Whether or not you’ve experienced a Hot Yoga class, you’ve probably heard about it and decided it is either right for you or not.
Hot Yoga is a challenging form of yoga that is more of a physical workout than most types of yoga and is done in temperatures ranging from 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels up to 40%.
Like any form of yoga there are benefits and risks associated with it, so it is best to do your research and take your time starting anything new, as well as check-in with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
At this time, hot yoga is considered a safe exercise for healthy individuals who do not have any heart conditions or respiratory issues and is not recommended for pregnant women.
Before exploring the benefits of hot yoga there are a few more things to consider.
It is important to remember to bring a towel to place over your yoga mat to collect any sweat that drips so you do not slip and slide on your mat, bring water to slowly drink throughout class as needed, and listen to your body throughout class to reduce the chance of injury.
Hot Yoga Benefits, Facts & Things to Know
Sweat to Reset
You may have heard that hot yoga detoxifies the body.
Although that would be a wonderful bonus to get over your hangover or feel less bloated from overeating the night before, it actually doesn’t detoxify the body, as our bodies already have their own built-in detoxification process.
However, hot yoga does increase the amount of sweat you produce and sweat releases water and salt, which offers the benefit of feeling less fatigued, full, and bloated, so you can come away from class feeling more energized.
Practicing yoga in a heated room allows you to go deeper into the yoga poses as the heat offers an environment that increases your range of motion and ability to hold the pose with minimal discomfort.
A little caution is necessary here though, as although you can go deeper it is still best to listen to your body and not ignore its’ limits and therefore cause injury.
Lubricates the Joints
All forms of yoga help reduce joint pain, swelling and inflammation by strengthening the connective tissues around the joints through moving in and out of the poses. However, hot yoga has the increased benefit of lubricating the joints through the increased circulation caused from the higher temperature.
Lubricating the joints keeps them healthy and flexible, although just like flexibility, it is important to be mindful of not going past your limits as this can cause issues in overall range of motion off the mat.
Aids in Weight Loss
One of the biggest benefits of hot yoga is that it assists in losing weight effectively and efficiently.
Through the combination of moving quickly from one pose to another in a heated environment, hot yoga aids in losing weight by burning calories faster, sweating out water weight, and increasing your heart rate.
All forms of yoga and regular exercise strengthen the immune system through getting the Lymphatic system to work more efficiently.
Due to the fact that one of the major functions of this system is to build immunity, adding heat allows the body to sweat more which aids in the lymphatic system flushing out waste and building the immune response.
Increases Endurance and Lung Capacity
By increasing the heat in the room, hot yoga adds to the healing benefits of the regular yoga breathing exercises.
Since heat can make it seem harder to breathe, the temperature actually allows for more mindfulness in each breath by causing you to slow down and take a deep breath, which increases the lung expansion and allows oxygen to travel through the blood stream and internal organs faster.
Increased lung capacity allows greater endurance, as the body will be able to work harder and faster with fewer breaks.
Great Cardio Workout
The increased heat causes your heart to work harder and therefore increase circulation throughout the body, giving a great workout that burns calories faster and revitalizes the skin!
You’ll leave your hot yoga session looking like you just left the spa!
Offers a Challenge
Hot Yoga is a challenging form of yoga requiring more from your body than other forms of yoga.
Not only do you move quickly through the poses, but most sessions are also full of more advanced poses that are meant to strengthen the body instead of just stretching it.
On top of that, there is the challenge of getting accustomed to the heat and all that involves. Sweating more, taking deeper breaths, increasing the heart rate, and being in a room with others doing the same.
Hot yoga offers a wide array of benefits ranging from a challenging physical fitness routine, a deeper release of tension throughout the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and the opportunity to cleanse from the inside out through the breath, movement, heat, and humidity.
Whether you are just trying hot yoga for the first time or are a veteran of this style remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after class and listen to your body. Pause if any dizziness, nausea, or feelings of being lightheaded occur.
On a personal note, based on my own experience of trying hot yoga, I like to refer to the fourth Niyama from the teachings of Patanjali, which is Svadhyaha, Self-Study.
Before during and after trying anything new, study yourself, pay attention to the thoughts and sensations that you feel on and off the mat.
Svadhyaya is the constant practice of tuning into your own internal GPS...where are you going? How are you getting there?
As there are many forms of yoga to try self-study is a great tool to help in staying focused and open to the many benefits available in all forms of yoga and specifically in such a challenging form as hot yoga.