This is where we get to explore and delve deeper into all things yoga! There is just so much to learn about this ancient practice. Did you know that originally “yoga” was simply “sitting + meditation?” The “asana or movement” practice that is so popular these days evolved from the “stillness practice.” Our topics will be varied, comical, compassionate, and insightful.
One of the first things I learned when I was deciding to become a yoga teacher was to teach from love. And it resonates with me each and every time I lead a class or hold a private lesson. This tool of love is the most important one to have in your Yoga toolbox. 🧰
I became a yoga teacher because I loved the yoga and wanted to share that love with others. When I don’t know what to do for a student, I just try to figure out how to love them more.
Most of my life I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. Nothing that set a spark under me. I loved raising my children, but had little time to develop any hobbies or interests. I did love to run and found I could easily do that when they were sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. It was an awesome way to maintain my weight and keep me fit. Then came my 40's…
Running was still effective at keeping the weight off and enhancing my mood—nothing like a good ole “runner’s high.” Or so I thought… I knew I didn’t stretch enough. Actually barely at all. And the joints were beginning to ache a little (or a lot 🤔!)
So this is when I stumbled upon my first hot yoga experience while I was working in St. Louis. Well, if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know I haven’t looked back! I found my passion—yessss!!!
Next step: how to bring this amazing practice to my hometown??? Wow that was the question. Money, money, money was all I kept thinking—“where the hell was I gonna get the cash to start up a hot yoga studio and would it even go over in a small town??”💰
I had so much desire to help others and teach from love and share this practice, I decided I didn’t need money—just a physical location. Well that became my home studio (namely my oldest daughter’s bedroom!) I spent very little in start up costs because I already had all of my heaters (notice plural!) and could get the room (that only held about 8 yogis) up to over 100 degrees! I was set!
So not to bore you all with the rest of the details, things just evolved from there, and I count my blessings each and every day! Life is like the race between the tortoise 🐢 and the hare 🐇. It’s like a crockpot, not a microwave. Slow and steady wins the race every time!
Things didn’t happen over night! Baby steps! They are still happening! But teaching from a place of love with the passion to help others makes the journey so worth the wait. 💫
By Barbara Schuette on October 12, 2021
So you have a back or knee injury. Running and biking are out for now. What about the Hot 26 yoga series? Should you continue your practice?
Oh my goodness, absolutely, 💯 percent, unequivocally YESSSS! Do not stop practicing! You will heal faster with a continued practice! I have had many injuries (mainly low back, carpal tunnel and currently right knee) and I Never. Skip. A. Day.
The Hot 26 yoga series is a healing yoga. It was designed to heal the mind + the body + the spirit. Due to the nature of the practice and how well it works, it attracts students with all types of physical limitations.
The goal for any student in any posture, injured or not, is to work towards their full range of motion, without pain, and then try to hold it for the duration of the posture. Key words: “their full range of motion.” They may stay right at the top of Fixed Firm pose taking weight maybe into their arms and hands, because we all know, “You can mess with the Gods, but you can’t mess with your knees!”—B.C.
Over time, this is what creates more range of motion and the strength to support it. The simple philosophy of “Try the Right Way” is how all of the healing happens. Once you understand the philosophy that range of motion creates the benefit, anyone can be helped—regardless of limitations!
First step as always: don’t be scared! Skip the sit ups if you have a back injury. Maybe skip the forward bending postures completely—especially for acute herniation. Use a block under the hips in Fixed Firm if the knees are hurting or a block under the hips in Half Tortoise if the ankles have reduced range of motion. Modify, modify, modify!
Backward bending is healing, especially for lower back issues. People with acute back injuries should come to class as soon as possible. The sooner they come to class, the faster they heal!
The beauty of this series is that it’s for EVERY body and ALL-levels! So if you need a block or even a chair next to you, request this from your instructor! I have been known to say, “Try not to use the wall in the balancing series.” I’m wanting you to work on the muscle memory in the standing leg without the “crutch” of the wall. But honestly, after doing some of my research on injuries, I’m going to offer it. If that’s what it takes for someone to realize their fullest potential in the pose, then I believe someday they WILL lose the training wheels (wall or chair) and do this on their own! 🚴 The Hot 26 practice is just that powerful… 💫
And always be mindful of this as you practice, “Form before depth!” If you have limitations or injuries or maybe something else inhibiting the fullest expression of any posture, then give it time—modify—keep practicing—maybe skip the pose all together—and be ready someday to sore like the Eagle you were meant to be. 🦅
Just never give up!
