When I first started adding hot yoga to my weekly fitness routine I was a bit nervous. The beginners class went for 60 minutes of uninterrupted poses and breathing exercises. Luckily my flexibility and fitness was at quite a high level.
After a couple of weeks my body was telling me, give the advanced level a go! Ninety minutes of full-on hot yoga in an infrared heated room is a great experience.
My energy and sense of well-being increased over time as I went to more sessions, it felt amazing!
We can all benefit from hot yoga, it’s a great way to stay healthy and be in good shape. Or get rid of stress and maybe some anxiety. Some people have aches and pains that they want to improve with exercise, but traditional exercising is not working for them. Then perhaps it’s time to try hot yoga?
Imagine having health issues that can be improved by doing natural movements and deep breathing. No costly equipment to buy, that takes up a lot of space. No medications to take, that masks the problem by creating new ones. No more painful injections that may or may not work. The treatment that I am speaking of is hot yoga!
Yoga builds muscle strength as well as improving conditions like Arthritis, back pain, and can help lose weight. It has been known to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and provide a wide range of health benefits. All of these benefits in turn help to protect the body.
Hot yoga is traditionally defined as a style of yoga performed under hot and humid conditions. This is done to replicate the heat and humidity of India, where it originated. This helps increase a posture’s efficiency to be more rehabilitative, and fitness oriented. It is a great way to stretch, tone, and heal.
A Couple Of Yoga Styles
Hot yoga has a few varieties, you’ve probably heard of Bikram yoga as the most popular.
Bikram yoga classes consist of the same postures, 26 of them and two easy breathing exercises in the same order, so no matter where in the world a class is taken, it will always be the same routine. As I mentioned above the class I joined strictly went for 60 minutes for beginners and 90 minutes for the more experienced, with up to 105 degree temperatures with 40% humidity.
With each session, people have been found to burn up to 1000 calories. Imagine losing all that weight from a low-impact workout! As we advance, we gain tremendous focus that carries over to daily life.
Another type of hot yoga is called Vinyasa yoga. This is also known as coordinated movement with breath combined. It allows the movements to flow from one pose to the next position.
Other hot yoga styles are also available and can be completely different. It is important to know the instructor and their expectations for the class, especially if you’re a beginner. For example, is it ok to take unscheduled water breaks or leave the room if feeling sick? Regardless of which class is taken, it is necessary to know these types of things before beginning this experience.
What Is The Deal With Infrared Heat?
Many hot yoga studios use forced air heat, while some have adopted far infrared technology. Infrared heat comes from light rays and works from the inside of our body, rather than just the environment. Our core body temperature will increase, boosting our metabolism and ability to release toxins. Detoxing our body using infrared heat while doing hot yoga poses can benefit our general well-being.
It is also dry, making it more comfortable for those who struggle with humidity. Infrared heating is also considered a green technology, therefore making things more efficient for our planet, which goes along with the philosophy of yoga.
Many people who enjoy the benefits of detoxing their system, also have used or purchased a home sauna for their personal use. There are also portable saunas that use infrared technology for more convenience if space is tight.
What Can Hot Yoga Do for Us?
Let’s take a look at the many benefits of hot yoga:
The extreme heat will eventually enable us to become more flexible. You will find yourself being able to do more of the poses easily, and it will build on itself with each session.
The hot yoga poses that will be exercised throughout the classes will help us gain both muscular and mental strength.
The added heat will cause us to breath more deeply, carrying more oxygen to where it needs to be. This will increase the benefits, leading to an overall feeling of well-being.
Hot yoga can assist with blood circulation, which causes elevated energy levels. As our core body temperature increases, pain relief, improved blood circulation, and healing occur. Stimulating blood flow will improve muscle recovery and decrease inflammation.
The focus on breathing, meditation, and postures, combine to create a deeper kinship of yourself and the divine. This is done to free one’s self from limitations and live a fuller, richer life. It purifies the body of toxins and improves flexibility, all to enhance the immune system.
It’s Not Just about the Body
Brand new imaging technology is now proving what practitioners have said for years. Yoga can increases mental stability and clarity both during and after practice. Science has now shown the effects on the frontal lobe of the brain. This part of the brain is responsible for concentration, happiness, creativity, and rational thinking.
Who Should Not Practice Hot Yoga?
Pregnant women can do regular yoga only. People with hypertension or heart disease are strongly cautioned about doing many activities involving heat, and should get permission from their doctor. Elderly people, and anyone feeling light headed, nauseous, or confused, should lie down or leave the room. Dehydration is usually the culprit.
Where do you go to do hot yoga? Information on local yoga studios are available on the internet. Just about all yoga studios now offer hot yoga.
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of hot yoga. Remember when famed fitness guru, Richard Simmons had people “sweatin to the oldies”? Who would have thought we would now be sweating to hot yoga!
Images – Denis Raev/Sergey Pykhonin © 123RF