Earlier this month, we said our final farewell to the upstairs of 7025 N. Lombard Street.
We built out this studio in 2015 with a negative amount of dollars in our pockets, our first kid on the way and fistfuls of crazy dreams.
In March of 2020 we had a thriving business guiding people to become healthy, happy and empowered!
It employed awesome people, attracted visiting yoga teachers from around the world, raised funds for important causes, held space for countless friendships to bloom, and helped people save their own lives by practicing Bikram Yoga.
It fed and clothed our family of 4, and surrounded us in real-deal, got-your-back style community.
The rest is (literally) history.
2 months into our second mandated closure in one year, we have left our keys and closed the door.
But I want you to know:
This is not the sad story of another small business killed by Oregon's misguided Covid-era regulations (although they sure didn't help)
It's the story of 2 parents who made a choice.
We chose to release our physical location and stop fighting a losing battle - while we still had the means to support our children AND keep connecting our community to Bikram Yoga (and with each other) through our online classes and resources.
As we practice in yoga, we made peace with what was not under our control, and we chose to focus on what is.
Of course this was not the way we imagined our exit. But what ever goes as planned?
And why am I writing all this??
I want to draw attention to the reason at the heart of why we opened Home Hot Yoga in the first place:
It's that we each only have this one life.
A lot in it is out of our control. But SO MUCH is up to us!
We believe that no matter the circumstance, no matter what is lost or what disappoints or even hurts us, none of us ever have to be victims. Being a victim is a choice.
Taking the wheel of your destiny-car is also a choice. Bikram Yoga helps us practice taking the wheel for 10-20 seconds at a time, 90 minutes at a time!
When things really get good though, is when we start putting that practice into action- off of the yoga mat.
So here we are, walking the walk and taking the wheel.
For us that means selling most of our belongings including our home and getting on a plane to Mexico (today!!) for starters.
All our things fit in a few suitcases now. We'll be spending more time with our kids. We'll be living lighter, spending less and working on exciting new ways to serve humanity. (Stay tuned!!)
Best of all, thanks to the magical technology of our age this move doesn't have to mean goodbye! We still get to practice this life-changing yoga together in our online "studio." (You may see more palm trees in the background of our videos from now on!)
Keep in touch, Homies.
Walk that walk. Take the wheel.
Practice being in your outside-of-yoga life as badass and in-charge as you feel when you nail that Standing Bow Pulling pose without falling over. (Or better yet, when you do fall over but you stand up and try again anyway without mentally berating yourself at all!)
See you soon in class.
While returning to your Bikram Yoga practice may not be the hardest thing you've done this year it can be a challenge to get back into your routine after a hiatus.
PLUS you might be making it harder without even knowing it!
Don't do that.
Here are 3 blunders to avoid when re-starting your yoga practice post-break:
1. Practicing exactly like you used to
The reality is, until your first class back in the studio (unless your "quarantine project" was building a sauna in your garage) you have not done Bikram Yoga in 105 degrees in at least 7 months. And you've probably never done it in a mask!
If you come in going "balls to the wall" you may find yourself in final savasana around party time. Instead, EASE back into your practice by... lowering your expectations.
One way to try is doing the 1st set of each pose very gently (seriously, 10% of what you think you can do) and hold it still and breathe. If you feel strong, try doing a little bit more in the 2nd set.
Instead of trying to do a "deep" posture or even the whole posture, try doing 1 step at a time with your most perfect technique. Your body has been through a LOT lately (even just sitting long hours at a desk can be traumatic!) It's not kind- or fair- to ask it to perform like it did back when you were attending yoga several times a week.
Approaching your practice in this patient and measured way will help you build strength and stamina- and reconnect your consciousness to your body in a way you haven't done in a while!
Backing off on intensity always provides an incredible opportunity to learn so much about the pose, the yoga- and most importantly, about yourself.
2. Not drinking water, because face diaper
Maybe it's just us, but the team have noticed ourselves drinking WAY less at the studio now that we've got masks on (and kombucha is no longer on tap!)
