When I stepped into The Hot Room downtown to take my first hot yoga class I was scared. Scared of looking dumb. Nervous that I wouldn’t be flexible enough to do all of the poses that the teacher asked of me, and terrified of how my body would handle the heat. I still remember how difficult that first class was to get through and how accomplished I felt after staying in the room and participating for the whole 60 minutes. I signed up for my intro month that day and never looked back. This past week I just completed my 500th class, and the journey so far has been an unexpected and amazing ride! I have taken some time to reflect on what this practice has brought to my life.  I want to share just a few things that never would have been possible if I didn’t set foot in The Hot Room about 3.5 years ago and hadn’t continue to come back month after month.

First of all, I have gained so much flexibility, alignment and strength in my body through ALL of the different classes at THR. I remember so many classes that I left feeling like a rock star and just as many that humbled me considerably. Downward dog was a pose I hated because of my tight hamstrings and weak shoulders, and now I savor it.

As someone who likes control in all aspects of my life, learning to accept my body for what it is every class has been a great mental benefit that has been able to transcend my practice on my mat and help me enjoy more in life without feeling responsible for other people’s feelings around me. I didn’t see progress every class, but looking back over my journey it’s easy to see the changes that have happened in my body and mind that have accumulated over time.

I have also come to the studio for relief during some of my hardest moments. The smiling familiar faces at the front desk put me at ease and I was able to focus on my body and breath in the room and work through things in a healthy way. Outside of THR I have completed 3 half marathons injury free which would not have been possible without combining my running training with my practice at The Hot Room. Inferno Hot Pilates is great for core and glute strength for runners, and Yin and Original Hot Yoga classes have been great for recovery and

One of my largest accomplishments last year was completing my 200 hour Vinyasa teacher training withThe Hot Room, which was an amazing experience for my personal growth and leadership. After the training I was able to start teaching Hot Power Vinyasa and Hot Power Sculpt classes to the community. Creating new playlists and leading students through a class is something I dreamed about for a long time before taking the leap and signing up for a training. I was confident that I would have a good training experience because I had proved to myself on my mat that I was capable of anything that I fully committed to and put the time in to practice. During and after training, I have had the privilege to assist many Hot Power Vinyasa classes and have witnessed so many people have personal breakthroughs in their practice. This experience is one that I truly treasure. I’m not sure that anything else is more rewarding.

Lastly and arguably most importantly, I’ve become part of an AMAZING community of movers and shakers in Indianapolis that are doing such great work in the studios, and also outside of them in the community too. I am grateful to call these people friends, mentors, and role models in my life.

Each day is a new opportunity to re-commit to showing up on my mat and trying my hardest. Some days will be easier than others and some classes will be so challenging that you’ll question why you’re spending so much time in a heated room with these other students, but showing up on your mat day in and day out can lead to some serious change in your life, and you’ll most definitely surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

Here’s to 500 more!

With love and gratitude,

Katie Gigante