This morning I put my 18th checkmark on the Yoga Challenge poster displayed at Yoga 101. The checkmark denotes my progress in the challenge to complete 40, 50, or 60 hot yoga classes in 60 days.
To ensure my success in this feat — offered by Yoga 101 most years since it was founded 15 years ago — I’m challenging myself first to practice hot yoga every day for 30 days; I have taken a 60-minute, 75-minute, or 90-minute hot yoga class every day for 20 days. (I began my own count before the official challenge began.)
Yoga 101 students completing the challenge receive an “I Beat the Heat” T-shirt and credit for Yoga 101 classes.
For the athletes reading who swim or run every day of the year and wonder what’s the big deal about taking 40, 50, or 60 hot yoga classes in 60 days, I’ll offer this: Bikram Choudhury, founder of the most popular form of hot yoga practiced in the U.S., calls the properly heated and humidified yoga studio “Bikram’s torture chamber.” Walking into studio heated to 110 degrees to 115 degrees with up to 50 percent humidity, I have thought of this on more than a few of the past 19 days.
Who are the more 80 than yogis doing this challenge? Men and women, teenagers to those north of age 75, longtime students and those new to hot yoga, folks wanting to lose weight (most of us believe hot yoga helps torch calories), and people who want to gain strength, heal injuries, or achieve a bit of yen.
A fairly consistent practitioner for more than a decade, I feel my best when I am doing lots of hot yoga, as well as walking and lifting weights.
Want to experience hot yoga yourself? Yoga 101 is the city’s only dedicated, independent hot yoga studio. The Downtown YMCA recently added a hot yoga studio and Tri-State Athletic Club built a hot yoga studio three years ago.