Heating Up! Flourish Hot Yoga

Amy Lin Blankenship Thomas, owner of the popular Flourish Hot Yoga at Brooks School and Fall Creek Roads.

Hot yoga sounds intimidating, and it should. It’s not for the inexperienced yoga novice. In a room heated to 105 degrees with a water bottle close at hand, be ready for a challenging experience. Yet somehow Flourish Yoga takes the intimidation away and welcomes you with open arms into a safe, professionally-guided class. ‘Warming Up to Hot Vinyasa’ is the place to begin once you feel you are ready for the heat. This intro level class may be all you want. The ‘Hot Vinyasa’ class is for the highly advanced and those ready to push themselves.

When asked why hot yoga is so popular, Flourish owner Amy Lin Thomas replied, “It’s all about the individual. Not comparing yourself to others, it’s an individual workout performed in the same room where other practitioners happen to be.” The sweating and toxin release is also a factor. Practitioners (yogis) feel emotionally cleansed at the end of class.

“It’s like you are taking a shower on the inside. Thanks in good part to the Ujjayi breathing (pronounced Oo-j-eye), the heat facilitates the release of toxins. It’s a euphoric experience and our most popular class,” says Amy.

Amy pushed herself to open this new yoga studio three years ago at Brooks School and Fall Creek Roads. After instructing at another yoga studio on the north side, she was ready to launch her own peaceful space. “It was a big step but felt right with timing,” said Amy.

Needing a PE credit sophomore year at Indiana University, she took a yoga class. This new exercise would change her life. She was forced to slow down and stretch her tight quadriceps and hamstrings from playing competitive collegiate soccer. She found an internal stillness. What drew her in was the internal “buzz” she experienced when in Savasana: the coming together of body, mind and spirit in a harmonious, balanced wonderful stillness.

After graduating from IU, she lived in California for a while where she attended graduate school. Moving back to Indiana, she has been a counselor for teens and adults. Amy has now incorporated her counseling practice as part of Flourish. The diverse class schedule, counseling services and massage therapy offered at Flourish mesh well together.

Flourish has always honored the ancient traditional healing powers of yoga while translating those teachings into a modern day user-friendly application for our lives today. In early October, Amy is traveling to New York City to participate in an advanced yoga teacher training with Dharma Mittra. He is a Master Yogi of the Traditional 8 limbs of Yoga.

More advanced practices in traditional yoga are utilizing more breathing exercises as well as practicing meditation and self-examination. Amy believes that this advanced training will enable her to continue to uphold her mission: to guide and accompany practitioners to nurture and manifest their infinite possibilities and to empower you to achieve wellbeing from the inside out.

There are many aspects that Amy loves about yoga. “I love that it is universal – that it isn’t specific to gender, political persuasion, financial status, culture, language, physical ability, religious beliefs, etc. I love that it is portable. I love that I can break through a previous limitation on my mat and translate this off of my mat to discover more possibilities. I love that it is a physical exertion as a means to spiritual contentment.”

Flourish offers a wide variety of yoga classes. Yoga is typically affiliated with a meditative practice. Some classes are more meditative, such as ‘Gentle Yoga’ and ‘Yin Yoga.’ ‘Yoga Basics’ is the most introductory class available. ‘Kids Yoga’ is a fun option to help with flexibility and calm the stressed student.

The class descriptions are accurate on content and help set expectations. For the ‘Hot Vinyasa’ classes, the room is heated to 105 degrees F, and a humidifier is turned on. Participants also do a ‘heating breath.’ This helps intensify the effect of the heat, enabling the muscles, tendons and ligaments to stretch more readily and release toxins through our sweat and exhalations. During ‘Warming Up to Hot Vinyasa,’ the room is heated to around 90 degrees. Non-heated classes rarely go below 76 degrees.

The classes are attended predominantly by women; however, ‘Hot Vinyasa’ is less segregated. More men take it than other yoga classes because it’s so physically demanding versus the mellow meditation in other yoga class formats. Each yoga class may be different, but all bring you to the same beautiful state of tranquility.

The ‘Hot Vinyasa’ class is the most popular and is described by Flourish: “This dynamic class reminds us that physical challenge and exertion can lead the way to spiritual contentment. Honoring and balancing effort with surrender, Hot Vinyasa class will be a vehicle for you to experience your innate bliss.” Who wouldn’t want to experience this? Namaste.

Visit their website at www.flourishyoga.biz.

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