t seem as fin but sticking to the middle ground is where you will find balance.
A rule of thumb in recovery is to stay away from the extremes.
So, this brings me to yoga. Yoga was meant to be done in the early morning or evening to avoid the heat of the day. This practice was meant to be calming, promote relaxation, awaken one’s awareness of self, and calm the chatty mind. You could say it is a very balancing practice to help us find calm in this stressful, high paced world.
Traditional yoga is all about finding the strength and surrender in a posture. Building heat yet making sure you stay cool. Finding the strength in the stillness.
Hot yoga, on the other hand, is the perfect example of taking something good and taking it to the EXTREME wherein this beneficial practice can become dangerous.
Hot yoga is all about strength, pushing through the heat, and taking your body to its limits. There is no peace within the strength… its all strength and brute force to continue with the fast-paced class.
The heated room does not allow your body to cool down which can lead to exhaustion and dehydration. When practiced regularly many will see hormonal imbalances, pulled muscles, and migraines.
My recovery was all about stepping away from the extremes and finding the balance in everything. Balance in movement, vegetables, diet, and yoga.
In this video, I share how important it was for me to stop doing hot yoga for my period to come back. If you do hot yoga regularly then I recommend watching the video.