By Barbara Schuette on September 29, 2021
You may have asked yourself, “Is yoga all I need to do to stay in shape and be healthy?” “Should I do it every day?” The answer emphatically is YES! Now hear me when I say all types of yoga are wonderful, but obviously they can’t all take the place of cardio and strength training, i.e. restorative yoga.
What kind of yoga then CAN be all inclusive of what you need to have a full-rounded workout regimen?
If you’ve read our previous blogs about the Hot 26 Yoga series, then you guessed what my answer would be!—of course, the Hot 26! Preferably the 75 or 90 minute versions, but 60 minutes will do just fine! Couple that with a little walking and you have the perfect mix!
When I began practicing 7 years ago I was running an average of 30 miles and biking 75 miles a week. I considered myself in tip top shape! Whyyy then was I still, as the P90X guy says, “a little loose in the cage?!” I couldn’t get rid of the extra tube around my waist for nothing! I did push-ups and sit ups and of course a ton of cardio, rarely skipping a day!
I looked at my first yoga teacher, Cindy, standing up on the podium instructing the Hot 26 class (yes most instructors “instruct” only) and I said to myself, “I want to look that good!” She was older than me, had 5 children, and surgery to her spine (I could see the long scar on her back), and she had a rockin’ hot bod!
So I asked her one day after class what else she did to stay so fit. Obviously ONLY YOGA couldn’t produce that fit shape. She said the Hot 26 was all she did. Every. Single. Day.
Cindy said she took her first Hot 26 class a few years back and decided then and there she was going to teach it some day. For the next 28 days (I think that’s the right number) she took the 90 minute Hot 26 class every day. At the time I just could not imagine that—90 minutes in 105 degrees every day?! No freaking way!
I was addicted and kept taking classes as many days per week as I could while I kept up with my running schedule. Well, with time limitations while working full time and driving home on the weekends (2 hours away), I had to give something less attention. So running started to take a backseat to my newfound love, the Hot 26!
Nothing I had ever tried helped me to lose weight + feel this great! My carpal tunnel syndrome that I had dealt with for many years was slowly subsiding, low back pain was all but gone, and my stubborn knee pain that flared up from time to time was gone!
And the scale! Yes, I weighed every day after my class! I would sometimes lose 4-6 pounds in each class. Eventually the weight stayed off and my body composition morphed! I was no longer loose in the cage—I actually had abs under some of that insulation!
The feeling of elation after the Hot 26 yoga class actually rivaled my “runner’s high” I used to feel after my long runs. Do I still run + bike? Absolutely! But not near as often and not near as hard! I was pounding my body on the pavement—literally! Thus maybe the knee and low back pain? 🤔
All I can say is that I’m pain free and medication free AND in the best shape of my life in my 50s. That means the world to me.
So to answer your question, is yoga enough and should you do it every day? Yes! It’s like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. Try not to skip! Come back and see me in a year and let me know how it has changed your life!
If you would like more insight into this topic, I recommend this book by Bikram Choudhury!
**Pictured above, Barbara Schuette, age 52.
By Barbara Schuette on September 22, 2021
Who’s ready to take their practice to the next level? Are you a runner, walker, biker, or do you sit at a desk all day? Want to learn more about the life-changing, spine-healing, toxin-flushing Hot 26 yoga series? 🧘♀️
Then we have a 3 part workshop that is just for you! 🤩
Attending a workshop is an opportunity to bring information and insight to your practice. It is a chance to put greater thought and self awareness of the body parts we use into each posture. You will have the chance to ask questions and discuss any yoga topics that are important to you.
Attending a workshop is a great way to energize your practice and find new inspiration for your time on the mat! You have 3 opportunities to rekindle your passion for the Hot 26 yoga series!
🙏 Saturday, Oct. 9th, 8:30-10:00 am
***This one is in the books!!!***
🙏 Saturday, Oct. 23rd, 10-11:30 am
🙏 Saturday, Nov. 6th, 10-11:30 am
Bring your yoga mat and yoga mat towel—be prepared to participate and sweat! 💦
See “Events” in the Lotus Room Yoga Facebook group for more details and reserve your place today!
We would love to save space for you on your mat 🧡
***MEDITATION WORKSHOP COMING IN JANUARY!!!!!!!***
By Barbara Schuette on September 20, 2021
It is this famous quote above that I have referred back to several times on my yoga journey. When I began my yoga practice in my mid-forties, of course I thought I was too old. Too old and I started too late. Well I am here to show you the possibilities!
