USC has over 1700 partners across Germany and France. That’s a lot of studios, and a lot of classes. With all that choice it’s easy to stick to what we know and continue with the same workouts every week.
We understand that trying new classes can be stressful – a new environment, new people and a new workout is a lot to manage. In our new weekly series we’ll be sending a member of the USC team to try a new, unusual sport to give you an idea of exactly what to expect – no first day nerves and no surprises. First up: Hotpod Yoga…
What is Hotpod Yoga?
Hotpod Yoga is the brainchild of two British businessmen who aim to make Bikram yoga available to the masses. They designed a giant inflatable pod that, when blown up, allows you to practice hot yoga wherever you like – the first Hotpod Yoga class was held in a pub in South London.
What can you expect?
My Hotpod Yoga class was in Berlin’s Neukölln on the 4th floor of an apartment building. It looked like a normal yoga studio, except in the middle of the room stood a giant inflatable pod where the class would take place. From the outside it looked like it could only fit a few people in, but after unzipping the entrance and entering the dim, cocoon-like pod, I found there was ample space for about 20 people.
The mats are already laid out to ensure the best use of the space. I imagined the pod to be a 100 degree inferno but it was actually comfortable 37 degrees (body temperature). The dim lighting created a calm and serene atmosphere, and scented candle-lamps gave off a beautiful smell – it was easy to forget it was a cold February evening in Berlin.
How was the workout?
Hard! Just because the pod is relaxing, it doesn’t mean the yoga is. We started with a relaxing child’s pose and deep breathing exercises. However this calm start was misleading. Melissa, our instructor, led us into a high plank. “We’re going to hold this here for a few moments,” she said. It felt like a lifetime.
Melissa led us through Downward Dog and we spent the next 20 minutes doing several extremely challenging variations of high plank. However, Melissa was a wonderful guide and encouraged us to rest and take a drink of water whenever we wanted. It wasn’t long before I started to sweat profusely.
Thankfully, we soon transitioned into balance poses which are less tiring. Melissa walked us through Tree Pose, Warrior Two and Crow.
All of my hard work paid off when it was time for relaxation (Savasana). I was very sweaty and completely exhausted by this time which made it all the more rewarding.
Melissa guided us through Savasana with meditation techniques and traditional yogi practices. This was definitely the best bit; I was so relaxed by this point I almost drifted off.
How did I feel after?
Exhausted! I sweated absolute buckets in there, but after a long shower I felt completely cleansed and refreshed. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well in my life. The following day I felt alert and energized – not how I usually feel on a Tuesday morning. I’d recommend a session of Hotpod Yoga as a great way to detox from the weekend.
Health benefits of Hot Yoga
Hot yoga increases your heart rate and kick-starts your metabolism.
The Pod is totally immersive so allows you to mentally disengage from every day life – excellent for managing stress levels
The 37 degree heat allows you to sweat out toxins leaving you feeling refreshed and energized
The heat increases the blood flow into muscles so they are more pliable, meaning increased flexibility and decreased chance of injury
Don’t forget to bring…
Plenty of water, and two towels – one large towel to lay on the mat and a hand towel to wipe your dripping face. These classes get busy, so make sure you book in advance!
Read here the interview with Sünne, who’s bringing her mix of house and Hot Yoga to Berlin and beyond.
If you want a totally immersive, challenging and relaxing workout we highly recommend giving Hotpod Yoga a try! And if there aren’t any Pods in your area, Urban Sports Club has plenty of hot and Bikram yoga partners across Germany and France.