Some like it hot

Our own Adena Andrews -- former swimmer and more recent couch potato -- is training for her first triathlon, to be held March 19 in South Carolina, and is blogging every proud, painful or demoralizing step along the way.

On my off days -- yes, I get off days -- you can find me in a downward dog position, sweating profusely as I search for my heart chakra (I know I left it around here somewhere). No, this isn't some weird ritual I do on my couch when I'm tired. It's my recovery activity, yoga. And because I can't do anything the regular or easy way, I don't do regular yoga. Instead, I find peace in a 110-degree room at my local yoga studio.

I prefer hot yoga to regular yoga because the heat in the room helps me increase my flexibility, and the sweating makes me feel like I'm putting in work. Also, hot yoga feels more challenging, and we all know I love a challenge.

I also appreciate the reprieve from the everyday bustle that yoga offers. Five times a week, I jump off a bike to run and I hit the pool for an hour of chatter with my teammates. I also spend countless hours sitting in front of a computer or my iPhone, keeping up with the sports world. There is no time to be alone with my thoughts, gather myself, and work on the inner strength of Adena. Yoga helps ease my mind and strengthen my inner being.

Yoga helps me with the aches and pains that come with triathlon training. I have a permanent callus on my butt from riding the bicycle, and after every run, I discover a new pain. Yoga stretches out my achy muscles and gets rid of all the lactic acid. I also suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, which always flares up when I increase my workout regimen. Since my varsity swim team years, working out and increased stress have caused my shoulder and neck muscles to stiffen, which in turn causes my jaw to tighten up and make a weird clicking sound. As a teenager, my jaw would lock shut at times. To avoid a TMJD flare-up, I know I must have a sound body and a sound mind. Yoga is how I achieve this.

According to WebMD, yoga is the right thing for a high-strung athlete like me. The benefits of yoga include a reduction in stress, increased concentration and an improved mood. Also, if I skip a workout assigned to me by my trainer (not that I ever would!), the heat and intensity of hot yoga helps with my aerobic fitness, or so says WebMD.

Last week while covering the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, my triathlon training volume was low, my stress level high and I was out of reach from my yoga studio. But I did go through a couple of postures when I woke up each morning. It's the best I could do.

Don't worry -- I'm not replacing all of my cardio workouts with yoga. I'm still training hard. When I'm done writing this post, I have to do an hour-long bike ride, followed by a 20-minute run. I have just four weeks to go until the big day! I'm tired, but I'm ripped. My thighs are rock solid and my back muscles are again starting to look like they were chiseled from granite. My inner-athlete is shining on the outside and I love it.

Now before I start my ride, if I could only remember where I put my motivation ...