Did I ever imagine doing full fixed firm or standing head to knee pose at age 46? No way! And what about that 3rd part of Awkward Pose—woohoo-!! That one can seem hard on the ole’ knees, but here I am bouncing at the bottom as I hold on to my imaginary box and let that ball roll down my thighs to my mat! For several years I kept trying and got better and better until finally I was doing all expressions of the postures with ease (not perfection mind you!)
We all have setbacks. We all have days when we just don’t have our groove. We all feel from time to time like we are too old, too sick or maybe it’s too late for me to start something new. Or maybe I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough.
The Hot 26 series teaches you to be honest with yourself and give yourself the space you need to grow and thrive. This practice attracts people with limitations. It is for EVERY body! Embrace your present self physically + mentally + spiritually and "Start Where You Are."
It is quite possible you haven’t reached your fullest potential—yet!
Check out our podcast with the Griesbaum Girls: It’s Never Too Late To Get Fit!
By Barbara Schuette on September 16, 2021
It’s hot. You’re dripping buckets of sweat. You have just finished taking a shower from the inside out of your body, and the river you’ve created is a moat of DNA surrounding your yoga mat (I love using that visual in class lol!)
Your studio offers towels. Aren’t you supposed to wipe off all of the droplets of sweat on your face, neck, arms, and every other surface of the largest organ in your body until you stop sweating so much? Nooooo!!!
That is the one thing you will never hear this instructor say in one of my hot yoga classes—“towel off!” How many times have you heard me say, “Just let that sweat drip!” or as we do Eagle prep, “Sling some sweat at your neighbor!” as we twist our arms into wet ropes? I want my students to enjoy getting into and out of their poses, not make their bodies work harder thereby increasing their heart rates even more than they already are! Whaaatt do I mean?
Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling down. Think of sweating as a natural air conditioner for your body! If you wipe away the sweat with a towel, your body will have to work harder to produce more sweat to cool you off again. You won’t win this race! Wiping off the sweat will only disrupt your practice and steal the precious few moments of stillness between poses that you have. If you’ve ever practiced in front of a mirror during a hot yoga sesh, you may have noticed the all-embarrassing hardening of your nipples underneath that adorable Fabletics sports bra. Yes, that’s your body doing it’s JOB trying to cool you off from the inside out—let it!
Early on in my years of practicing, my yoga instructors encouraged us not to wipe the sweat away during class, to just ignore it, let it flow. Again, it’s there for a reason—to help cool your body! The only thing I wipe during a hot yoga class is my eyes so that I can see, and I usually just swipe the sweat away with my fingers.
Class is over. Toxins are excreted. Room is beginning to cool off (a small tad!) After class it’s a different story—wipe away and please help your teacher by sopping up as much of your “mat moat” as you can with your yoga mat towel.
And drink lots of H2O the day prior to and after your class 💦💦—keep track of how much you’re drinking with this awesome 1/2 gallon water bottle.
By Barbara Schuette on September 9, 2021
“After a hot yoga class I feel like I’ve run a marathon, went to the chiropractor, and had a massage all at once.”—Barbara
So you made it through your first Hot yoga class. It was about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. After peeling off your wet clothes and hopefully showering, you’re already planning to take your next one! Because chances are, like me, you’re hooked! I remember driving home from my first Hot 26 class and saying to myself, “Why haven’t I done this all of my life?” After all of the torture of the hot chamber, I felt better than I had felt in my entire life. Was I going to do it again? You bet!
The sweat of a Hot yoga session is distinct from the sweat of any other exercise session. Not to sound all disgusting and explicit about it, but everyone who performs an especially fast-paced hot yoga session understands that you hit a stage where sweat literally pours out of the body. The first time my daughter attended a Hot 26 class with me in Phoenix, she said she literally saw the sweat coming out of the pours of her knees—now that’s hot!
While this may feel disconcerting and generally icky to hot yoga novices, it’s something that many experienced yogis are eager to do. Why? It could be due to the detoxification process. The heat and increased energy intake allow you to sweat a ton! 💦💦 When you sweat, you minimize water retention and shed a long list of toxins, chemicals, and other harmful substances that shouldn’t be in your body.
Your body is designed to adjust to the heat. The heat in the room helps bring oxygen into your body to warm your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you try to stretch when you’re cold, it doesn’t work. You would never hammer cold steel if you’re trying to make a sword. The heat helps you to move. It also helps to work deeper, safely.
