Jazmin Kopotsha | Culture Writer | Sunday, 11 June 2017

Debrief Does: Fierce Grace Hot Yoga

Debrief Does: Fierce Grace Hot Yoga

The Debrief: Wondering whether or not you should try hot yoga? We went to see if we could handle the heat.

Jazmin hates anything that feels remotely like legitimate exercise while Alyss thrives on that feeling of getting a really good workout. What happens when two young women with completely opposing outlooks on (and willingness to) exercise try out the fitness class of the moment? Here’s where we find out...

You might think you know yoga. Sure, you’ve been to a couple of classes and can downward dog as like the rest of them. But have you tried hot yoga yet? It's in no way anything new and Bikram yoga has been super popular for years, but if you're anything like us you've probably toyed with the idea of visiting a sweat box in order to get your stretch on, but haven't actually gone and done it yet.

That is, until now. This week we went to Fierce Grace, a newer yoga experience based on hatham, Bikram and Ashtanga yoga. They offer six classes for different abilities, but we went for their signature general level Fierce Grace class to test the sweaty waters. Here's how we coped and spoiler: we had *very* different experiences...

First thoughts?

Jazmin: Heat? Good. Stretching? Good. Hot yoga, come at me. 

Alyss: OK, so first things first, this class fell on a bad day for me. General Election day, aka the day where I would be up until 3 am doing election night coverage – not that that’s bad, it was actually pretty exciting, but hot yoga right before going to work all night? Nah. I’d heard a lot about Fierce Grace before going, and I knew this was going to be a seriously sweaty class, and given that I had forgotten shampoo and body wash this didn’t really bode well for my pre-class thoughts.

How difficult is it?

Jazmin: I think I enjoyed it so much because it's really as difficult as you make it. The instructor gives different options for moves so you can do that thing of 'listening to your body' and pushing yourself as hard or as little as you need to. Because I'm a bit flexy anyway, I managed to get into most positions without any trouble, it was the strength/body weight bits that pissed my body off a bit. 

Alyss: Times normal yoga by about 756 and you’re not even close. Times hot yoga by roughly 546 and you’re just about there. This was probably one of the toughest classes I’ve ever done, and the amount of sweat my body produced was probably enough to fill 7 massive water bottles. The thing with Fierce Grace is they want you to explore how far your body can go, and my body can’t go that far. I have stiff hamstrings from running then not stretching enough, and I tend to give up easily when it comes to yoga. This class didn’t allow for that, and I suffered.

Do I need a working knowledge of exercise beforehand?

Jazmin: The instructor liked to use the proper yoga terminology when they tell you which positions to move into but she also explained where to put your hands and feet so it wasn't too hard to work out what you're meant to be doing. If you've never done any yoga before, maybe get to grips with the basics first before jumping into the hot version. But at the same time, it's not impossible to muddle your way through.

Alyss: Because of the scorching hot heat pulsing through your body, yes. Had I have gone to this class as a complete novice to yoga, I think I would have suffered massively. Just because the class moves quite quickly and everyone seemed to have their shit together (unlike me) so you’d potentially feel like you were being left behind if you didn’t understand what to do.

What do I need to wear?

Jazmin: I mean, as little as possible. No joke. Never have I experienced physical beads of sweat dripping from my boobs before. Like, actually cartoon style droplets. I wore a Reebok sports bra - it's got a nice criss-cross back which, as well as looking nice, also means less unwanted material on ya body. I also wore some Nike capris which I was fine with, but shorts might've been a better shout.

Alyss: Nothing? Yeh no, don’t do that – but you’ll want to. Jaz and I wore matching Reebok sports bras ‘cause we’re cute. This one’s great because it covers you up enough that you don’t feel naked without a top. I wish I wore shorts, my Nike leggings were far too hot and It wasn’t fun.

Can I fit it in a lunch break? 

Jazmin: Lol. No. The class is 90 minutes long so unless you've got a really sweet work arrangement where you can take as much time for lunch as you so wish (without getting in trouble), I'd still recommend allowing yourself a bit of time either side of the class to acclimatise to the heat. You'll enjoy it more later on in the day.

Alyss: If your boss doesn’t mind you taking a long and leisurely two-hour lunch, sure why not. Lol jk, whose boss allows that? No, you couldn’t – but hot yoga wasn’t designed to be fit into a lunch break and that’s ok.

Could I take a mate?

Jazmin: I mean... you could not take a mate. Don't get me wrong, love having Alyss around for any and all activities. She's a babe. But also, being all sweaty while trying to look inward and get my zen on doesn't make for a great time to chat.

Alyss: If you don’t mind them seeing you in an absolute state after – Jazmin literally had to wipe my sweat stained face to get rid of my panda eyes. Lovely.

Would I need to shower after?

Jazmin: Did you not read the bit about my cartoon sweat droplets? Shower long and shower good.

Alyss: Oh dear god YES. YES YES YES. I still felt sweaty the day after.

Was it fun though?

Jazmin: I had a wonderful time! It's that low-key, 'don't realise you're exercising' type of exercise that I love. Apart from when we had to do planks, that felt like exercise. 

Alyss: I’m going to be honest with you and say I found it a little too long. An hour and a half is a lengthy time to be that hot, and to even workout. I prefer short 30-45 minute high-intensity workouts but that’s just me. And even though I found it too long, I still enjoyed the class – it flows really well and I felt like my muscles had seriously worked after, and today I feel stretched and limber. Ready to do it all over again. Or not…

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Follow Jazmin on Instagram @JazKopotsha


Tags: Witness The Fitness