Candice Cravins, a long-distance runner who had practiced vinyasa flow and hot vinyasa flow before she started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness in January of this year, wasn’t sure anything could have prepared her for the initial shock of entering the hot room.
“All I could think was ‘does it really need to be this hot in here!?’” she said. “I made it through, picked up my “I Survived” button and the front desk and thought “when can I take my next class?”
Though Candice had taken her first yoga class in college, she was “totally new” to the traditional 26+2 format when she took the Original Hot 60 at Sterling earlier this year.
“I loved the structure and order of the class, along with the extra challenge of the heat, made a mental note to invest in more sweat-wicking leggings and later returned to take advantage of the “30 Days for $30” offer,” she said.
As a newcomer to Mobile, Candice passed by the studio every day on her way to the University of South Alabama, and she kept thinking “I really need to try that place out!,” she said.
When she took a look at the class schedule online, Candice was surprised by the variety. “I loved that I could get my high-intensity interval, strength and core training, in addition to yoga, all in one place and in a group format,” she said. “It also helped that the studio is only about a mile away from my home.”
While building her career as a young professional in academia in California, Utah and Texas before landing in Mobile “by myself and not knowing a soul” in June of 2016, Candice said she was looking for a place to call home and connect with others who valued fitness and wellness.
“Although I had met a lot of wonderful people and had positive experiences at other fitness facilities during my time here, nowhere really felt like “home” to me,” she said. “With fitness and wellness being such an essential part of my life, it was crucial for me to find a place that felt like home where I could connect with other like-minded individuals.”
Candice credited the community at Sterling Hot Yoga & Wellness as the reason she keeps coming back to practice.
“I feel like Sterling does a great job of fostering a sense of community and belonging for their members, and everyone I’ve met at the studio has been so kind, down-to-earth and welcoming,” she said. “The accountability is great, too—you know your yoga friends expect to see you, so you show up to class!”
Thanks to her regular practice at Sterling, Candice said she’s become a stronger runner.
“Hot yoga and Pilates have been game-changers for my running: a stronger core, improved flexibility and breathing technique, and better muscle recovery are just a few of the benefits I have noticed after practicing yoga,” she said. “It has allowed me to more quickly acclimate to the heat. Outside of my running, I’ve noticed improved mental focus and mindfulness.”
Practicing yoga and Pilates also helps Candice manage her very busy schedule.
“As a long-distance runner and indoor cycling instructor, I am always moving, often at a very fast pace. Marathon training and teaching group fitness classes, along with my full-time job in academia, had me wanting to slow things down a bit,” she said. “I knew that yoga could be a great way for me to not only slow things down, find balance and better manage life’s daily stresses, but that it could also improve my running—I now say, “do yoga, run stronger!”
That consistency has paid off for Candice, even in ways that surprised her.
“Consistency really is key to anything in life—whether it be success in fitness, relationships or your career, to breaking bad habits and forming good ones. I had always had a passing interest in yoga, but never practiced consistently until recently,” she said. “I was really surprised at how much of a difference a consistent yoga practice made in such a relatively short period of time, especially in terms of being more mindful of my breathing patterns.
“It’s made a noticeable difference in how I work through my daily runs and has also made me more aware of subtle nuances in my daily life and how I respond to stressful situations.”
What can a consistent yoga practice give you? There’s only one way to find out! Sign up here for our new member special, $30 for 30 days of unlimited practice!
Candice said, “The hardest part is showing up! It’s okay to be nervous, it’s okay to be a little intimidated—acknowledge that trying something new is scary. It was everyone’s first yoga class at some point!
“Take it one step at a time, and celebrate all the tiny victories and improvements along the way.”