Especially if you wear a mask throughout the day, create a habit of chugging at least a 16-24 oz glass of water first thing in the morning when you wake up. You'll be ahead of the hydration game before you cover up your piehole.
P.S. We now have SOMA Kombucha in bottles! Grab one after class and take it with you. Did you know the Concord Grape Rii is caffeine free? Refreshing and hydrational (yes that is now a word)
3. Not involving your peeps
One of the biggest mistake we make as individualistic American cowboys (or cowgirls or cowpersons) is believing we have to go it alone.
If being trapped home alone for months has taught us anything, it's how much we gain from being with others. Returning to your yoga practice is no different. Studies have even shown that people tend to exercise more regularly when they have an exercise partner!
Making plans for a "yoga date" can be the best motivation (and hey, we've made it super easy to socially distance in the hot room.)
Send a yoga buddy THIS LINK to get their 1st month for $50!
Did these tips help you rock your return? Let us know!
Did you know that using heat for healing is old-school?
Far from being a fad, heat therapy has been used in many cultures (as far back as ancient Egypt) as a medical treatment for a variety of aches and pains? Makes sense if you think about it, since an increase in temperature to an area of the body promotes circulation and blood flow there. And blood is how each part of your amazing body receives the nutrients it craves, and removes the waste it needs gone
What heat does:
Heat relaxes tense muscles and (by improving circulation) helps heal damaged tissue, ease soreness and relieve joint pain caused by arthritis or just being a stiff dude. Heat therapy can be "dry heat" like using a heating pad or sitting in a sauna, or "moist heat" like soaking in a hot spring or applying steamed towels. At 105 degrees and 40% humidity (your clothes basically become steamed towels!) our hot room environment here at Home is kind of... both.
Heat has even been found to be an effective treatment for depression!
This area of research is relatively new, but already this study has even looked specifically at using heated yoga to treat depression and anxiety and (surprise surprise!) it works. Bonus: no crummy side effects like other anti-depressants.
There's lots of evidence exposure to warm temperatures can elevate your mood. Scientists have observed that brain areas which process pleasant stimulation activate when the skin is warmed. Activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex for example is low in depression, but it’s increased by warm stimulation.
While being in the heat helps us feel happier, doing yoga poses in the heat also provides an added challenge to the mind, and through that challenge hot yogis cultivate the oh-so-practical mental qualities of Faith, Self Discipline, Concentration, Determination and Patience!
Athletes use heat training for improved endurance.
A rapid increase in the volume of blood's plasma when it's hot seems to boost performance in athletes! It does so by helping move excess heat out to the skin and cool you off, among other things. The jury's still out on whether heat training helps improve endurance in regular temperatures, but... concentration and determination definitely do.
Heat may also keep you saf(er)
Check out this blog post here for what science has found about the effects of heat and humidity on COVID-19 transmission rates. (Hint: it's good news for Bikram yogis!)
A blacksmith doesn't try to take a piece of iron and change its shape by just pounding away at it cold. You have to heat it up first! In the same way, we're trying to change (improve!) both both body and mind when we practice yoga. Keeping toasty helps you do it!
Ready to try? Book your next heat therapy- I mean, hot yoga- sesh here.
Our psychic powers tell us you may be wondering: is wearing a mask in hot yoga even safe?
Are you prepared to take excellent care of yourself during class?
That means breathe through your nose, and rest when necessary (Hint: if you find it hard to keep breathing through your nose, you need a rest:
When you first return Home, you will probably need to take more breaks than you are accustomed to. It's true that a mask will be in the way of air headed into your nose, but also don't forget that you haven't been in a hot room for 7 months!
Everyone is going to be out of "hot yoga shape" at Homecoming, masks or no masks. We all get to re-acclimate together.
If you think about it, that's kind of awesome.
Never in the history of the studio have we ever had a class where everyone was still getting used to the heat!
What a gift that we all get to support and inspire each other in this way.
Look, if you have any concern (and especially if you have any respiratory issues) you should definitely ask your doctor if wearing a mask in hot yoga is for you.
Having said that, there may even be some benefit to exercising while wearing a mask!
