Category Archives: News

Sterling Hot Yoga – One Fire – Hot Yoga Festival

News | Sep 05, 2015

Join us in celebrating the first-ever Hot Yoga festival. Incredible lineup + an amazing way to kick off your practice this fall:

One Fire Hot Yoga Festival

OCTOBER 1 – 4, 2015

One Fire. Hot Yoga Festival.

One Fire will be hosted at Pure Om in Bethesda, Maryland

7832 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda MD 20814 (minutes outside Washington, D.C.)

One Fire is a Yoga Festival who’s mission is to highlight the best of the hot yoga world, building bridges within the hot yoga community and between the hot yoga community and other yoga traditions in a festive environment.

It will be an amazing 4 days of fun, love, laughter, and of course, lots and lots of yoga!

Look for our Sterling Hot Yoga Booth.

Day passes and complete four day passes are available.

Questions @ 703 409 9446 | Email –

Special Lexington Yoga Class to Raise Money for Doula

News | Sep 04, 2015
katie karma yoga doula lexington

Show up for Katie at SHY Lexington’s special donation-based class to help provide her a much-needed doula during childbirth after her husband passed away earlier this year.

Of all the moments in life where you wouldn’t want to be alone, giving birth is probably one of the biggest ones. But that’s exactly where Katie Powell finds herself.

Her husband, Zac, passed away unexpectedly on July 4, leaving her to deliver their first child—a son due on Oct. 27—without him.

Though her family and his family are somewhat close by, none are really local.

Prior to losing her husband, Katie, like most expectant mothers, was apprehensive of all the changes having a baby would bring.

“Now I’m scared to death,” she said. “I was scared before, but not anything like I am now. Every little aspect, even small things scare me.”

With the help of Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington and The Birth Haven, Katie won’t have to start her journey into motherhood without the support she needs.

The Birth Haven, based in Lexington and serving surrounding counties, provides doulas—or birthing companions—to help pregnant women and their partners make the birthing experience a special one.

“The role of a doula is to provide emotional, physical and informational support to the family unit,” said Julie Six, the owner of The Birth Haven. “We are there to support women in every single choice they make through pregnancy, birth and postpartum so they feel confident starting their journey as a mother.”

With Katie having lost her husband, a doula would provide an especially vital role.

“In Katie’s situation, a doula would bring a solid support structure that would be completely unbiased and loving. Her doula would have an extensive knowledge base of how to best serve her by understanding her specific situation and ensuring she felt heard and understood every step of the way,” Julie said. “Her doula would provide continuous support and never leave her side. Her doula would be there to massage her sore muscles, cheer her on, laugh with her and cry with her.”

Just last year, Jodi C, owner of SHY Lexington, selected Julie with The Birth Haven to support her and her husband during the birthing of her daughter.

“Having a doula is like having your best friend there to support you,“ she said. “I can’t imagine going through the birthing process alone.”

When Jodi found out that The Birth Haven knows women who needs a doula’s support but can’t afford it, she knew she wanted to help.

On Friday, Sept. 4, 5:30pm SHY Lexington is offering a donation-based, all-levels vinyasa class to make a difference for Katie at a time when she needs it the most. Donations will be accepted at the studio until October 1. Register online to reserve a space Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington.

“Our community is providing a service for a woman about to go through an amazing experience with amazing support,” Jodi said.

For Katie, that might be an understatement. “It’s one of the nicest things you can do for someone,” she said of SHY Lexington’s efforts to help provide her a doula. “I’m speechless and really grateful.”

Katie’s midwife had recommended a doula, and while she and Zac had discussed finding one when she first got pregnant, they decided they couldn’t do it for financial reasons.

Now, she and her mother-in-law see this as the universe’s way of Zac providing a doula for her. “I feel like feel like having a doula present is Zac’s way of being where he physically cannot,” Katie said. “It means the world to me.”

Samantha Finds Self-Acceptance On and Off the Mat

News | Jun 12, 2015

samantha physical acceptance determination sterling hot yoga benefitsMany students try Sterling Hot Yoga for the physical changes they hope to see—a trimmer waistline, toned arms and legs, and improved balance, strength and flexibility.

