Howdy! We hear everyone talking about why hot yoga is good for us—but do we really know why? And because it’s been so cold in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area, today’s post is all about my favorite and yours: Hot yoga!
If you’ve never tried yoga in a heated/hot environment, the first thing you should know is not to be scared or intimidated by it. It’s a wonderful way to practice yoga and extremely good for you. Of course, if you have any health issues or sensitivities to heat, always consult your doctor first with questions/concerns. Just like any yoga class or yoga pose, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t push it. Also don’t forget: child’s pose is always an option!
If you are like me—a hot yoga junkie—you might know that you love hot classes, but you should know why your body loves you for taking them!
Before I go into the benefits of hot yoga, I would also like to point out that heated and hot classes are different than Bikram Yoga. I often get the question at extendYoga: “Oh, so your hot classes are Bikram?”
Me: “No, we don’t offer Bikram here.”
Student: “But isn’t that hot yoga?”
There are actually many styles of yoga that are often practiced in the heat: Vinyasa, Power Yoga, even classes that incorporate weight training and yoga—in the heat! Heated/hot classs can range anywhere from 85 to 105 degrees. The heat can be dry heat or humid. It just depends where you are taking class.
This guy is not who/what I am referring to when I talk about hot yoga.
Yes, Bikram Yoga is hot, actually very hot (105 degrees), but Bikram classes are a series of the same 26 yoga poses over the span of 90 minutes. That means every class is exactly the same, every time. Get it?
Enough about Bikram and all his shenanigans … bring on the heat!
The TOO HOT TO HANDLE benefits you need to know about:
- Detox and Sweat: Moving your body in a heated room flushes away the toxins of all the glands and organs of your body. It brings nourishment to every cell of your body so that each one can perform it’s function and keep your body healthy. When you sweat, impurities are flushed out of the body through the skin. Not to mention it always feels good to get your sweat on!
- Focus and Mind: Ever notice how before class, you might be frantic and frazzled (at least I usually am)? After class, I feel clear headed, focused, and happy! When you’re focused in class, going from one pose to the next, sweating your butt off, you become more aware, focused and determined off the mat.
- Strength: Your heart can work the same way practicing yoga in a heated room as it does when running a mile. Particularly in poses where you are balancing and contracting your muscles at the same time. Yoga is no joke when it comes to building strength and muscles. You will get stronger and also gain cardiovascular strength, even more so when you are working extra hard in a heated class.
- Flexibility: Think you are not flexible? You’d be surprised what you can do in a hot room. Suddenly, you might see yourself doing this with ease. The heat will allow you to safely reach new levels of personal flexibility which is also therapeutic for your body. And, let’s be honest—being flexible is super fun and cool.
- Weight Loss: Your digestive system, metabolism and your appetite habits will improve, which helps curb cravings. Warm muscles actually burn fat more easily as the heat flushes and detoxifies the body. Hot yoga can burn anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories a session. Of course, the harder you work in class the more calories you will burn. The way you stretch and compress your internal organs and glands also stimulates your metabolism, so calories are burned quicker outside class as well.
- Healing: With a regular practice, yoga can help to heal old injuries and also prevent them in the future. This is especially true for back pain. Hot yoga is also known to reduce symptoms of conditions and illnesses including diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis and obesity. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d rather go to more yoga classes and less doctor’s visits!
- Your Skin: Watch your face and skin develop the ‘yoga glow’ as your eyes become brighter and your skin becomes more clear and soft. As you sweat, your pores are opened and cleaned allowing natural lanolin to release through the pores, softening and preserving your skin’s elasticity. As your body detoxifies, you may eventually never need deodorant again. (OK, maybe that’s pushing it.)
Hot yoga class tips:
- Bring a towel and bring a friend. It’s always nice to try new things with friends!
- Let your teacher know if you have any injuries before class. Once you get warmed up, you might feel like you can do anything! But be careful, you don’t want to hurt yourself.
- Remember to drink plenty of water before and after class. Since your body will be detoxing and sweating, you will be less hydrated than normal and will need to replenish everything you left on your mat.
I hope those of you who are apprehensive give hot yoga a try and those who are in love, continue to sweat it out!
See you on the (sweaty) mat!