Cold weather practice

To all practitioners who live in cold climes: I salute you.

I am actually in Florida, which is not known for its chilliness, but I am at a work conference, so that means I am in air-conditioned surroundings all day and all night. I have the heat turned on in my hotel room right now, but it is pretty weak. It is fine outdoors, but apparently the populace prefers an air-conditioned ambient temperature of about 70 degrees. Hotels, stores, restaurants, cabs — all freezing. I don’t get it.

The difference between my usual hot desert weather and these cold temperatures adds up to one thing: sore joints.

Oh, and tight muscles. Almost forgot about that.

Today as I snuck outside the hotel to stand for a few minutes in the swampy heat, I thought about all the Ashtangis who regularly practice in cold climates, and I’ll tell you this: I admire your devotion. If we make a division between those who study Ashtanga (the tough guys) and those who don’t, we should also consider a distinction based on cold-clime Ashtangis (the tough ones) and tropical or desert Ashtangis (wusses like me).


9 Responses

  1. Hi Karen
    I had a fellow ashtangi friend who moved from Orlando to Edinburgh to study. There, her mysore teacher is a student of John Scott. My friend reported that they never warmed up the room sufficiently to her taste. So maybe you’re right about the courage of those practitioners in colder climates. SF is cooler than Scottsdale, but they do warm up the practice rooms here. The mysore-style studio over there in Orlando is I just checked Krista’s blog and she is not due back there from Mysore for three weeks, though. Others are subbing in her absence. If you have time, Lewis Lowenstein’s led ashtanga classes are a lot of fun at Full Circle Yoga in Winterpark. The one called level 3 is a led 2nd series led class.

  2. Hi Arturo,

    I thought of Krista when I came into town and realized she is still not in Orlando. I would like to meet her one day. I wish I could get to a shala, but the day starts at 7 AM, and we don’t finish ’til after dinner. So that means hotel practices for me this week, I’m afraid…


  3. cold weather isn’t a problem as long as you are able to heat the room sufficiently. those oil filled radiator style electric heaters work really really well.

    i have a really hard time with companies that send their employees on trips that involve working such long hours. it just isn’t right not to allot people a little more personal time than that. when my husband worked for the most evil company in the whole world, they used to have to do what Andrew would call “mandatory fun”, social activities outside of the regular work day. he was already working 55-60 hour weeks (mandated by the most evil company, for managers) and then on top of this he would have to go out and have “fun”.

  4. last winter I would heat the house from its winter regular overnight temp of 59 to a toasty 64, and practice in what were, effectively, sweats. That took some serious getting used to, as most studio rooms here are heated (as needed) to the mid-70s or even 80. I don’t think it’s wussy to practice in native heat or a heated room, but there is DEFINITELY some sore/tight to get used to, when the temperature drops.

  5. I’d like to count myself amongst the hearty cold practitioners, but 80* seems to be normal these days in Boston!

    How about them Sox?

    p.s. are you staying at one of those freaky gaylord conference facilities by any chance?

  6. I have heard there are a lot of Ashtangis in Finland! Now THEY deserve a special award!

  7. OK I must be missing something, because at my shala the windows and doors are open during the summer, which results in a typical heat index around 100 farenheit / 37 celsius. I typically sweat out 2% to 3% of my bodyweight during these practices. Totally drenched clothes and mysore rug. Suffice to say it feels like a daily death march.

    Cold weather? Bring it on.

  8. Okay, I guess we have to salute those who practice in extreme climates — whether hot or cold. Though I guess that would include all Bikram practitioners. I’m not sure if I’m ready to include them. 🙂

  9. Yep, here in New Orleans, jewel of the South.

    There’s a Bikram studio here, during August I bet they have to turn on the a/c to achieve the prescribed temperature, hah. Ashtangis are the toughest and the baddest.

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