3 reasons for the heat:
1. Helps you heal.
2. Prevents injuries.
3. Makes your body operate more efficiently.
Sweating is good for you!
During your first class, the heat is usually a significant distraction, but over time you will begin to love the heat. The focus you develop by practicing in the hot room strengthens your discipline, your determination, and your power of concentration. Think of it as mental strength training!
Plus, newer studies show that being in the heat like a sauna, but not, can also help improve your sense of well-being and can even alleviate depression.
We have so many members right now who will tell you how much better and healthier they feel after taking a Hot 26 class. The best part is that your body adapts to the heat after only 7-14 days of practice. In fact, many of our members practice from home or while on the road and use a space heater to create a similar “in studio” experience! Now that’s dedication!
**Remember, you need a yoga towel for your yoga mat to prevent slippage. When we are pouring sweat we literally create a slip-n-slide and increase risk of injury. A towel to absorb all of those drips is mandatory in most hot yoga studios!
Sweat on everyone!
By Barbara Schuette on September 2, 2021
Since I began the practice of yoga, I have believed it is a panacea—a cure all. In fact, if yoga could be put in a pill form, every human would take it. There would be no need for cures to diseases, just this one prevention pill daily! 💊
Yoga, the Hot 26 series specifically, is the best anti-stress, anti-depressant, anti-arthritis, anti-aging, anti-allergen medicine there is. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Stress is a major cause of mental and physical illness and disease in today’s society. Here are a few interesting facts about stress and our flagship Hot 26 class:
Stress compromises the immune system.
Hot 26 yoga builds and strengthens the immune system.
Stress causes more problems and mental and physical illnesses.
Hot 26 yoga heals from the inside out, keeps the body full of vitality, immune to diseases.
Stress destroys the life in your life.
Hot 26 yoga floods every single organ, gland, molecule, and cell in your body with rejuvenating and reenergizing energy and fresh oxygenated blood (and synovial fluid!)
Stress deprives the brain from oxygen.
Hot 26 yoga has postures that pump high speed oxygen-rich blood, full of nutrients into the brain, reenergizing all the brain cells.
Stress exhausts and depletes energy levels.
Hot 26 boosts energy levels.
Stress is the WORST thing for your health and wellness.
Hot 26 is the BEST thing for your health and wellness!
Convinced yet? One of the best books I’ve read on the topic is Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga... In fact, this was the first yoga book I ever read. I was enthralled by how good I was feeling and the changes happening in my body. This book puts into perspective everything I’m trying to express to you about the Hot 26 yoga series!
Give this practice a try and see the results for yourself!
Part 3: Why is this yoga class so f***ing hot?!
By Barbara Schuette on August 26, 2021
Living pain free isn’t a dream! One of the most common phrases I hear after taking a few of our yoga classes is, “My pain is gone!”
Wow. “My pain is gone.” I have said this for years, but when I began sharing this practice with others and they actually said it to me—wow! The motto for the Hot 26 series is “Healthy Spine=Healthy Life.” I used to hear my mentors repeat this in class, especially during the spine strengthening series. A “Strong Spine=Healthy Spine” and “A healthy spine bends in all directions.” It does seem that so many things “healthy” stem from our backbone--the house don't fall when the bones are good!
We use our spines in everything we do AND we abuse our spines in many ways. We are usually headed in one direction with our spines in our daily lives, and that is forward—driving, on the phone, hunched over a computer, picking up the laundry, picking up the kids—you get the idea. The Hot 26 yoga series is a series of “counterposes to life.” Not only do we bend forward, but we bend sideways, obliquely and backwards throughout the series. The entire series is designed to flush toxins out of the spine and to strengthen the spine.
But the modern day miracle of sequential poses in this series is not only beneficial for our spines. We flush toxins out of our joints and internal organs—like a dish cloth! What??
Our practice is composed of Hatha postures. When I was moving back to Effingham from St. Louis a few years ago, and I knew the Hot 26 was no longer going to be available to me, my instructor, Charles, told me to find a studio that had a Hatha Yoga class.
Hmm 🤔 what is Hatha yoga?
There are many varying definitions of the practice, but the one that has stuck with me is that we hold our poses for 20-40 seconds, repeat on the other side, and then do another set. So it’s a slower paced, static yoga practice with mindfulness incorporated into every pose, thus the phrase, “moving meditation.” We focus on our breath as we hold our poses and have our moving meditation. One truly forgets the “to-do lists” and the “checklists” because you are so focused on the instructor’s words (the dialogue) and getting in to and out of the poses.
