That Yoga Glow

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 19, 2011

For whatever reason, Mother Nature has given Southern Ontario (and places nearby) a very wet Spring!  Are you in one of those rainy areas too?

IMG_5884  IMG_5878 

My umbrella gets lots of use lately. ;)

We’ve had steady rain for the past 5 days and there is more rain due for 3 out of 5 days in the week ahead.

Despite this weather, the rain doesn’t really bother me as much lately, which is pretty strange because I tend to always feel a dip in my mood when it rains.


Today, I realized that I have yoga to thank for my improved mood!

I started going to Moksha’s hot yoga classes on May 7th and I fell in love with it (read all about my first class here). I’ve been to about 11 classes now and I just can’t get enough. I’m really getting my money’s worth with my unlimited $40 intro monthly pass! I really wish I had tried this ages ago. I also think it would have helped me beat my Winter blues too.

“Moksha Hot Yoga was founded in Toronto, Canada in 2004 by yoga teachers Ted Grant and Jessica Robertson. Though a relative newcomer, Moksha has quickly gained popularity as over 30 affiliated studios have since opened worldwide, including in Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and the Caribbean. The Moksha method is a set series of about 40 poses done in a hot room. Moksha has strict "green" standards for keeping their studios environmentally friendly, including using sustainable building materials and natural cleansers. They are also committed to offering weekly low-cost classes with the money donated to locate charities and karma yoga opportunities to keep yoga classes more accessible.” [source]


From time to time, I wonder where the inflexible girl who hated yoga DVDs disappeared to. Well, I’m still here, but now I’ve found a style of yoga that clicks with me. And I’m so grateful that I have because I always felt like there was a missing piece to my fitness puzzle.

Like with most things, I don’t think hot yoga is for everyone (in fact, if you have health problems, such as a heart condition, it’s advised you do not take part), but I’m more convinced that there is a style of yoga that almost anyone can enjoy. You just have to find the right style that meshes with your personality and do what works for you.

The word Moksha means ‘Freedom’, which is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. Freedom from anxiety, busy thoughts, tight muscles, and day-to-day ‘noise’.

Moksha Characteristics:

  • Poses are traditional asanas (I heard there are about 40 yoga positions used)
  • You are encouraged to set an intention (in your mind) at start of class
  • Emphasis is on deep breathing, enhancing flexibility, and balance
  • Breath-synchronized movements – the teacher will instruct you to move from one pose to the next on an inhale or an exhale.
  • Several classes are offered: Moksha, Moksha Flow, Flow, and LYM.
  • Classes range from 60-90 minutes (75 min is my sweet spot!)
  • The pace is quick and heart rate is elevated throughout class
  • Room is heated to 37 Celsius
  • Instructors will often do gentle adjustments, if its ok with you (personally I appreciate occasional adjustments because they help me find proper form)
  • Instructors have the flexibility to slightly adapt each class, so no class is the same
  • Friendly to beginners (trust me on this one!)
  • Savasana (lying flat on the mat and focusing on breath) occurs at the start of class, middle class, and at the very end.
  • There are a couple minutes of intense ab work during the floor series.
  • It is a great workout if you want it to be and you push yourself. My muscles are often sore after classes!



After just 11 classes, I’ve noticed an improvement in my focus, muscle tone, breathing, flexibility, posture, and balance. I feel strong, aware, peaceful, and happier than I have in a long time. Eric tells me that my skin feels incredibly soft, which is an added bonus from all that salty sweat exfoliating the skin. I also love the class atmosphere…the energy from the room is really contagious and a yoga DVD just can’t compare in my mind.

Even though I love hot yoga, I won’t be giving up cardio anytime soon (I’ve still been sticking with running/walking/elliptical about 5 days a week), but I feel like they compliment each other perfectly.


What I like to eat beforehand:

I’ve been experimenting with different foods before classes to find what works best for me. For my first class, I had a freshly made juice, but the juice was not enough energy for me to sustain a class and I felt very weak. I also tried various full-sized breakfasts with mixed results, sometimes feeling too full during class.

Lately, what works for me is eating 1 large banana and drinking 1 glass of V8 juice about 40 minutes before a class. Each time I have this snack, I have no weakness during class. I also make sure to drink lots of water before (starting the day before), during, and after class. It’s important to find that sweet spot where you aren’t too full, but you still have lots of energy for the class. If I take a long 90 minute class, I often have a medjool date or two in addition to this snack.


What I like to eat afterwards:

I crave water-based foods like vegetables, fruit, and big salads following a hot yoga class. Lately, I’ve been craving Green Monsters (made with coconut water for electrolytes), salads, veggie & hummus plates, Ezekiel bread/crackers, and Gazpacho.


