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Even though it is extremely hot here in the Ham, last week I visited the Yoga Circle in South Side for my first Hot Soul class. If you’re down (or should I say Downward Dog!) with yoga, but have never tried the hot version, you should. The room is heated to a rather sultry 105 degrees (to allow for deeper stretching and to detox the body), and the beginner’s class consists of doing a series of twenty-six poses twice. While focusing on breathing and concentrating on concepts like “learn to unlearn,” “love what you find, find what you love” and “condition yourself to be unconditioned,” the tension, anxiety and general hubbubbery of life begins to melt away as participants work through the poses and work up a good sweat.

 

I’m no hothouse flower, but I have to say that I thought doing yoga in a sauna-type setting might feel a bit like coming face-to-face with the global warming crisis. Not so. I found it to be comfortable and cleansing. My instructor, Stephen Fletcher, who is also the director of the Yoga Circle, was the real deal. He provided good instruction and gentle guidance while walking among the participants, encouraging us with words of wisdom to float in that whole inward-outward, yin yang harmony kind of space.

I didn’t quite reach nirvana, but I did begin to move toward a new level of understanding of what this particular yoga practice is about. The postures were challenging, but in the dimly-lit studio, with soft, new age music playing and Stephen’s voice pouring out aphoristic yogaisms, I felt nurtured, too.

Afterwards, I felt energized and, strangely, not at all hungry, even though I had only had coffee two hours before the class, where I normally eat a decent breakfast. Must be all that feeding of the soul.

Here’s Stephen demonstrating the triangle pose, which stretches and strengthens the body.

 

The warrior pose is thought to increase stamina.

 

Standing on your head calms the brain and strengthens the body.

Fear not, Stephen’s no poser, and the Yoga Circle is a sure-fire hot spot that I just know you will heart, too.

Find out more about Hot Soul and the many other great classes offerred at The Yoga Circle on their website: theyogacircle.net. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

 

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