I’ve been getting into this fitness lark of late. I’ve gone from a girl who swam once a week and occasionally fumbled my way through a ballet class to someone who dances, stretches, strokes and – still unbelievably to me – runs regularly. It turns out all those people who rave about the benefits of exercise aren’t losing their mind. In fact, it seems like they’ve all been talking sense this whole time – who knew?!
I took up yoga a while back and as a person who loves a stretch generally found it offered me a little piece of stretchy haven in the midst of a busy week. Despite having written about the benefits of yoga, pilates and Tai Chi, on London Beauty Queen, I’d only read about the benefits of pilates so I was excited when I got an email from simplyhealth asking me to pop along to a hot pilates session they were running at Yotopia in Covent Garden.
The benefits of hot pilates are many. The 35 degree temperatures (which are a little lower than its Bikram yoga counterpart) help you detoxify. Sweating allows the body to cleanse itself, whilst viruses can’t survive high temperatures. The heat also allows your muscles to stretch more, allowing you to get into deeper poses which in turn can enhance weight loss.
(Cue awkward no make-up, gym wear photo)
Yoga teacher and osteopath Amy Slevin fronted the class, talking us through the key concepts of breathing, imprinting and ensuring you’re in the right positions at all times. We worked our way through planks, balances and stretches all while getting increasingly sweaty. The hour passed pretty quickly, despite the fact some of the exercises seemed to last for small eternities.
Pilates focuses on core strength and as such is incredibly good for your back. My family and I know all too well the impact back problems have on every day life, so I’m often trying to increase the strength of my back. Through ballet and yoga, the strength in my back is increasing, but I was interested to check out simplyhealth’s back care app for top tips on how to look after it a bit better.
I really enjoyed my experience of hot pilates, but I think yoga remains my first love. When a friend asked me the difference, I explained that for me, yoga is more about being kind to your body than pushing it to get results, while pilates is more focused on working yourself hard. That’s not to say yoga isn’t difficult because it is – it can be as hard as pilates and leave your core muscles as tender the next day but for me, it’s more about giving yourself a little love and TLC. I’m looking forward to giving one of Yotopia’s bikram yoga classes a go with the voucher included in the goodie bag.
There were a whole bunch of lovely bloggers at the event. It was so nice to finally meet the incredible Katie from FatGirlPHD (her blog is a must read – reading it so often elicits a big YES from me) and briefly speak to super impressive Kirsty, who’s training for the London Marathon.