She and one of her childhood best friends spent four hours together catching up after reconnecting through social media.
But it was something that her friend spoke about with such animation that caught Sylvia’s attention, and that was hot yoga.
“I’ve made it a practice to try to honor other people’s passions,” Sylvia said.
Now her friend’s passion has become her own—December will mark the sixth year since Sylvia has incorporated hot yoga into her life.
“It’s changed my life on so many levels,” she said, crediting the practice with healing her physically and emotionally.
After three years of practice, Sylvia said she finally felt the rod in her back didn’t limit her. A continued commitment to hot yoga helped her heal through injuries and open her shoulders.
“The list goes on and on,” she said.
Sylvia introduced her youngest daughter to hot yoga, but two years passed before she got hooked on it, she said. Not until she texted her mom that she wanted to try it again did it become her decision, and that was key.
“Try hot yoga because you want to try it, not because someone else wants you to,” Sylvia advised. “As long as you do it for yourself, not someone else.”
That doesn’t stop Sylvia from trying to introduce the practice that she loves so much to others. She explained that she’ll give lessons in pranayama deep breathing—the breathing exercise at the beginning of every class—to anyone she brings.
“If I feel comfortable,” she said, “then the rest of the class is easy.”
Finding comfort—in and out of the studio—has been a challenge at times for Sylvia. She’s had issues with claustrophobia, but fortunately yoga is ideal for its relaxation techniques that alleviate that anxiety.
A loving, welcoming, accepting environment is exactly what Sylvia said she has found at Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington—both in and out of the hot room.
“I’ve laughed out loud, I’ve cried,” Sylvia said, describing the range of reactions she has had in class. “But I’m in a place where I’m free to express that. It’s a very loving environment. It’s welcoming and safe.”
But that doesn’t mean Sylvia isn’t afraid to step out of her comfort zone. She and a friend just recently celebrated their first season of their kayak rental business, Central Kentucky Kayaking.
The two decided they wanted to open a business together and had an opportunity to buy property with frontage, but they hadn’t planned on a kayak rental business from the outset.
“Everything just happened like it was supposed to for us to be able to do this,” Sylvia said.
Perhaps it’s a side effect of her hot yoga practice that’s pushed Sylvia into being open to new experiences. After all, that sums up her practice journey.
“I have a new experience in every class I have. I learn something about myself in every class,” she said. “I love the fact that the sequence is the same so you can measure yourself.”
Sylvia isn’t just learning something new about herself; she said she makes a conscientious effort to tune in to the dialogue, as well.
Even after six years of practice, she said she still hears something new. And she’s taken her attentiveness to detail in yoga postures outside of the hot room to be a better listener.
The positive physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes Sylvia has experienced from her hot yoga practice have not gone unnoticed by SHY Lexington owner Jodi.
“Sylvia is an amazing spirit and light in our studio. This yoga is so cool because it brings awareness,” she said. “It allows you to connect with your breath and body, and in the end, all of the things that aren’t serving you disappear.”
Though Sylvia must face the ups and downs of life as everyone does, a consistent hot yoga practice appears to give her the positive outlook to help manage them.
“Every time Sylvia practices, the joy in her life shines brighter,” Jodi said.
Sylvia had equally high praise for Jodi and the yoga community at SHY Lexington. “I’m grateful Jodi is around, and I’ve gotten to know her,” she said. “I love the community there. I love the support from friends at the studio.”
There isn’t one part of Sylvia’s life that her hot yoga practice hasn’t affected.
“I developed a new life philosophy since I started practicing,” she said. “It’s more evolved, more open, and it’s still evolving. It’s practice, not perfection.”
And the steamy conditions in the hot room have helped Sylvia manage the local climate, too.
“I love the heat,” she said. “I don’t know how I survived winter without yoga.”
Feeling the chill of winter weather? Join Sylvia at Sterling Hot Yoga Lexington and warm up with our $30 for 30 days of unlimited yoga introductory special, and begin your journey today!