But an even more profound change, in many ways, that comes with a hot yoga practice comes from within.

Samantha Wells knows that firsthand. She started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile just a few weeks before the 30-Day Spring Challenge began, having never tried hot yoga before.

“I avoided it like the plague,” she said of the heat.

Putting those former notions of hot yoga aside, she quickly committed to completing a 20-class goal to keep her newfound practice consistent and relied on her teammates to help hold her accountable.

What Samantha found on—and off—the mat was not what she expected.

Through sweat, patience and determination, she found a physical acceptance she didn’t realize she needed.

“The things I struggled with, I didn’t realize it,” she said. “But apparently I am. I didn’t realize it was an issue until it got better.”

About halfway through the challenge, Samantha posted this incredibly emotional account of her personal breakthrough on Facebook:

“This is me. This body is mine. It may not be what society tells us is ‘beautiful,’ but I am learning to love it,” she wrote. “What most people can’t see when looking at this picture is this body feels so much better than it did two months ago, it looks better than it did two months ago and it’s mine. And I’m proud of that.

“As I type this, tears are in my eyes. I’m afraid not everyone will see this body the way I have come to, but with everything I have I’m posting this so that other people can start to see their bodies as beautiful, too.”

Samantha’s new perspective on hot yoga was reinforced when she recently revisited her vision board to reflect on past goals and set new ones. She was struck by the irony of one of her posts that incorporated a popular hot yoga saying about the practice’s physical effects.

“I started hot yoga so I could ‘sweat like a pig and look like a fox,’” she said. “Two months in and I’m seeing that there’s so much more to it!”

Gradually, she said her negative self-talk was replaced with a positive, encouraging voice “telling me that I am strong, that I do have a lot to show for my hard work, that the results I’m looking for will come—with time.”

That self-acceptance gave way to a more determined Samantha during a recent kayaking experience. Despite typically avoiding such activities because of her weight, she decided to give it a try.

“The more I fell out, the more determined I was to do it,” she said. “This is a new concept for me. I usually give up, but that day I did not!”

Perhaps that resolve to overcome challenges outside of the hot room was strengthened by her resolve in it. Not only did Samantha meet her 20-day goal commitment, but she exceeded it by four classes!

During that time, there were physical changes, too, she said, that included increased flexibility, regulated blood sugar, improved muscle tone and a feeling of balance.

But most importantly hot yoga made her believe and accept that she is beautiful from the inside out, and she is eager for others to experience their own internal and external transformations.

“Join me if you’d like,” she said. “I’ll come with you to your first class, and we can be beautiful together!”

Come practice with Samantha and get started on your own yoga journey with our 30-day introductory special!

Jana Gets Over the Hump in Camel After a Year

News | Jun 05, 2015
jana rocker camel milestone hot yoga inspiration

Jana Rocker reaches her ankle in Camel after one year of practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Works Mobile.

Most new students who practice at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile are intimidated by the level of heat in the hot room.

Jana Rocker was, too, when she signed up for her first class a little more than a year ago.

“I am terrible with heat,” she said. “But the yoga helped me a lot. I can actually go outside in the heat and it does not bother me.”

Taking that first step to try hot yoga wasn’t an easy one. Cancer took its toll on Jana’s life at a young age.

She lost her arm as a result and watched helplessly as friends suffered and died from the disease.

That experience fueled her calling to pursue cancer research, but she dropped out of graduate school in 1995 when a professor told her she couldn’t do science with one arm.

For 10 years, Jana battled PTSD, depression and anxiety until she realized she was “just settling for the status quo and not growing at all as a person or working in my passion.”

“PTSD was still a problem working in a cancer center for a few years,” she said. “I still have my moments, but one thing I swear by is yoga. The ability to control my anxious responses to the hot room has carried off the mat into my life in amazing ways!”

She ranks her decision to try hot yoga as “one of the life-changing scary moments of life.” Though the yoga studio website assures that hot yoga is for everyone, she still wasn’t sure how it would be for her having one arm.

