Feeling good on the inside and outside with hot yoga
For some people, it is important to look and feel good on the outside.
But for yoga instructor Lisa Murray (pictured above and right), how you feel on the inside is what life is all about.
The entrepreneur runs Hotspot Yoga in Southsea and teaches her students about the importance of holistic and spiritual therapy.
In heat of up to 40 degrees Centigrade, visitors to the Marmion Road studio can get rid of their stress and start healing from the inside out.
Lisa started Hotspot Yoga three years ago and now has more than 1,000 students who take part in her classes.
She originally had a career in the fitness industry but as she got older, she learned about meditation and now says feeling good on the inside is really important.
The 55-year-old says: ‘My background is in fitness but I got to the stage where I wanted to fulfil myself internally as well as externally.
‘When you are younger, you are trying to achieve the best body so it started like that.
‘I was stretching and got into yoga and just thinking about slowing down from cardio exercise and weights.
‘It is very easy for us to forget about what’s happening inside our bodies.
‘I have been on a spiritual journey for many years; I have done a lot of self-development.
‘I did meditation and have been meditating for two hours a day for the past six years.
‘It is all about accepting my inner goddess and this is something I am so passionate about.
‘I feel like I need to share it and help others feel the same way.’
Lisa, from Denmead, hosts several classes a week along with other yoga instructors at Hotspot Yoga.
Her sessions are for a mix of abilities and she says ages range from people in their early 20s to pensioners.
Men and women also take part, although Lisa admits it is women who tend to feel they have to accept who they are more.
She adds: ‘My students are from all walks of life, but they all have this common thread of trying to adapt to changes in their body.
‘Whether they are preparing for a promotion at work or meeting the man of their dreams, it helps to work on yourself internally.
‘It also helps women preparing for menopause.
‘As women we are always trying to accept our body as it is but some people can’t. I have seen a lot of super-confident people on the outside but inside they are just as broken up as other people. Or they have a sense of low self-worth.’
Lisa says she likes to focus on people who are older and helping them accept that, although their minds might still be active, their bodies need to be going at a slower pace.
‘Hot yoga helps those people who are accepting illness, a slower lifestyle or just accepting their body is getting slower,’ she says.
‘I really want to focus on people in their later life and bringing them some peace.
‘My mum is 79 and although she has the mind of an 18-year-old, her body is saying she needs to slow down.
‘I have watched her trying to mentally accept her age in her body and seen the changes that has brought.
‘In life, it doesn’t matter what age you get to.
‘There is no door, we have never arrived - life is just watching a soul change like the seasons.’
Since starting the business three years ago, Lisa says she has received good feedback from her students and she has been adapting to suit people’s needs.
For some, the heat of hot yoga was too much so Hotspot Yoga now does warm yoga classes.
Lisa adds: ‘Hot yoga is constantly evolving. Now we do a warm yoga as well. I am constantly listening to the needs of my students.
‘When people describe the classes, they say “it’s amazing”.
‘That is the only way they can describe it, people just find it amazing.
‘For someone to come out and that feel amazing, it is great.
‘They have come in feeling nervous and stressful but they leave all of that behind. That is what spurs me on really.
‘When we first opened up, nobody knew what hot yoga was.
‘I now have 1,100 students and a lot of people come back and do the classes again and again.’
Lisa said word of mouth has helped her business reach more people.
‘It is just organically growing,’ she adds.
‘People who come to the classes talk about it and word spreads.
‘It is about people telling others and spreading the word. I encourage people to see it as a gift. It is a gift we give to ourselves but it is something we can share as well.
‘I want everyone on the planet doing yoga.’
PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL
Taking part in a yoga class often means healing spiritually and improving the mind.
But hot yoga instructor Lisa Murray says there are a number of physical health benefits too.
These range from strengthening muscles to helping lower blood pressure.
Lisa, from Denmead, says: ‘Hot yoga does help with strengthening muscles and improving fitness.
‘The heat of the studio, which is up to 40 degrees Centigrade, means you sweat out all the toxins in the body.
‘Yoga also builds up and tones muscle, helping get rid of fat. People find after a few weeks they lose weight.
‘It also helps with core strength, increasing circulation and increasing energy levels.
‘These are obviously great things but for me, it is evolving from a holistic practice and the spiritual healing you get is the biggest benefit.
‘It helps relieve stress and people can become a lot more relaxed. I truly believe people are coming in to heal.
‘People think they are coming in to get flexible and strong, but they get so much more.’
Hotspot Yoga runs several classes a week, ranging from morning to evening.
During the hour-long sessions, participants will learn to relax and breathe but also improve their body.
Lisa Murray, who founded the business in Southsea and also instructs classes, says: ‘I spend 10 minutes just encouraging and preparing people for class - that is getting people to let go of everything.
‘Whatever we are bringing in, we are encouraged to empty our mind and prepare ourselves mentally.
‘Then we start moving and we do a series of stretches, preparing the spine.
‘We focus our breathing and moving together. We constantly focus on our breathing awareness and how we feel. Doing that will just empty someone’s head.
‘You cannot really do two things at once with our thoughts. Breathing takes more concentration than people think, so it is a great way to forget about everything else.’
For Lisa, her classes have mixed abilities and she said it helps the students learn patience. I only teach a mixed group - I wouldn’t like to label people as a beginner or advanced,’ she adds.
‘We all have to learn to love together and be with people at different capabilities to ourselves.
‘The people who are further ahead can practice more. It helps people become patient and really makes the newer students feel supported. That is really important.’
For a schedule of the classes, visit hotspotyoga.co.uk