When Modo Yoga LA co-founder Emily Morwen first opened her hot studio in 2011, hot yoga had a bit of a bad reputation. “Think stinky rooms, forced air and sweaty carpets,” she says with a chuckle. “We wanted to change all that.”
And change they did. Modo LA now has three locations (Modo International has over 80!), all of which are sparkling clean, eco-friendly, amenity-heavy and offer a diverse schedule of classes and teachers. They’ve been a favorite of Manduka’s for a while, so in support of our new hot yoga collection coming out in May (including a top secret mat!), we sat down with Emily to pick her brain on all things hot yoga.
TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR FIRST HOT YOGA CLASS EVER?
My childhood best friend took me and I kept looking over at her like, “Holy sh*t, why are my eyeballs sweating?!” But then, lying savasana, everything softened and I felt a sense of peace I’d never felt before. I also got my butt kicked, which was a pretty cool feeling: a sweet mixture of butt-kickage and surrender. These days, my hot yoga practice is what helps me sleep and remember to take life one step at a time.
WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE TRYING HOT YOGA FOR THE FIRST TIME?
Take it at your own pace! Part of the first class will be about acclimatizing to the heat. It’s a relationship you develop with your nervous system. You can notice those overwhelming moments and when you do, just lie down and breathe. Wait until you feel ready again and then get back up. This way, your nervous system starts to understand it can trust you. Once you establish this trust, the heat truly becomes less intense.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EAT BEFORE/AFTER CLASS?
This is an individual thing. You should experiment with what, when and how much to eat before your hot yoga class. Personally, I’ll eat nuts or a snack within two hours of practicing. And LOADS of water all day. That is the most important thing. Oh, and electrolytes are super helpful to stay hydrated with all the sweating. I like Ultima Electrolytes.
HOW HAS HOT YOGA CHANGED YOUR MIND AND BODY?
To say that hot yoga has changed my body and mind is an understatement. Aside for chasing after my 1-year-old, hot yoga is my exercise, my meditation, my rest, my sleep aid, my fuel and my reminder to breathe. It has changed my life and continues to every day.
Say hi to Emily (and take a class while you’re at it) at these Modo locations.