College is a stimulating place, with challenging classes, late nights, ever-changing friends, relationships, all while truly learning how to be independent. It’s hard stuff. Finding what grounds you during some of the most challenging parts of your life naturally becomes a lifeline that helps move you through the hard things, and come out the other side stronger. But what is that thing, and how do you find it? Maybe for you, you’ve found that comfort in a person, food, a corner of the library where you can clear your mind, and intermural sport, or coffee (let’s be real).
Let me tell you a little love story about the only thing that kept me sane in my final few months of college: Hot yoga.
As a senior in college, I felt like everything in my future was so uncertain, with NO idea of where I was going to be in 5 months after graduation. I felt so out of control and weirdly found a comfort in relinquishing that control and using that energy to build my own confidence to help me move forward in a sustainable and healthy way through hot yoga. I dropped any idea of what I THOUGHT was going to happen in my life, and stepped into my power knowing that something WILL happen, even if I don’t know what that is yet.
After just a few classes, what started happening was amazing. I was making progress in every area of my life – relationships, grades, job opportunities – as my yoga practice was developing, and naturally becoming a crucial, engrained part of my every day. My body felt better. My skin was beaming. And the best part – my crippled confidence from the hardships of an average college student was restoring itself every single class. I was starting to feel incredible in my own skin. I found myself confidently taking on things that challenged me and taking them on with this sense of youthful exuberance that made every task exciting. And here I am, three years later, writing this to you with a HUGE smile on my face, feeling proud of where I’ve been and where I am now, and still practicing original hot yoga almost daily with no intention of ever stopping.
There is so much in our lives that feels uncontrollable, and it’s true. Humans try to control experiences they may not expect, and a lot of us learn the hard way, that sometimes no matter how hard we try to control an outcome, whatever is going to happen, is going to happen. In hot yoga, you want to wipe your dripping sweat from your face, you want to chug your water in between postures because you are sweating so much. But what happens if you just let it be? How does that feel? You can choose to react to the physiological responses your body expects you to, or you can surprise yourself. You are in control of your practice. What you put in, you get out. And this can be applied to really anything, especially in school and bigger career decisions down the road.
Not only did this practice help me through some of the most challenging parts of my life, but I also quickly recognized the people who were here doing this work with me, and the community that is built around the practice. This community, I promise you, doesn’t exist everywhere. As students, you are surrounded by SO many groups of people in your classes and social life, but your yoga friends are a little different. Don’t be surprised if your yoga friends move from strangers to teammates quicker in one hour than those people you’ve had group projects with the last two years. We are a team at The Hot Room, and you’ll feel that the second you walk into our doors. A team where anyone can walk in exactly who they are, no matter what.
At The Hot Room, you are not just showing up to work out. You are showing up to calm your body, mind, and soul. This yoga marries this trifecta in a way that cannot be explained, only experienced. Every college student needs this, right? Prior to finding this practice, my brain was an anxious mess, with no job lined up after graduation, the thought of leaving my friends after 4 years, etc. But after several months of consistent practice, I felt confident that I could take on anything life throws at me. I created this energy inside of myself that I didn’t know I could just create out of thin air. I felt strongly connected to spirit and started to respect the process of getting to where I was meant to go without forcing anything that wasn’t supposed to be. I let go of fear. I was learning discipline and watching my mental and physical strength overcome any sort of anxiety that I had about my future. And I’m still so thankful for that.
Just as we are forever students to life, there’s always more to learn in this yoga. Practicing this yoga in college was a humble reminder that even when this chapter of my life comes to an end, I will forever be a lifelong learner. And I will take this practice with me wherever I go.
If I had a time machine, I wish I would have found this earlier than my senior year. But on the positive side, and something I will never take for granted is that I found this practice so young, and it’s something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
We can’t wait for you to join our family. You are already home here, no matter how far away you are from your hometown. They call us #teamhotroom for nothing. See you on your mat!
About Katie Thierwechter
Katie is part of The Team Hot Room staff and supports front desk operations at our downtown Indianapolis studio. She is also a dedicated yogi and creative soul who loves to dream big and speak from the heart.