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Pause. Not because you hear the call of your child’s voice or the ring of your phone, but because you deserve a moment to breathe. As parents, so much time is spent running from school, to work, to the store, and before we know it, we are exhausted and the day is over. It’s time to start reclaiming your sanity and take care of the one person who is taking care of everyone else—you.
I know what you’re thinking: Who has time? There is so much to do! Finding the justification to focus on you can feel near impossible. But if you can’t be the best for yourself, how can you possibly be the best for your kids?
Kids know the difference between a happy parent and a stressed-out parent. Allow yourself to say not now, maybe later to your child, spouse—even a friend. The first time will be hard, but once you get past the initial feeling of guilt, everyone starts to win. It’s about finding the hidden moments that present themselves every day.
To be successful, start small. Instead of seeing your child’s artwork as another thing you need to put away, take a minute (or two) to treasure what was created by the person you love. Guess what? If it stays on the kitchen counter another day, it won’t change how your tomorrow turns out.
Make a list (yes, another list) of the things you loved to do before becoming a parent. A list that doesn’t let the limitations of time and money get in the way. Pick two or three items and find ways to incorporate them into your daily life. If your goal is to exercise, then find pockets of time—even if it’s just a few minutes. Start with taking a walk while your kids are at school or practice. If you’re at work, use your lunch break to lace up your sneakers and get outside. The errands can wait. Your well-being is important.
Do you love early mornings or late nights? Make that time matter. Before the kids get up or after they go to bed, sit down with a cup of tea, a good book or a crossword puzzle. Take a bath. Disconnect from screens, turn off the outside noise and allow yourself 10 or 15 minutes to breathe, reflect and relax. You deserve it.
While self-care can seem like sipping champagne in a silk robe on social media, it starts with taking back small moments in your day. As you begin to value your time and energy more, you will even find yourself breathing lighter, thinking clearer, and speaking to your loved ones in a more mindful manner. With time, you might even realize that some of those things on your to-do list don’t really need to be there. If you aren’t ready to say yes to you, then say yes for the sake of your kids, family and loved ones. Trust me, everyone wins.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.