But don’t let the slower pace of the Hot 26 yoga series fool you. By no means does that make it easier than other forms of yoga, especially with the element of the heat (remember hot is in the title!) I call it INTERVAL TRAINING YOGA! We get the heart rate up in to the target zone, and then we rest between postures—but not for long!
This yoga series is designed for everyone—first time students and experienced practitioners alike! Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments, and joints stimulating the organs, glands, and nerves to move fresh oxygenated blood to 100% of the body. We compress + grip + squeeze + effectively put tourniquets on our joints sending fresh synovial fluid to them upon the release of the pose—no knee replacements for us!!!
With regular practice, the Hot 26 series improves health, increases energy, helps prevent illness and injury, and limits the effects of aging. As a physical challenge, this yoga changes the body’s shape, helping you to develop muscle tone and lose inches. As a mental challenge, this yoga combines the skills of concentration, patience, and self-control to improve mental clarity and reduce stress.
Notice the feeling of euphoria and pure peace as you drive home from a Hot 26 class—did you forget to turn on the radio or check your phone?!! Yes!!!
It’s a life-changer—try it and see the change in yours!
Pictured above: Barbara ~ Age: 52 in Half Moon Pose (#1 of the Hot 26 poses)
Part 2B: Hot 26 is a panacea!
By Barbara Schuette on August 21, 2021
Welcome to the KULA!
You may have heard us refer to our Lotus Room “Kula” quite often. Well what in the world is a Kula? Kula is a Sanskrit term meaning family, tribe, community, or clan. Here at Lotus Room Yoga we consider all of you family—our yoga fam.
We truly want every person who practices with us to feel like they are part of a supportive, like-minded group of yogis and yoginis. Our Kula is for yogis who want to deepen their practice mentally, physically + emotionally all within a community of humans doing the same. Very often at the beginning of one of our practices we will go around the room introducing ourselves so that everyone knows your name—and we’re always glad you came! Okay that was a really bad theme-song-to-the-sitcom-“Cheers”-reference, but you get the drift!
Our Kula is a safe space for you to connect + express. We want our yogis to feel welcome, supported and to know that we are all truly “in this sh** together!”
So join us 7 days a week as we move, sit + breathe. We would love for you to be part of our Kula!!!
By Barbara Schuette on August 20, 2021
What the heck is Hot Fusion 26, Hot 26+2, OG Hot Yoga, Ghosh Yoga and Bikram Yoga? They are all one and the same and come from the Ghosh lineage. Well what is the Ghosh lineage? Bishnu Ghosh was a Hatha yogi from Kolkata, India who practiced postures and breathing exercises that were therapeutic. He prescribed them for his patients’ specific ailments. I have been involved with Ghosh yoga for 7 years teaching, practicing and promoting this healing practice. Every day there is something new to learn, new to experience, and new to teach. I love educating my students on the benefits of this practice and reminding them of why they are doing each posture or breathing exercise.
This yoga practice truly is a science. Yoga gurus used to prescribe yoga postures to heal bodies in India. If you had a problem you would go see someone like Bishnu Ghosh, and he would prescribe yoga postures (asanas or poses) and explain how to do them.
Previously there was no existing sequence to a yoga series, especially for beginners. There were thousands of postures on charts which were on paper, books, or posters. Most of them looked like you would have to get into a pretzel shape and therefore did not seem possible for the average person.
Ghosh was Bikram Choudhury’s guru and taught him everything he knew about yoga. The “26 poses + 2 breathing exercises” were sequenced and “prescribed” in the same exact format to every student in the 1970’s when the practice was westernized by Bikram. Many famous teachers have come from Bikram’s school including Tony Sanchez and Emmy Cleaves (pictured above with Bikram) and they still prescribe this yoga in the exact same format to their students. Many famous actresses, singers, and athletes practice the Hot 26 yoga series, including Jennifer Anniston, Lady Gaga, and David Beckham (and maybe Posh!)
You don’t need to be graceful, talented or even athletic to do yoga. All you need is a little space and honesty (and a decent yoga mat). The simplicity and ingenuity of the “26 postures + 2 breathing exercises” is accessible for EVERY body! It is truly a modern day miracle 💫
Emmy Cleaves ~ Age: 85
Bikram Choudhury ~ Age: 66
Any doubts about Hot 26 = Fountain of Youth?
Part 2: The benefits of this self-healing, life-changing series will be discussed in my next blog!
By Barbara Schuette on August 16, 2021