By Becky Andrews
Odds are this isn’t the first time you’ve come across the term hot yoga. Over the past several years, it’s become a popular fitness practice that people are participating in all over the country. Thanks to Wilson County native, Heather Landers, hot yoga has finally landed in Lebanon. And with each class at capacity or waitlist, it’s safe to say, our area is getting more Zen by the day.
If you haven’t made it to your first class at Hot Yoga Lebanon (shame on you!), you might have a few questions. What can it do for me? Will it help me build muscle or lose weight? The answer in a nutshell (or Killer Praying Mantis for yoga aficionados) can be found in two simple words; be still. “Everyone is so busy. Even when you work out, your phone is buzzing, the television is on, earbuds are in, you’re checking
your smartwatch to see how many calories you’re burning” Heather continues, “it’s hard to stay focused. You can lose yourself in the day-to-day. But showing up on your mat, focusing on breathing, and making a commitment to spend one hour with yourself can change you in a
Landers utilizes a state of the art heating system that combines heat and humidity, the signature environment of her hot yoga classes. This type of heat causes blood flow to your muscle tissue to increase, making your muscles more flexible and therefore less prone to injury
as you work on building up your overall body strength. In short, yoga can offer a safe alternative for building muscle.
Landers began her yoga practice 13 years ago to improve her running performance in the full marathons she entered regularly. Hot yoga provided the environment to help her breathe correctly in Tennessee’s signature humidity and heat. But it turns out that the breathing helped her with much more. “There were a series of events in my life where I could have very well drowned in sadness, but I didn’t. My practice became my lifeline.”
Heather points to heated yoga as being especially helpful in the development of mindfulness, a state of being that is rooted in the present moment and eschewing judgment. Like so many of us, Heather spent too much time focusing on how her body looked, but with mindful-
ness she began to love her body for what it was able to do and not how it looked. That’s what she hopes devoted HYL yogis are discovering in their practices. “Developing mindfulness can do a lot to counteract feelings of shame and doubt that may come with struggling with one’s
weight.” Heather adds, “God didn’t make us to look like everyone else. When you look into that mirror and see yourself without comparison to anyone, that’s where you begin.”
And no matter what you’ve heard, Hot Yoga is suited for any skill level. While most of the classes offered at Hot Yoga Lebanon are heated, there are a few low heat alternatives. To keep up with demand, Heather says she hopes to expand in the next year or two. In addition to a variety of workshops, paddleboard yoga and pre and postnatal yoga will be added to the schedule.
In today’s fast-paced, social media-laden, beauty, wealth and success-obsessed world, Hot Yoga Lebanon offers a welcome refuge to turn the noise off and focus on being still.