Ariana Kukors: Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone with Hot Yoga

Northwest Community Monday, October 6, 2014 Written by

Ariana Kukors is an Olympic swimmer, world-record holder and Pacific Northwest native who is working with LifeWise to promote healthy living. Follow along on her journey to live an active and healthy life. 

As someone who has spent a large portion of my life dedicated to being healthy and fit, you might be surprised at how many activities I haven’t tried. Yoga was something I dabbled in from time to time, but never committed to incorporating into my daily routine. About a year ago, I stumbled upon a hot yoga studio and decided to give this popular Northwest activity another try.

First Impressions

1. I loved the sweat. It felt so cleansing. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

2. I suck at breathing. I literally held my breath the entire class and was so confused by the concept of using my breath for movement.

3. It was addicting and I couldn’t wait to go back.

4. While I can’t say I had any idea what I was doing, I enjoyed the feeling of stepping outside my comfort zone.

Since my reintroduction to yoga, I’ve experimented with a variety of different practice styles at a handful of local studios. Read on for thoughts on each yoga style through a beginner’s eyes:

Bikram: 26 postures. Always really hot. Always the same.

Ariana’s Take: Some days I loved doing the same thing; other days I got bored. If you’re a creature of habit, Bikram is for you! I found it easy to track my progress, and you’re always guaranteed a good sweat!
When I Go: When I need something familiar
My Favorite Local Studio: SweatBox in Seattle’s Capitol Hill

Vinyasa Flow: Asanas. Breath to movement. Flowing.

Ariana’s Take: This is my go-to yoga style lately. I love the feeling of achieving power through flow and movement. I also love that each session is different and a wonderful surprise.
When I Go: Every Day!
My Favorite Local Studio: Urban Yoga Spa in downtown Seattle

Heated: Yoga in a room heated between 95-105 degrees

Ariana’s Take: As I’ve said, I love a good sweat. (I think this is due to the fact that I’ve spent much of my life in a pool — being drenched feels completely normal to me.) Be sure to hydrate and listen to your body. If you need to hang in child’s pose, do it! There is no shame in that!
When I Go: Every Day!
My Favorite Local Studio: Breathe Hot Yoga in Seattle’s South Lake Union

Non-Heated: Yoga in a fitness studio set to regular indoor temperature

Ariana’s Take: If you’re a purist, this might be for you! All the heat in the room is created by you, your movement and flow!
When I Go: When the heat is too much and I want to go back to basics
My Favorite Local Studio: Lab 5 Fitness in Seattle’s Capitol Hill

Stepping outside of your routine or comfort zone can be very rewarding. Through yoga, I’ve found something that is not only a great workout, but also a daily lesson in being present through life.

What will you do this week to be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone?