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Hot Yoga Session 9: Breathing & Relaxation

Corpse pose on blocks. Fantastic stress reliever. Courtesy of

This post is part of my January 2012 30 Days of Hot Yoga series. This month I’m taking on a personal challenge to complete 30 sessions of hot yoga at Baptiste Studios in 30 days in celebration of my 30th birthday. Wish me luck!

One thing that I have absolutely learned in these 8 straight days of yoga is that breathing is essential to a focused, attentive practice. Indeed, yoga is kind of amazing like that. Here is how my breathing has changed in the last 8 days:

  • After three days, I was holding my “ohms” {we start and end each practice with three ohms, it’s actually quite unifying} nearly as long as the instructor.
  • After 4 days, breathing allowed be to get deeper in twists.
  • By 6 days, I was able to find space and breathe through the fire building in my shoulders as we “rested” in downward dog.
  • And after 8 days, I was breathing my way through a very terrible hangover while clinging to the bathtub for dear life.

You could say that it is a shame that it took me abusing my insides to realize the true power of breathing, but I say, hell, now I know it REALLY works! Breathing didn’t just heal an upset stomach, it gave me an opportunity to go to brunch with some good friends and spend time catching up.

Corpse pose on blocks. Fantastic stress reliever. Courtesy of

Corpse pose on blocks. Fantastic stress reliever. Courtesy of

Today’s practice focused on relaxation. We laid on the floor and experienced subtle twists and movements in an incredibly quiet room. We rested on blocks. We kept our eyes closed and listened to our breathing. Our instructor guided us through what it means to be grounded, whole, and present.

And it was, for all intensive purposes, the BEST thing I could have done for myself recovering from a rough morning. If I could make a recommendation to anyone experiencing pain (self-inflicted or otherwise), relaxing yoga will do amazing things for your body. You may be hesitant because resting seems like good medicine, but “rest” in itself has many forms. After an hour of low-energy, conscious stretching on the ground (use a video if there is no class available), I promise you will feel like a whole new person with a whole new body. And I can vouch for the effectiveness of relaxing yoga, because this is the third time it has cured a hangover for me.

Here is an article on 10 poses that can help with relaxation, stress relief, and have an added benefit of strengthening your back. The article is write “for brides” but I’m pretty sure other people are also allowed to do them too. Enjoy!


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