When I went along to the launch of Hot Yoga Society I had planned on writing an article about the beauty benefits of sweat! Seriously, we are all so ‘anti-sweat’ these days, we forget that actually sweating is essential for skin health (note: I’m talking sweating not smelling!). There are so many health benefits to sweating but something else caught my interest at Hot Yoga Society instead…
Yoga, I think, has a bit of an ‘in-crowd’, a bit of an elite crew who know the lingo and wear the uniform. They can (unintentionally) be slightly intimidating and can make yoga classes feel quite daunting to us novices. I’m okay-ish at yoga but there have been many occasions when I know I’m not in exactly the right position but daren’t reposition and draw attention to the fact that I haven’t quite ‘got it’. This is not a criticism to yoga pros; quite the opposite actually, it’s not their fault if we put them on a pedestal! They’ve worked hard to master their poses and should perform them with pride- I know if I could do a headstand I’d be showing them off at every opportunity! I just think that somewhere along the way, a silly and unnecessary line has been drawn between the experienced yogie and the yoga newbies (possibly by newbie insecurity?) and it’s putting people off.
So imagine when I walk into the class at Hot Yoga Society and am greeted by my teacher, Jessamyn Stanley, the most un-stereotypical yoga teacher you could ever wish to meet! If you think she is big in stature, know that she is even bigger in personality! Self-taught via the internet, Jessamyn used yoga to battle depression; she says “I still have rainy days but yoga has become my umbrella” and due in part to her huge Instagram following she has impacted the yoga world in a big and beautiful way. She wants yoga to feel welcoming to every person and teaches how to adjust classic yoga moves to accommodate your body shape or ability, she encourages you to ask “how do I feel?” not “how do I look?” In short: she is a breath of fresh air.
Choosing Jessamyn Stanley to launch Hot Yoga Society was a very deliberate choice on their part; they are out to break the clique. Yoga is for everyone, of all shapes and sizes and from all backgrounds. Rather than putting the elite on that pedestal, we newbies should admire their dedication and have faith in the knowledge that everyone was a beginner once, and give it a go! Yoga philosophy advocates inner strength and healing, which will mean different things to different people but more importantly will mean something to everyone. Namaste x