For years, athletes have used "elevation training masks" which decrease levels of oxygen to simulate working out at high elevations. The idea is training the lungs to perform with less oxygen, will make performing with normal oxygen levels that much easier.
It's important to note that wearing a regular (non-ETM) mask does not actually decrease oxygen levels (though it may feel like it sometimes)
Bottom line: athletes have been training in masks for years. The word "training" is the key: it's a practice. Like yoga.
Doing your yoga in a mask is going to take practice.
So are you prepared?
If you're prepared to try- mindfully and patiently, practicing in a mask will be way less lame.
By the way, just like trying ONE class in a mask is not really enough.
Because, imagine if you only tried Standing Bow Pulling pose ONCE, and then decided you couldn't do it?? You've got to give this (and yourself!) an honest chance. Just like when you first began practicing in the heat: 2 or 3 classes in your first week will help you adjust the quickest.
Who knows, your respiratory system may actually get stronger from the experience! Your ability to tune in to your body's signals and manage intensity accordingly definitely will.
And that's a bonus worth training for!
Check out this post for more thoughts and tips on wearing masks in class.
Hey everyone, it's Stacy and I'm thrilled to be writing this post. I appreciate the little pockets of "creative outlet" I can find in this whole new normal we're living in.
Let me share a little about myself so you can catch my perspective. I'm a wife, a mom of 3 kids, we have a bunch of little animals at our house (7 chicks, a dog, and a bunny! - and yes, you can come to our urban petting zoo when this is all over!)
We are one of the families impacted by the astounding lay-off statistics which happened to account for 95% of our family's income. We have 2 school aged children and are navigating distance learning for the long haul, our other child is in the medically vulnerable population, and we're just doing our best to live life and be happy and make this whole crazy thing work.
We're happy, worried, soaking in all the family time and utterly exhausted by the end of each day all at once.
On top of that, I'm also trying to make sure I am taking care of myself by doing things that fuel my soul and make my body happy - one of those being Bikram Yoga.
I am no expert... at, well, any of this. I am not a long-seasoned yogi. I am certainly no expert at managing a life and a household during a global pandemic. I mean, is anyone? But I do want to offer a couple ideas that have been extremely helpful in finding peace, balance, and time to practice yoga.
First, let’s chat about peace.
It almost seems like a taboo topic right now. Peace? In the middle of all this?? Isn’t that completely neglecting the reality of the world right now which feels pretty full of unrest? Are you actually being a toxic-positive person?? Yikes. No, definitely not. I don’t know about you - but I cannot just sit and soak in sadness and despair. It’s already here, I don’t have to do anything else to help it exist.
Don’t get me wrong, I could get completely caught up in the endless amount of news floating around, but my peace would suffer. Right now I must keep my peace for my own sake and also for my family’s sake, since we are cooped up together 24/7. So how do you do this when you’re busy and being pulled in a thousand directions from your kids, spouse, life, etc.
You must decide you are deserving and worth it and peace is as essential as water and air to live and thrive and you must must must make it happen.
Finding peace looks different for every single one of us. It could mean dedicated quiet time, exercise, laughing, reading, napping, fresh air, praying, meditating, journaling, painting, creating, the list is endless. Whatever it looks like for you, do it. Do it as often as you can. I'd love to say I carve out pockets of peace every single day, but I don't... I wish!! But I do the majority of the time. And in my life, majority rules.
After peace, I try to create a little balance in our day.
Ah, the great "balancing act." I can’t possibly fit in everything I want and need to do every single day in our busy household, but I can find a sense of balance that makes me feel like I’ve got a (small) sense of control to what’s going on around here.
Even though we are not going out as much, I notice feeling just as busy (if not more) at home! Kid's school work, house projects, Zoom meetings, the endless amounts of cooking and cleaning, getting in some exercise, carving out time for yourself and/or your partner, and each kid, and walking the dog... did I mention cooking and cleaning yet? Don’t forget you need to rest! And and and… am I right? It’s a lot!
And it’s totally ok to feel like it is, because hey: IT IS. I mean, there have been multiple days where I had planned all the things, and then just sat around, re-dried the same load of laundry 3 times and ate snacks all day.