Jana does her best in each and every class and she follows modifications on various postures to get the benefits from them.

With master’s and Ph.D. in hand, Jana now works for the University of South Alabama’s Mitchell Cancer Institute “to help others not have to go through what I went through,” she said.

Between her demanding schedule of research and publishing, plus a move, Jana came up just a little short of her 15-class goal during the 30-Day Challenge. But she saw its merit as a learning opportunity.

“One thing I have learned from fitness challenges is I have a hard time completing them,” she said. “Life manages to derail my plans, but I just have to go with it.”

Jana did manage to reach a pretty exciting milestone nonetheless. She was able to reach back and grab her heel in Camel.

“When I first started a year ago, I couldn’t even lean back at all,” she said. “I had zero core and back strength. With one arm, it’s all core and back for me!”

Hot yoga’s impact on Jana’s life doesn’t end there. In the year she’s been doing yoga, she’s lost 30 pounds, experienced fewer gout attacks and gained mobility in her fused ankle.

“My right ankle is fused,” she said. “I could move it up and down, but I couldn’t rotate it. I kept trying in reverse Savasana, and now I can actually rotate the ankle.”

Jana is such an inspiration to everyone who practices at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile. She is proof that Sterling Hot Yoga works!

If you’d like to see what benefits your hot yoga journey holds for you, get started today with our 30-day introductory special!

Tada-sana! Tree Pose Breakdown

News | Apr 01, 2015

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaTree pose and toe stand are the last two poses in the standing series of our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes. They seem fairly straightforward, but there are some aspects of the tree pose that bear clarification.

The tree pose that we do in our Gold 90 and Sterling 60 classes has the following purpose: To open up the hips, knees and ankles in preparation for toe stand, and eventually, the lotus position.

Compare the woman on the left doing lotus to the woman on the right doing tree pose in the photo below.

Notice how in both poses the feet are near the hip creases, knees are extended away from the center line of the body and feet are turned outward.

Putting your body into lotus can be challenging on the hips, knees and ankles, and like many poses, some people come to it relatively easily while others struggle for a long time to get there. Tree pose is a great way to help prepare the body for lotus.

Tree comes at a point in the series where your body is relatively warmed up. Your knees and hips and ankles have had the opportunity to open, and although your heart may be pounding, you are encouraged to slow down, focus and balance. Not such an easy thing to do!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot YogaHere are the steps to execute the pose:

1. Ground yourself in alignment.

2. Pick up your right foot with your left hand and if you need to, hold your right knee with your right hand. Be careful of your knee and your ankle. At any step, if you feel discomfort, proceed with care. If you feel pain, back off.

The goal is to put your foot in your hip crease, but your body proportions may require you to place your foot in a different place!

Look at the images below: The first woman’s foot is on her leg and it may never be on her hip because her shin bone is relatively short and her hips aren’t yet open.

The second woman’s foot is super high on her costume, because her shinbone is really long! Both are doing the posture correctly for their body type and for the condition of their hips, knees and ankles. Tightness in any of these joints may keep you holding on to your foot, and that is perfectly okay!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

3. Slowly, gently allow your knee to come down toward the floor. Now remember the lotus pose — the knee is positioned away from the center line of the body approximately 45 degrees — so in tree, it is absolutely appropriate to have your lifted leg positioned away from the body.

The ball and socket of your hip joint may never allow you to position your leg so that it’s parallel to the standing leg and by forcing it, you could injure your hip!

Look at this group shot of people doing tree pose — everyone is trying the right way; no one’s legs are parallel. Not even close!

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

4. Eventually, when the hip joint and the hip flexors open up enough, you will have two legs in one line FROM THE SIDE like the photo on the left.

Lotus Pose Tree Pose How To Hot Yoga

5. The last part of the pose is to find alignment on all planes. Stretch your spine up, and stretch your tailbone down to prevent your rear end from sticking out. Look in the mirror and work to get your shoulders level and hips level.

Avoid sinking into the standing hip. The yogi on the right is out of alignment — see how her shoulders are not level and her hips are not yet level? This is common especially when you have to hold your foot. But she’s working toward it and will be there soon!