I’m also newly obsessed with Nature’s Path Kamut Puff cereal thanks to Ange. I’ve been enjoying it with almond milk, ABU, fruit, and a bit of cinnamon. Cold and refreshing.


What I bring to class:

  • Reusable tote bag for carrying belongings
  • Align Ultra Lululemon yoga mat (I’m not really a fan of this mat because it is slippy! Anyone recommend any good non-slip mats?)
  • 1 large bath towel (to place on mat)
  • 1 small face towel (to wipe sweat)
  • Sigg water bottle
  • Keys, license, $20, yoga pass card
  • Zip up jacket for before and after class (I shower at home)


My impression after 11 classes:

I feel like yoga is improving the relationship I have with myself. I used to be a skeptic when I heard that about yoga, thinking it wouldn’t apply to me. I was wrong! Yoga is just what I need in my life to help me center myself and thoughts. I have an anxious personality by nature, and yoga is therapy for my busy mind that never stops.

I’ve been excited not only by the changes I see (like toned muscles or improved flexibility), but feel in myself. I feel like yoga is the missing piece of the puzzle to my growth as an individual. I’m excited to explore yoga in many of its forms and styles down the road.


What’s your yoga experience? Love it, hate it? What styles have you tried and do any click or not click with you? What do you eat (or not eat) before a class?

[By the way, this review is not paid or sponsored by Moksha or anyone else. It’s just my personal experience, as always!] 

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

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Michelle @ From Seed To Tree May 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Yes – here in Kitchener we’ve had days and days of rain. I am so crossing my fingers that it will let up this weekend for May 2-4. Some sunshine would be very welcomed!

I’m glad you enjoyed your yoga. :)


Steph @ A Life Without Ice Cream May 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm

I’ve had a similar experience with yoga. I tried it in grad school because although I tend to be a skeptic about those types of things I needed something to calm my nerves and focus myself living such a high stress life. I always left feeling so amazing and energetic. I also practice at home and with dvds at times and find I get similar results… its very calming to focus on yourself (mind and body) for a set period of time!


Kristin May 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm

That is awesome that you have found yoga. It sounds like you have experienced what I call the “La La La” factor. When I leave yoga I feel like la la laing and if a car ran me over I would just la la la away from the relaxation and groundedness that I get from yoga. I always tell everyone they should give yoga a try. I really enjoy the mental aspect of yoga even more than the physical practice. If you ever get a chance, try the 108 sun salutation mala, now that is incredible.


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

haha love the la la analogy. That is a good description!


Megan May 19, 2011 at 11:47 pm

This post made me want to hop on my bike and head to yoga. It’s 11:30pm – otherwise I would ;) I followed the ABU link and laughed out loud when you said your husband rolled his eyes and that he just doesn’t get nut butter. I think ALL men might have this opinion, my hubs thinks my eternal nut butter quest is CRAZY. They might be right, but I don’t care.


Kashif May 20, 2011 at 12:55 am

How wonderful that you’ve found something so beneficial from a yoga practice … for me it’s been completely life transforming and I can’t imagine my day to day life without yoga.


Molly @ RDexposed May 20, 2011 at 2:13 am

I need to get into yoga more! I enjoy it but running dominates my exercise.


Jacqui May 20, 2011 at 3:06 am

What you said about yoga totally sums up how I feel in relation to the connection I am feeling with my body and also shutting off my busy mind – its rawsome!


Ali May 20, 2011 at 6:32 am

I started doing Vinyasa classes in January, and along with the heightened sense of awareness and calm, I really love the emphasis on compassion, both for others and, sometimes more importantly, for yourself. I’m glad you’re finding it to be a positive experience too!
ps. Lululemon has a travel mat that’s double-sided (one side appears slick, the other matte), and the slick side gets easier to grip the wetter it gets. It has made a HUGE difference in my practice. They also have it full sized, but if you get the travel one, you can just put it over your current mat, and then you have a thick version and a version to travel with! Best investment I’ve made so far. Good luck!


Amanda May 20, 2011 at 6:35 am

I love yoga & lulu!! Here is a different lulu yoga mat that is better for Hot class. I use it & Love it
I love reading your blog each day!! Can’t wait to try some of your recipes.


[email protected] Gracious May 20, 2011 at 6:50 am

Thanks so much for this post! It was like a God whisper for me. I have been thinking about hot yoga this week and hoping to start in a couple weeks. This was just reinforcement that I should. And yes, it has been VERY wet here in Michigan.


Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers May 20, 2011 at 7:09 am

11 classes already? It seems like you first tried it only yesterday. Oh how time flies! I’m too nervous to attend a yoga class. My cross country coach in high school told me I’m about as flexible as an oak tree! haha. Sadly, not much has changed! I do attempt a few DVDs though from time to time.


