Aside from the fact that they are rich, successful and an object of desire for millions of men and women around the world they also happen to be the most happening celebrity Yoginis in Hollywood and Bollywood. Most of them are however known to be followers of Bikram style Hot Yoga which is only suited to certain types of individuals who require extreme flexibility and perfect physical shape.
Yoga in its true definition stands for “to unite“, “to join” or “to bring together“. The best Yoga teachers in the world address it as your own personal practice which is not supposed to be influenced by anything else other your mind, body and soul. During a Yoga Practice one learns how to unite their mind and body through the breath with a goal to achieve a state of balance and inner peace.
Lord Shiva from Hindu Mythology is said to be the divine inventor of Yoga. In fact the matted locks on his head convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga. Lord Patanjali from 150 BC is credited to being the one who transcribed the divine knowledge of yoga into a form that could be understood by humans. Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are 196 Indian sūtras (aphorisms) that constitute the foundational text of Yoga. It is believed that during the Golden Ages (a period known as Satya Yuga in Hinduism) every individual had complete knowledge of yoga and people used to live for centuries together. Unfortunately in today’s world yoga has become a concept of the west and is mostly considered to be another form of exercise.
The fast paced lifestyles of modern day times and constant exposure to media makes us notice the sexy and attractive bodies practicing Yoga more than the asanas themselves. This would explain the reason for the popularity of something like “Hot Yoga” which is almost synonymous with “Bikram Yoga“. These classes run exactly 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40.6°C with a humidity of 40% and is the most popular form of hot yoga. It is a form of yoga that essentially goes against the basic principles of the science encouraging the use of artificial heat when your body itself is more than capable of generating sufficient heat during the physical practice. The fad of Hot Yoga however has caught on in the west as well as Bollywood thanks to a number of celebrities endorsing it.
Bollywood actresses should however know better and not be swayed by the trends in the western markets as they themselves come from the land that invented Yoga. In Hollywood, New York and other global media hubs, yoga is initially seen as a form of exercise. Most celebrity trainers will however indicate that anyone who starts to practice yoga even just for the physical benefits, can’t help but evolve mentally and spiritually as well. To get an insider view on this and the growing fad of hot yoga we spoke to New York based celebrity fitness instructor Kristin McGee.
Kristin has trained several Hollywood celebrities such as Tina Fay, Steve Martin, Leann Rimes among others. She also conducts yoga classes at some of the finest gyms in New York. Additionally she also enables people who cannot attend her classes in person to practice her yoga using her DIY Yoga and Pilates DVDs, iPhone apps and through her influential blog.
GlobalMasala: A lot of leading actresses in Bollywood swear by Hot Yoga, a trend that is also popular in Hollywood and other western countries. What are your thoughts on Hot Yoga? Does it have any real benefits over normal or Power Yoga?
Kristin McGee: I personally prefer Power Yoga over Hot Yoga since I like to build my own heat internally and let that be my guide. I do like the room to be warm, just not super hot! I am not sure if all Hot Yoga is Bikram. I prefer to do more than the set 26 postures in Bikram; and I also prefer a less rigid structure. I think it’s great when students can express themselves and also feel free to listen to their bodies.
Some Hot Yoga is just power yoga or vinyasa yoga in a heated room. I think some heat is ok but too much makes it hard to really concentrate on the practice–sometimes it’s just about getting a major sweat and I don’t think that is the best reason to practice yoga. I like to deepen in to the postures through my breathing and awareness…not just a ton of heat. But; I also think to each their own. If people love the heated flow or Bikram classes that’s great! Just be careful you don’t mistake being overly flexible and push yourself too hard in these style of classes.
GlobalMasala: You teach normal yoga classes to general masses in addition to providing Private sessions to Hollywood celebrities. How different are the needs of celebrities from normal people?
Kristin McGee I think needs vary for everyone, not just celebrities. It all depends on each person’s goals in life and where they’re at. Someone who is prepping for a wedding may have a similar routine as a celeb who’s prepping for a big role. Some celebs are looking to lose weight after giving birth, others just love to have a disciplined practice and person they can rely on to give them a great workout.
I think it’s important to always stay true to ourselves and achieve a healthy lifestyle. It’s great to have role models and to look at certain celebs or athletes and admire them and set goals for ourselves. We also have to remind ourselves that we can only do so much. It’s a pro athletes and celebrity’s job to stay in shape! They have the resources, finances, lifestyles, etc. to focus completely on that goal. We have to give ourselves credit for doing what we can and still enjoy a well balanced life.
Well there you have it, golden words of wisdom from one of the best yoga instructors in the world. Don’t be swayed by the fad of Hot Yoga or any other celebrity fitness trend. Find out what works best for you and chart out your own path to a healthy living.