About a month ago at the Networking and Breakfast event organised by Women Who Do I met Benedita, who recently moved to Southampton and gave up her career in hotel management to start In Balance Hot Yoga.
Since I discovered and fell in love with Yoga, I can’t stop talking about it so I was instantly drawn to Bene and we started chatting.
A couple of weeks ago I met Bene and her partner Ian for a coffee to learn more about them and what they do and I absolutely loved them.
Bene is originally from Portugal and she worked in London for years. She fell in love with yoga after going to a hot yoga class and she loved it so much she trained, as well as her partner Ian, under Dylan Ayaloo, the Founder of Hot Power Yoga in London, who I really want to meet after everything Bene and Ian told me about him. Yoga and her teacher training guided Bene through self-discovery and reaching a higher level of self-awareness, exactly what she needed at that point in her life. It seems that’s how most people fall in love with yoga, it comes in their life when they need it the most.
She started teaching yoga part-time alongside her full-time job and she realised that’s what she wanted to do for a living. After she moved to Southampton to work as a general manager at a local hotel, she decided it was time to chase her dream. She quit her job and herself and Ian started In Balance Hot Yoga. They run classes every day and regular workshops at the top floor of one of my favourite places in Southampton, Harbour Lights, overlooking the marina.
My bestie, Sheba went to a session a while ago and she messaged me afterwards saying ‘Just finished the hot yoga class, it was incredible!’, so after meeting Bene and Ian, who asked me to try it and blog about it in exchange for free classes, of course I said yes. I really wanted to try it anyway and I would have blogged about it even if they hadn’t offer me free classes.
I only blog about things I’m passionate about and I really want to and yoga is now part of my life and one of the very few things I do daily.
So last Saturday Sheba and I booked ourselves at the 11am beginners class. We decided to walk there as the route to Harbour Lights is beautiful, through the city centre parks, Oxford street and Ocean Village. I forgot how beautiful, charming and peaceful this part of the town is.
As soon I walked in the room, I felt the heat in every part of my body and memories flooded in. It reminded me of home on a hot summer day, during a power cut, sitting in the living room sweating, waiting for the power to come back on so we can turn the air-con on but in the meantime using whatever we can as a fan.
I just loved the heat. I’ve been living in the UK for 9 years now and I still miss the sun and the heat.
It also smelled amazing thanks to the burning incense sticks, which makes a huge difference, if like me, scents make you fall in love with a place and enhance your experiences.
The actual class was amazing. Bene is a hands-on instructor, helping you correct the poses if you don’t get them right and her voice is calming and smooth. For me the yoga instructor is the most important, essential element of a yoga practice, they are the ones guiding the session and to enjoy and fully embrace yoga, you need to find a teacher who inspires you and Bene is a truly inspirational human.
We started and ended the session with three oms which I found deeply spiritual and beautiful and we went through most of the main yoga poses through a vinyasa flow, fast-paced and empowering.
I smiled when Bene mentioned how our balance on the mat reflects what’s going in our lives. It is 100% absolutely true. When my balance is off is because my mind is troubled and I worry or I’m sad about things. Give it a go. Stand on one foot and check your balance and take a minute to look inwards and acknowledge your feelings in that moment.
The last pose before Shavasana was the fish pose which is becoming one of my favourite. It reminded me of when I was a child lying on the sofa upside down, feet up, my head touching the floor, feeling the blood flow through my head. I still sometimes do it…
Throughout the class random memories kept coming up, the heat reminded me of home so much my mind immediately went there, hot summer days, at home, at the beach, with family, with my friends. I felt relaxed, calm, happy, during and after the session.
I’m definitely going back again. Who knows what will happen next time?
One the reasons I love yoga, other than the physical benefits is how it helps me discover myself in ways I’d never imagine, and I learn something new every time. I’m still on the early days of my self-exploration journey and so far it’s been amazing.
After our yoga class, we passed by No4 cafe and wine bar on Canute Road. Shebz always wanted to try it so we decided to be spontaneous and treat ourselves to brunch. Delicious!
We then wandered into town, popping into one of my favourite shops, Rice-up, a local wholefood independent grocery shop in the city centre. I love their choice of tea, herbs, spices and nuts, my favourite isles to browse!
What a beautiful day it was. Thank you Bene for making it incredible. I can’t wait for my next session! If you decide to give it a go, come and say hi, I’d love to meet you 🙂
I’m always fascinated by how others get into yoga, you can read my story here, share yours in the comments below if you want to!