If you are challenged by tree pose, that’s okay! Start slow, hold on to your knee if you need to, work slowly, take your time, focus on your breath and alignment as best you can. And know that you’ll be on the floor resting very, very soon!

Core Strength, Iron Hour and Standing Head to Knee

News | Mar 01, 2015
Core Strength Iron Hour Sterling Hot Yoga

Iron Hour helps build core strength, which helps improve your postures in the Sterling 60 and Gold 90 hot yoga classes!

In many of the standing poses in our yoga series, we talk about the locked knee.

The locked knee, in good alignment with the ankle and the hip, is absolutely important, and it takes a great deal of strength to maintain it for more than a few moments.

In Standing Head to Knee, locking both knees is especially challenging.

In this wonderful photo example, Jason Winn is executing the full expression of the pose where his arms are extended, no longer holding on to the foot.

Yes, absolutely, Jason has a tremendous amount of strength in his legs, but it’s core strength that’s holding it all together!

Strong abs, strong legs and strong arms (and a lot of determination) are what allows Jason to pull off this beautifully executed pose.

It’s strength that supports flexibility and flexibility that supports strength. And now, Sterling Hot Yoga Works can help you to attain both.

Adding Iron Hour to your practice is a great way to improve your Standing Head to Knee and many other poses! But remember, taking the Sterling 60 and the Gold 90 also helps you to maintain good overall health! It all works together!

Iron Hour Yoga: Learning the Proper Weight Hand Grips

News | Feb 01, 2015


During Iron Hour Yoga, holding your weights in the proper manner will help you to get the most out of your exertion and ensure a safe and effective practice.

There are three positions in which to hold your weights: pronate, supinate and hammer grip. A pronated grip is when the back of your hands are facing the ceiling and your hands are wrapped around the weights with palms facing down.

In the standing series, during the lat pulls in Warrior II, you start the posture with a pronated grip. On the floor series with weights, the dumbbell chest presses require a pronated grip.

The second way to hold your weights is the supinated grip. A great way to remember supinate is to think of “soup.” Remember the movie, “Oliver” when little Oliver Twist with upturned hands asked for more soup? “Please sir, I want some more!”

Just like Oliver, whenever you supinate your grip, make sure your palms are turned upwards! The first biceps curls we do in the standing series is done with a supinated grip.

The third hold is the hammer grip. This is an easy one—imagine you are holding a hammer! Instead of holding the weights so that they are parallel to the floor
(pronate or supinate) in the hammer grip, the weights are perpendicular to the floor!

The second biceps curls in the standing series is done with a hammer grip. This will work a different part of the biceps muscles than the supinated grip.

For each of the three grips, make sure the back of your hand is in the same plane as the back of your forearm. Don’t bend your wrist too far forward or too far backward—imagine you have a ruler taped to the back of your arm and hand so that you can be sure to keep the carpel tunnel open as much as possible!

During Iron Hour, make sure you get the proper grip!

Is Your Smartphone a Pain in the Neck?

News | Dec 01, 2014
How Hot Yoga Can Prevent Text Neck

Pressure caused by the angle of the neck and the weight of the head from looking down at mobile devices for long periods of time can lead to “text neck.”

A few days ago, I sat in the back seat of the car for a trip to New Orleans, and for the length of the two-hour drive, I was on my phone texting and responding to emails.

By the time we reached the Big Easy, my neck was sore and felt overstretched. Turns out that “text neck” is a growing health condition caused by having your head hung forward and down to look at your mobile device.

Text neck causes an increase in pressure on the musculature over the head and shoulders because of the downward angle and weight of the head while texting.

The more the head shifts forward, the greater the pressure around the neck area, which can cause changes in the cervical spine, the curve of the neck, and the structures that support the neck.

These changes can lead to symptoms including: tightness across the shoulders; headache; neck soreness; pain the back, arms, fingers and hands; and tingling in the upper extremities. Left untreated, text neck can lead to permanent damage of the cervical spine!