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Im not very flexible (or so I thought) but I was actually surprised! I have severely tight leg muscles from running and they have improved SO much!


Amy May 20, 2011 at 7:39 am

This is so exciting!! I just recently came across your site, and I LOVE it – the recipes are to die for, exactly my kind of food. Then I came across this post and I can’t be more happy for you that you’ve found a style of yoga that you love – I am a Moksha teacher and have had a very similar experience as you. Yoga has helped me treat my body as a prized possession and I am very close to making the binge-starve cycle I’ve been on since my teens a thing of the past.

You are truly inspiring!


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thank you Amy! :)


Tricia Cobb May 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but have never posted. My love of yoga started several years ago after a bad car accident. I believe it really helped my recovery – both physical and mental. I have never tried hot yoga, but after reading your posts on it, I definitely want to try it! Living in the Southern US, I don’t know how much luck I will have but I will keep searching!


Angelique May 20, 2011 at 8:02 am

Hi Angela — I’m the same way in that I never “got” yoga from DVD’s but now totally get it, and love it, after going to in-person yoga classes. I’ve been going semi-regularly for the last couple of years, my most consistent form of exercise. I made do with a Giam mat for a while but it was thin and slipped around a lot, especially when I did wall yoga. I now have a Manduka mat and LOVE it! It’s much thicker and heavier, made from tree rubber, and never moves once it’s on the floor. It’s spongeyness is very supportive and cushioning. It’s also really pretty, a deep plum/purple with a light pattern stamped into it. I’m just SO glad I purchased this. It will probably last me the rest of my life.


Angelique May 20, 2011 at 8:15 am

p.s. I looked on Manduka’s site and the one I have is the eKo mat, the Acai color. The eKo mats are produced via non-toxic materials.
Here’s a link that helps you determine which of their mats you’d like best:


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

thank you for your suggestion!


Katie @ Finding My Om May 20, 2011 at 8:07 am

I’d have to say give a Manduka mat a try. :) it’s kinda pricey, but worth the money… it’ll last you your lifetime. I also use the hot yoga towel from lululemon. It helps from sliding all over the place.


Lisa May 20, 2011 at 8:47 am

I need to try yoga again. I struggle with anxiety too. Have you ever done a post on dealing with anxiety? I could do my hot yoga in my back yard by the pool since it’s in the 90’s this week. (If my 3 dogs will let me!)


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 20, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I dont think I have done a post on it…I havent quite figured it out myself! lol


Ali May 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

Yogitoes ( make incredible skidless towels! Worth the investment!

Happy Hot Yoga-ing! :)


Beth May 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Great photos of your umbrella. The red really pops with the contrast of the deck.
We have been getting similar weather, just about 8 hours after you get it (I’m in Ottawa).

Glad you are enjoying your yoga classes so much! The unlimited pass is a super buy.

I fell in love with yoga class in December ’09, and bought myself an unlimited year pass. I tried almost every class that was offered, and found that I enjoyed the hot yoga for beginners, good night yoga, power yoga for beginners and yin yoga. There were a couple classes that added some yin yoga in as well, which provided for great variety. Even though I don’t do yoga classes during the summer now, I do still practice my deep breathing, and take some time during the day to close my eyes and relax – outside if weather permits.


Dolores May 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I LOVE hot yoga! I just wish I could do it 5 days a week, also cardio 5 days a week and weight training too!


Meg May 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I just got my certification in the vinyasa flow which sounds very similar to this. I love it too! I love the heat, I love the core workouts and I love the flow. When I skip a few days, my body craves it. I would recommend getting yogi toes instead of using a large towel. I don’t’ know if you have heard of them but they are thin towels that have rubber on the reverse side. It helps the towel stay in place. I usually wet my towel a little bit before class starts to really give it a good stick. They run about $65 at Lulu but you can find them on ebay much cheaper. Hope that helps! I just get the cheap mats at target, they seem to work best for me. (GAIAM)


Lara May 20, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Hi Angela! I’m passionately in love with my Moksha practice & I also work at lululemon athletica. I would recommend “The Mat” from our company 100% – it’s the grippiest mat I have ever practiced on almost a year after purchasing it, absorbs my sweat in seconds and I get asked “Where can I buy that amazing mat?” at least three times a week. If you don’t mind towels wrinkling up in places and you like extra padding, a towel wouldn’t be a bad idea… But “The Mat” is better than any towel in my opinion. A good thing to know with “The Mat” though is that it works much better (and smells much better) if you soak it in the tub after purchasing it and then let it dry and air out for a few days. Oil-based cleaners clog the pores and could create a sketchy experience, too. It’s thick, heavy and incredibly functional: my mat for life :)


Luv What You Do May 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm

I discovered yoga in grad school (it was the best 90 minutes of the day dedicated only to me)! Recently, I tried my first HOT yoga class. I LOVED it! I wish I was able to get there as often as you. I just invested in a large yoga towel for my mat (which my the way I bought at Target and I LOVE it…plus it’s colorful and gets lots of compliments). Thanks for all the food suggestions. It is hard to find that balance for sure!


