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January 10, 2013 | 12:00 a.m. CST
What is that I feel on my upper lip and rolling down the side of my face? I stick my tongue out to investigate. Little beads of sweat are forming all over my body.
This is hot yoga. A variety of different poses and body twists are executed in a room at 100 degrees with 50 percent humidity. You can burn anywhere from 700 to 1200 calories, almost two meals, in one class. The heated environment also increases your pulse rate and metabolism and does the warm-up for you.
Where: 505 Nifong Boulevard
Cost: $15 per class, $120 for 10
Hot yoga releases anxiety and stress and “helps calm the mind” for an overall better sense of you, says Melissa Zeugin, one of the instructors at Sumit’s Hot Yoga.
My clammy hands slip forward as I lift my body up into an inverted V, our first downward dog pose. After three minutes of the 75-minute class, sweat is already streaming from my pores. Zeugin instructs as she walks between our colorful yoga mats and towels.
Step, hop or walk your feet to the front of your mat to meet your hands, she says. It’s our first forward fold. My upper body hangs heavily over my legs, and my head is closer to my feet than ever before.
We straighten into a standing pose, and I notice my surroundings. The dim room has dark wood floors and beige walls. Votive candles in decorative lanterns in each corner give the yoga room a relaxing feel. Double glass doors lead to the rest of the much cooler part of Sumit’s Hot Yoga studio.
Sumit’s is named after Sumit Banerjee, the creator of this style of hot yoga. The practice consists of a warm up, standing poses, four different flow series, an abdominal series and a floor series. Every instructor teaches the class the same way.
No matter what is going on in your life, “you can always count on the routine to be the same,” says Brittany Wills, one of the partner owners of the new studio.
Wills had been taking classes one to two times a week at Sumit’s Hot Yoga in her hometown of Springfield. She and her husband opened their own studio in October.
Once the practice is over, the class of mostly college-aged women exits the room drenched in sweat.
“The heat really kicked up the intensity and made it so much better,” says Amber Avis, an MU senior. The ever-changing pace of Sumit’s hot yoga made the 75 minutes feel like 30, she says.
There are dangers associated with hot yoga, such as dehydration, over-exertion and heatstroke. But many experts say these are avoidable if participants take precautions.
I leave Sumit’s with a clear mind and I feel relaxed and accomplished after enduring the intense cardio in temperatures that could compete with Mexico in July. Not even the drying sweat bothers me, but a shower sounds like a good plan anyway.