But the good news? According to Health Xchange and our wonderful chiropractor Jessica Jones, one of the best remedies for text neck is to engage in posture-focused exercises like yoga!

In Sterling Yoga, here are some specific things you do that will help your neck health:

  • Neutral Position: Starting class with your whole body in alignment is wonderful practice for keeping your head balanced on your shoulders. Stretching your spine and head up to the ceiling while stretching your tailbone toward the floor will help to align your entire spine. Bring your ears over your shoulders.
  • Pranayama Deep Breathing: Keep your hands on your chin and create a little bit of pressure throughout both the inhale and the exhale. The resistance you create with this pressure will help to build strength in the sternocleomastoid, the trapezius and other muscles of the neck. Stronger neck muscles will help to hold up your head.
  • Back Bending: When you bend backward (lots of standing and floor poses have back bending), you counteract the forward movement common to text neck. Make sure, though, that you extend your spine, including the neck, to give your vertebrae room before bending backward. Also, make sure you move to your full range of motiondon’t push itjust go where you can and over time you will be able to go further.
  • Forward Bending: Although it might seem that forward bends would exacerbate text neck, it can actually help! By mindfully compressing the front of the neck for short periods of time, you can increase the blood flow to that area. And increased blood flow means improved overall systems!
  • Active and Passive Twisting: The passive lateral twist that you do when you turn your head to the right and left in face-down Savasana will help to increase the range of motion in your neck, and help to decrease the negative effects of text neck; in active twisting in poses, like triangle and spine twist, it will help even more! Take it easy, and go where you can. Don’t push it. Always move with precision and purpose.

So if you text a lot or look at your phone for long periods of time, and especially if you notice neck pain from mobile device use, take lots of breaks and make sure you practice your yoga and focus on the poses above. Happy texting!

Yoga Anatomy: Agonist & Antagonist Muscle Groups

News | Nov 01, 2014
Agonist Antagonist Muscles How They Work

When you bring the hand toward the shoulder, the biceps is the agonist muscle and the triceps is the antagonist muscle.

In the last newsletter, we discussed the elements of alignment. I hope that you have had the opportunity to focus on your alignment both in and out of the hot room. Alignment is such an important part of you practice and of your life!

This time, we’ll talk about agonist and antagonist muscle groups. For almost every major movement in the body, there is an agonist and antagonist muscle involved.

The agonist muscle is the primary mover involved. Usually this means a contraction or shortening of the agonist muscle in order to create movement.

The antagonist muscle has several functions. It can relax (lengthen) in order to allow the agonist muscle to function to its fullest. It can also slow down the movement of the agonist muscle to prevent tearing or overuse.

An example is the biceps and triceps muscle group. When you do a biceps curl (see image above), the agonist muscle is the biceps, and the antagonist muscle is the triceps.

Now this is where it can get tricky. When you create the opposite movementwhen you bring your hand AWAY from your shoulder (see image below)the agonist muscle is the triceps and the antagonist muscle is the biceps.

Agonist Antagonist Muscle Groups Illustration

When you bring the hand away from the shoulder, the agonist is the triceps and the antagonist is the biceps.

This is because in order to create the movement of bringing the hand away, the triceps has to contract or shorten and the biceps has to lengthen or relax.

Why is this important in yoga? Because if you understand the relationships between muscle groups, you can work smarter to get the most out of your practice!

When you contract (or shorten) your quads (agonist), you will help your hamstrings (antagonist) lengthen more effectively and more safely.

When you suck your stomach in, thus contracting your abs during a forward bend (agonist), you will help to more efficiently stretch the muscles in your back (antagonist).

Think about all the muscle pairs that work together in the movement of the body. Different movements will engage different muscle groups in the wrist, arm, shoulder, spine, hips, knees and ankles. Think about what muscles you contract in order to get other muscles to relax.

Here’s another element to consider: as mentioned above, another job of the antagonist muscle is to slow down the movement to ensure a safe bend. In our muscles, there are these things called “stretch receptors.” They are there to prevent you from overstretching and tearing muscle.