Well, I quickly learned that was not going to work for me, and just as quickly realized balance is possible. Thank goodness, too!
Here’s what works for me, and if you’re struggling to “fit it all in,” maybe this can help you feel less overwhelmed with it all:
1. Make a list of "non-negotiables"
These are things that are absolute musts for yourself and your family. Family dinner, time outside, breakfast together, quiet time… what are they in your life? This list doesn’t have to be long, but I encourage you to evaluate all the things you are busy doing, and pull out those key things that keep your household functioning and moving forward.
2. Set a schedule
Don’t you feel better when you know what is coming next? This schedule doesn’t have to be strict or even down to the minute, but more so a guideline to what and how you will move through your day. A rhythm. The rest, listen closely: IS OPTIONAL. I know… I know! Give yourself, your family, and your day the grace it needs and deserves to be fluid enough to feel good. It's called balance
3. Do yoga
Ahhhhh... yes, the yoga. My brain already feels a sense of calm coming over it just thinking about it. How do I fit this in? Like seriously, I can barely take a 10-minute shower without interruption let alone dedicate 90 whole minutes to myself, inside my house, with all these people and animals.
Before, I could go to the studio, I could shut off all the things, the hot room was a sweet and sweaty escape, I could "hide" away and just... do something for myself. Yoga looks pretty much the opposite of that right now in every way, except that it is still yoga - and it's for me - practiced by me - and the benefits are all mine.
Having to practice at home has uprooted all the "feel good" things I love about yoga and has forced me to a realization that yoga is so valuable to my life, even without all the frills of the studio environment.
Is my space hot? No. It's a little hot with chaos some days. Do I have a mirror? Also, no, not really. Does my toddler mimicking me count? Can I get it humid enough? Not nearly. But sometimes, I have a couple kids or a dog breathing right in front of my face and it feels a little humid... (kidding. not kidding.)
Do I get to focus and meditate completely? Ehh... not entirely. And by entirely, I mean not at all. Am I able to complete an entire 90 minutes, uninterrupted? Negative. I don't even always get a chance to complete 90 minutes at all.
I have learned that in order for me to have a successful home practice, I had to reconstruct what the word "successful" means.
I often practice in the middle of the living room floor, or when it's nice out, I throw a mat down outside. Always, I have a couple kids bopping in and out and lying down next to me, or on me, or trying to crawl through my legs, a dog rolling around on the floor thinking it's playtime, or kids taking their own sweet savasana on top of me while I'm in one too...
The commotion is endless.
But the yoga is timeless.
I've learned to let go of my idealistic perfect yoga experience, and realize that yoga IS the experience.
Some is better than none, and I've had to adjust my mindset from tolerating that, to celebrating that, and remarkably I can say that my body and mind are still reaping the benefits of a "not-so-perfect" yoga practice. My family and I are better for it, and I’m really glad I decided to just get over the fact that yoga is different now, and get to doing it for any amount of time, at any time of day.
The truth is, some of us haven't been in a good habit of practicing yoga since the stay-home orders have been in place. That's ok... kind of. If it's truly just not for you, not important to you, and yoga has not been a positive impact in your life, then sure, it's ok to not be practicing
But some of us need to check our yoga-egos (I know I did) at our own front door.
We need to realize that the benefits of practicing at home, an imperfect practice in a less-than-ideal environment, win out by far over the consequences of not practicing at all.
And here's the good news: it's a practice. This is quite possibly the only time we will be forced to practice peace, balance, and yoga in a world that looks like this, in a home space that exists like this, and in a mindset that feels like this.
I for one am optimistic for my future self - that I will have learned so much during this time in a way that I never would have before. I mean, can you even imagine how good my savasana will be when we get back into the hot room after all this practice with my kids jumping all over me? Ha!
So here's to you, and me, and all of us. Making an attempt for joy in our life, through the practice (and grace!) of peace, balance, and yoga.
See you at Home!
HHY Founder, Yoga Business Coach, yoga-doer and life-lover, Kay Afif!