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Yogis practice various poses and move through sequences during one of Orange County Yoga Studio’s classes at its Laguna Niguel location. Photo: Meera Michelle Photography

By Rachael Mattice

The changing of the seasons and shorter days of winter often draw people inward, hiding from outside activities, problems, emotions and regular behaviors. People choose to stay in and watch movies rather than meet friends, or choose to indulge in comfort food rather than embrace the colder temperatures as an opportunity to head to the gym.

Adding warmth back into routines during the dark months can make a dramatic impact on mood and energy. Exercise that cultivate heat such as yoga, cycling and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are a few examples that can invigorate oneself out of hibernation and back to wholeness, whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally.

Hot Yoga

Where to try it: Orange County Yoga Studio, Bikram Yoga San Clemente


The well-known Bikram Choudhury-founded yoga practice traditionally follows a sequence of 26 poses and breath work in a heated room. A mixture of strengthening and stretching specific muscles, ligaments and joints, the deep cleansing, total body exercise leaves the practitioner soaked in sweat by the end of the class.

The extensive heat in traditional Bikram or hot yoga classes—which can be tried out at Bikram Yoga San Clemente—may not be suitable for everyone, which is why some yoga businesses such as Orange County Yoga Studio focus on different disciplines that cultivate heat from within.

“Our flow and ashtanga classes—both focus on linking breath and movement—are energizing,” said John Manacmul, co-owner and instructor at Orange County Yoga Studio and former instructor at San Clemente’s Asana Fit studio. “Many yoga postures are effort-driven and physically demanding, including standing poses, inversions and backbends. Our teachers carefully sequence to warm up their students’ and prepare their bodies for more advanced postures. Even in our align class offerings—which emphasize the precision of asana alignment and use of props—students will find themselves building a lot of internal heat by working and refining specific actions associated with a variety of poses.”


Where to try it: CB CycleBarn, CTL Cycling Studio


Cycling classes offer the ultimate cardio therapy, yielding massive heat-produced sweat puddles. Fast-paced and typically accompanied by music dripping in heavy bass, an hour-long cycling class can burn hundreds of calories, leaving the exerciser steaming and in need of an extra pair of clothes just to drive home.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Where to try it: PedalBox Gym, Total Training


 For those who find themselves restless from a routine-based program, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the metaphorical box of chocolates—a variety of strength, cardio and circuit training that changes themes every day. This high calorie-burning technique alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity that are guaranteed to leave muscles on fire.

Read more of our winter 2017-2018 “Go.See.Do.” special section here:

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