Emma’s 20th Birthday: Riverflow Hot Yoga

For Day 2 of Emma’s birthday, I had scored Groupons for us both to attend a hot yoga class at Riverflow Yoga in Lambertville. Riverflow Yoga is a hot yoga studio, which meant we would be practicing Bikram yoga (90 minutes of 26 poses peformed in a 105 degree room at 50% humidity). Emma had already done Bikram yoga before, but I only have experience in Hatha yoga. I was excited, but also very nervous! I had read accounts of people passing out or feeling extremely nauseous while practicing Bikram, and I wasn’t sure I was strong or flexible enough to handle it.

I decided that the best I could do to quell my Bikram-anxiety was to make sure I was well prepared. I drank 2 bottles of water before I went to bed, and then another 3 when I woke up in the morning. Two and a half hours before the class, I ate a hearty but clean breakfast of eggs with tomato, spinach, and onion, and a banana. The website advertised “the less clothes, the better”, so I donned my sisters volleyball compression shorts and a sports bra, picked Emma up, and we headed to Lambertville.

Riverflow Yoga Studio in Lambertville, NJ

Upon seeing the yoga studio, I got a bit more relaxed. It was pretty small, cute, and homey looking, with art on the walls and full length mirrors lining the walls. The class was small (about 10 students) and diverse in age and fitness level. I rolled out my mat (with a bath towels on top, of course) and lay down, as the instructor turned up the humidifier and the heater.

Halfway through the first pose, Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing), I was already sweating BUCKETS. Literally, sweat was pouring from my forehead, the tips of my fingers, and the backs of my knees. I was weirdly fascinated by it, and proud of it. Other than experiencing some slight lightheadedness (which is to be expected in 105 degrees), my body felt strong and flexible in the heat and humidity.

26 Pose Series

Our instructor, Arielle, was wonderful! She didn’t take herself too seriously, but gave helpful adjustments and tips to get through each pose. The non-stop instruction really helped me be able to put my always racing mind on auto pilot and just be able to focus on breathing my way through all of the poses for the duration of the class. My favorite standing pose was Triangle, and my favorite pose on the mat was Locust (who could have thought I could lift my leg that high? I definitely attribute this one to the heat and humidity).

At the end of the class, Arielle told us to “lay in the bliss we had created for ourselves”, and man, what a true statement. I was totally blissed out! I don’t think my body has EVER felt better than it had at the end of that class. I felt so relaxed, positive, energetic, and cleansed. I was also starving!

Later in the day, after I ate, I felt a bit low energy (in a good way). All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and stare at the wall. I’m not sure if that was from lack of sleep during the week or the yoga class, but I was totally spent! The next day I woke up feeling pretty sore in my shoulders, back (Bikram has a series of poses that work ever part of the upper, mid, and lower back, and mine is already pretty weak), and hips. I took it easy (on the beach!).

I would recommend hot yoga to anyone who is in good health. The poses aren’t difficult at all, and you don’t even have to have practiced yoga before to follow along. It is a great way to increase strength and flexibility, and it is a cool experience to sweat so much (seriously, I didn’t even know that it was possible!) and to get all of those toxins out of my body. The class is what you make of it, and if you go in with a receptive mind, you will definitely get a good workout and leave feeling relaxed, renewed, and fabulous!  As a student, it’s not convenient or cheap enough for me to practice on a regular basis, but it’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to doing again.


Let’s Chat

  • Have or would you ever try Bikram yoga?  If you have, did you enjoy it?

5 responses to “Emma’s 20th Birthday: Riverflow Hot Yoga

  1. Pingback: High Tea at the Talking Teacup |

  2. I LOVE Bikram! But I definitely take a break from it in the summer (and do other less hot yoga classes). Looking forward to getting back to it in the fall 🙂

  3. Haha I’ve always been too intimidated to try hot yoga.. I only hear good things about this though, maybe I’ll give it a try. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 oh, and have fun on your trip!

  4. Dominique, I tried a Bikram Yoga class here in Arlington, courtesy of Groupon. It was very interesting and I was easiest the oldest person in the class by 10 years. I think it is a young person’s sport… It is so different than what I have been taught in yoga, that I had a hard time doing some of the things they asked me to do, like locking my arms and knees. I could hear my instructor whispering in my ear “Don’t do that Suzanne…bad news.” Some of the things they suggest are not very good for you, especially because your body is not it’s usual self because of the extreme heat and humidity, so it’s easy to over-extend and do some damage. I’m glad you like it, but I would warn you to go easy and not push yourself. Just do what feels good and don’t worry about how everyone else is doing it. (The mirrors make it very competitive and non-yoga-like.) It sounded you like you had a mellow instructor. I heard that one of the instructors at the place I went to even regulates your water – as in, you can’t have any until he says so!! Sounds like Emma’s weekend was a blast.

    • Like I said, in my class there was a mix of ages of old (oldest probably young 60s, I was the youngest person) and fitness levels. In our class we weren’t asked to lock anything! You’re right, that is very “un-yoga”. It makes me cringe just to think about it. Our instructor WAS very laid back and let us take drinks and rests whenever we needed to, although I have heard of some classes where no one is allowed to drink for the entirety of the class, and is scolded for doing so. She really made it a good experience for me. Also we were encouraged to just keep our eyes on our own eyes in the mirror (a small class ensured that everyone could see themselves very easily) so no one really noticed what anyone else was doing.

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