What's So HOT About Power Yoga?

by Brenda Lain
Eastern Shore Yoga co-owner/instructor

It’s summer and 100 degrees in Easton, MD and the studio at Eastern Shore Yoga is beginning to fill up for its evening, hot yoga class.  The studio is a muscle limbering 88 degrees and the students are chatting, rolling out mats, preparing for a sweaty, vigorous class—looking forward to going to their edge.  So what brings people of varying genders, ages, and bodies to yoga in general and Eastern Shore Yoga (ESY) in particular?

I know what brought me to yoga, and anyone with an angst-ridden, 16-year-old, teenage daughter would understand completely, stress release.  It was 2000 and I had just moved with my husband and two daughters to Pittsburgh, PA.  My teenage daughter left behind her high school, friends, and “the boy she loved” in Georgia.  She hated life and especially me.  So when a newfound friend of mine suggested I take a yoga class with her, I reluctantly agreed, thinking a group of women sitting around chanting and stretching was not going to cure my ills.  I needed something stronger, like military school for girls, or a bottle of scotch for me.  What I found was something that changed my life, my relationship with my daughter, and my body.

This particular yoga was Power Yoga.  The room was heated and the yoga poses connected through a flow, which consisted of a yoga pushup no less.  Half way through, I was praying for the chanting and stretching.  But something happened during that 75-minute class, not once did I obsess over my teenage daughter problems.  I was breathing, moving, sweating, and working my butt off (quite literally).  By the time shavasana, final relaxation, came around.  I was hooked.  Every time I would feel stress creep up on me, I’d take a class.  I was taking as many as 2 classes a day, five days a week and it was working.  I was not changing my daughter; I was changing how I interacted with her.  I was calmer, more considerate, and took things less personally.  She noticed the change and started coming to class with me and then on her own.  She is now married, with a child of her own, and  a 500-hour certified yoga instructor.  Can I attribute all this to yoga, maybe.

I have practiced yoga since that day and am now 200-hour Power Yoga certified.  In May of this year, three other incredible yoga instructors, Tim Washburn, Kara Miller, and Deedee McCue and I opened Eastern Shore Yoga—the first hot yoga studio in the area. 

What brings people to a hot class on a hot day, especially if they work outside?  I asked this question of Jen and India, two of our students whose jobs are hot and physical.   They are shipwrights, carpenters skilled in shipbuilding and repair.  Jen says, “Yoga is a mind, body, soul thing; my patience level is better; I feel stronger and enjoy taking things to my edge.  Yoga is good for my mental health; I’m pretty high strung and yoga helps me with that big time and allows me to focus my energy properly.  So it was incredible when Eastern Shore Yoga opened because it allows me to continue to enjoy all the aspects of yoga in a  great space.  India believes that ESY has helped her be more consistent in her practice and says, “Yoga is really good for my mental state.  I would qualify myself as an internally angry person and yoga allows me not to put that out on other people.  It has been really good for my ego to make small advances in class.  I have been able to do a headstand, which I couldn’t do before I got here.  Overall, it’s been really good for my health.  I really like how all the instructors at ESY have their own personalities even though the format is similar.”

Why practice yoga at Eastern Shore yoga?  One reason could be not only does ESY offer hot, Power Yoga but also an unheated vinyasa class and a gentle class as well.  The truth is there are many reasons:  fitness, stress release, mental clarity, but the best one is the one that draws you into the studio where there are students like Jen and India.  Regardless of your reason, Kara, Deedee, Tim and I will be there to guide you, support you, and push you to your edge—a very good place to be.



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