I’m pleased to introduce Sarah Harrison, the founder of HotPod Yoga Nottinghamshire; a hot yoga class in an innovative inflatable pod. Sarah started yoga classes in 1998 and began teaching in 2012. She set up Hotpod in 2014.
Last week I went to her hot yoga class in West Bridgeford after taking a long break from practicing yoga. It was a great experience- I felt totally absorbed in the yoga and enjoyed moving my body in a new way. Sarah was a brilliant guide and I appreciated the individual feedback and encouragement.
This week I caught up with her to ask her more about the benefits of hot yoga and her tips for getting healthy and psyched.
How did you get into yoga?
In my mid-20s I came across a Friday night Hatha yoga class at my local gym where I was doing lots of running and weights. I loved the stretch, it was just so different to everything else that I did at the gym (which was high impact, intense, goal focused and all played against a frantic sound track of banging house tunes) … and the other benefits kind of crept up on me over time.
What’s your favourite yoga position and why?
It entirely depends on my mood or energy but a failsafe for me is Forward Fold, with all its variations. It’s an inversion so you are upside down, and with your head below your heart it’s rejuvenating and energising. If your back needs a little TLC you can bend your knees and rest your chest on your thighs, if your shoulders and neck need to release just hold elbows with opposite hands, if you need a major hamstring or lower back stretch take a strong hand to feet pose (pictured below) … And if you have nothing to give, just hang like a rag doll. As you come back to stand with head above heart, you are guaranteed to feel taller, lighter and somehow put back together again.
Sounds interesting, what other benefits can we expect from a Hotpod yoga class?
The signature Hotpod class – a one hour hot Vinyasa flow – is all about working the body and calming the mind. It’s the perfect balance of active and passive postures where you are guided through a sequence designed to open the body and work the heart but at the same time give you time to embrace the calm of the pod and switch off. The whole experience is geared to move you towards being more resilient, more flexible and with a clear head to navigate whatever life throws at you.
I certainly felt that sense of calm after my class, especially since I was nervous before I arrived. Do you have any tips for beginners who might be apprehensive about trying hot yoga (or even not-hot yoga) for the first time?
On a practical level, treat your first few classes as an enquiry, take it at your own pace and sit if you need to sit; take little sips of water often to stay hydrated, and trust your instinct, you are always in charge of where you take your body. Hotpod Yoga is built on a foundation of making yoga accessible first and foremost. We try to set yoga free from this wellness-chasing, perfection-seeking reputation that can be so intimidating. We keep things simple, so for the most part you will hear English rather than Sanskrit, and take comfort that it is a nurturing and inclusive environment and you are absolutely encouraged to only take your practise to a level where you are comfortable.
Great tips. Can you give us any advice on what to eat before and after a hot yoga session?
I am very vocal about fueling and hydrating, and also have several pins on Pinterest dedicated to it (check them out here)! I have found that a small amount of porridge with dried fruit and/or nuts is the most effective and least bloating fuel pre-class. During class I like to sip on hot water with any combination of fruit, citrus, spices, leaves or berries – depending on the season and time of day. After a hot class, my secret rehydration is a tiny splash of orange juice in a 50/50 mix of coconut and tap water. (I don’t know if there’s any science behind that combination but I do know that it’s proved the most effective for me). Personally, I can’t eat for a while after a hot class so the perfect boost is an energy ball – whatever combination of stuff found its way to the blender and was then rolled into a beautiful little orb of goodness … mixed nuts, dates, figs, coconut oil to bind, apricot, chai spices to flavour, raw cacao, cinnamon … A single mouthful of Instant energy when you aren’t necessarily hungry but know you need to refuel.
Sounds yummy. I love porridge and energy balls! I especially love adding fruit to them. What’s your favourite fruit or vegetable?
I’m way more savoury than sweet so I’d lean towards vegetables every time. Anything in season always wins. But with a particular love of celery for its crunch, taste and versatility – it’s the perfect dipping vehicle (and yes, sometimes, those deep channels scream out to be stacked high with nut butter)
Aside from yoga, what else do you do to stay healthy and psyched?
In the absence of a horse, which is sadly nearly always nowadays, I’m a bit one dimensional and yoga in all it’s wonderful styles and disciplines preoccupies the vast majority of what I do physically. One thing that I’ve done every morning for the last 18 years without fail however, is start the day with hot water, lemon and root ginger. I can’t recommend that enough for skin and vitality.
More about HotPod
HotPod Yoga Nottinghamshire was established in 2014. There are currently 8 teachers on the schedule with Sarah and this year she will be opening up a new permanent studio in Nottingham city centre (NG1) to expand on the current timetable in West Bridgford (NG2) and Long Bennington (NG23)
All information you need about HotPod Nottingham including the schedules, venues, pricing and booking is on the website.
You can follow Hotpod Yoga Notts (@hotpodyoganotts) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.