When you first start to stretch, you might find resistance in the muscle. But if you hold the stretch, in a few moments, you might find some relaxation and give in the muscle, thus allowing you to stretch deeper. That’s the stretch receptor saying to the muscle, “Okay, I can see this is a safe stretch, you’re not going to tear anythinggo ahead.”

This is why, for example, in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, it’s so important to both contract the quads (agonist) to release the hamstrings (antagonist) and also hold the pose for probably longer than you’d like to get the best stretch possible. Bouncing is not so good; a long, slow, firm and constant pull will get best results.

So in November, think about your agonist and antagonist muscles!

Keeping Your Two Hips in One Line

News | Oct 01, 2014

Planes of the Body Hip Alignment Bikram YogaWhen we teach this wonderful healing yoga, you will often hear us tell you to put “two hips in one line.” You may wonder what that means.

Two hips in one line translates to alignment on a variety of planes. For example, in Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, we encourage you to turn your hips, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 times to get two hips in one line.

That one line is the saggital plane, assuming, of course, your hips are already on the transverse and coronal planes.

Hold on, let me back up a bit. There are three planes that we refer to (but never mention directly) when we teach yoga—the saggital, coronal and transverse planes.

Alignment on these planes, to the best of your ability, is what will help you to stretch muscles and develop strength equally and appropriately.

The coronal plane is your body’s ability to maintain alignment from right to left. So as you bend to the right in half moon pose, you are working to stay in the coronal plane.

Another way to look at it is to think of your body between two plates of glass—as you come into half moon, no part of your body is pushing against the glass plates, you are gliding smoothly between them. That’s staying in the coronal plane.

Coronal Plane Body Hip Alignment Bikram Yoga

Taka, on the left, is in the coronal plane; Laura, on the right, is not.

Two hips in one line, in this example, mean that your hips should be square to the mirror to stay on the coronal plane. Look at the photo of Taka and Laura—see how Laura’s hips are twisted out of alignment?

From the side you can see how her two hips are not in one line. You cannot see Taka’s right hip at all; she is in coronal alignment.

The saggital plane is your body’s ability to maintain alignment from the center line of your body. In your mind, take those two plates of glass and shift them to your right and left side.

In tree pose, for example, when you pick up your right foot, make sure that you don’t shift your hips to the left, thus leaning into one plate of glass.

Shifting weight is easy to do, and it helps you to counterbalance, but it brings your body out of the saggital plane.

Just like in the half moon example above, the goal is to avoid pushing or leaning into the glass. Keep two hips in one line by continually stretching upward, engaging your core abdominal muscles and contracting the quads.

Saggital Plane Body Hip Alignment Bikram Yoga

Left photo shows hips correctly in the saggital plane; right side demonstrates hips out of alignment.

In the example on the right, you can see how my hips are not in one line. In fact my whole body is tilted to the left side—see how my left leg crosses into the white line?

The goal is to create alignment closer to the image on the left so there is a mirror image on either side of the center line of the body.

The transverse plane is your body’s ability to stay level. The plate of glass just moved to the floor.

In spine twist, for example, it’s important to keep your both hips on the floor to maintain integrity in the transverse plane.

When one hip comes off the floor, your transverse plane is compromised and that compromise extends up through the entire spinal column!

When we refer to the transverse plane, we are usually using the term “level” to keep you in alignment.

Transverse Plane Body Hip Alignment Bikram Yoga Hot Yoga

Taka’s hips (left) are in the transverse plane; Laura’s (right) are not.

In the photo example here, Laura on the right has her right hip off the transverse plane—and look how it affects her whole alignment structure.

She’s also out of alignment from the saggital plane—see how her spine is crooked? Because Taka’s hips are both on the floor, the rest of her body is better aligned.

Who would have thought that two hips in one line could have such important meaning?

As you practice for the next few weeks, focus on your alignment in the coronal, saggital and transverse planes.

Work to get your hips square and level during the setup, the full expression of the pose and the dismount. And two hips in one line will bring a whole new awareness to your practice!

Questions about two hips in one line? Questions about alignment? Come to the Yoga Lab on Saturdays! Alignment is only one thing we’ll discuss! We’ll see you there!