Eat Hike Sleep Repeat May 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

Wonderful to hear that you have been so taken by yoga! I hit 4-5 classes a week, so I understand you being ‘taken” by it. I need to eat 3 hours before class in order to ensure adequate digestion. Once I was feeling a bit hungry and thought that chia pudding would be harmless enough. It’s light, isn’t it? I think the chia started to swell … It was a very uncomfortable class!


Robyn @ Bliss in Print May 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Kudos on finding a yoga practice that fits into your life and makes sense for your life!! i feel I have found that recently here in Colorado and it has never felt so right!

In regards to yoga mats.. I have been loving “The Mat” from Lululemon. Yes, it is expensive – but I did A TON of research and this one is just amazing! Even when I take workshops in large unfinished studio space with concrete flooring, it is still padded enough that I don’t feel the floor too much :)

Here is the link to my favorite mat!


Gina May 22, 2011 at 10:02 am

What I love about yoga is that it really puts you into your body. I’ve found such an appreciation for my imperfect, yet perfect body. Yoga shows you that you already have everything you need…the teacher is just a guide to find it! I am so happy that you have found a yoga style and studio that you are passionate about. It is such a different experience practicing in a studio and using the energy of the class and those around you for an enhanced experience.

As mush as I love Lulu and recommend luon in any practice, their ultra align mat doesn’t do it for me…and actually I don’t think they are made to last too long. On mine, the rubber began to wear down and flake off. Sine I’ve become a more serious yogi, I invested in a Manduka and absolutely LOVE it! Jade mats are also great…the only downside is they are a bit narrow for my wide shoulders, so when I am in down-dog, my pinkie fingers are off the matt. Also, you can get by with the Align mat if you invest in a yogi-toes or manduka super absorbent towel. I don’t even go to class without one anymore. They key to those towels is that you have to get them a little wet first (with water from your water bottle) or lay them down once your hands and feet get sweaty.


Annabananabomb May 23, 2011 at 12:53 am

Hi Angela,

Just wondering how often you practice? I have been going (but very inconsistently) and, like you, I have found that hot yoga really “clicks” with me. I know that going once is better than not going at all, but I’m just curious to know how often you go!



Kathryn May 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm

I love my manduka mat. Expensive but last for life which I like. Won’t end up in a landfill. Jade mats are biodegradeable which is good too, but you have to replace them more often.

I DEFINATELY recommend a yogitoes. They changed my practice since I also do a heated room practice.

Yoga is REALLY powerful. Glad you are enjoying it.


Jenna May 26, 2011 at 9:00 am

I would reccomend the Jade mats. I have a the jade travel, which I purchased from Moksha for 50 bucks. They are biodegradable, eco friendly, no PVC and have amazing grip – I don’t need a towel on my mat, even in the vinyasa flow or warrior series. I found that even with a towel on my winners mat I would slip a lot during warrior. Check out their website, they’re really awesome and love the earth :) namaste


alex June 14, 2011 at 9:58 am

hey =)
I’m a certified yoga instructor in Waterloo so it makes me SO!! happy to hear that you’re loving yoga. I couldn’t agree more with it being the missing puzzle piece in life.

After much debate amongst everyone in my yoga teacher training, here are some things we figured out about slippy mats:
1. Give yours a good wipedown first. Most yoga mats come with a protective coating that gets slippy during your practise. You can try cool mixes to wipe it down too, like tea tree oil and peppermint
2. The more you use it, the less slippery they get.
3. Try using one or two face cloths under your hands in poses like Down Dog, if not using a full body towel or a special yoga mat towel (like lulu’s skidless towel, but mainly yoga studios have other brands too) over top of your mat… ESPECIALLY in hot yoga classes.
4. A great yoga mat for slippery hands- lulu’s travel mat. I have a teacher-friend who SWEARS by this… it’s super light to carry around too and one of their cheapest mats.

Hope that helps!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

thanks so much Alex!


Lisa Hughes, PT, RYT 500 August 25, 2015 at 11:40 am

about that mat…I guess this is an older post, but the best non- slip mat out there is called The Original Eco Yoga Mat and you can get it at Barefoot Yoga. It is a natural rubber mat with hemp weaved through. Even the super hot classes won’t require you to put a towel on top! A triangle without a good root system is a back problem waiting to happen! Enjoy and I hope you will stay with your Yoga!


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