There’s a “hot” new trend in the Yoga world: Hot Yoga. It includes various styles and types of Yoga such as Hatha, Vinyasa or even Yin. To me, Hot Yoga simply means Yoga practiced in a heated room. The temperatures in these rooms can range anywhere from 30°C (85°F) to 40°C (104°F.)
Now, is Hot Yoga safe? As long as you don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions, absolutely! Everyone can benefit from some healthy heat. But just how hot is healthy for you?
First, we need to realize that every single one of us is unique – We are all genetically different with our own physical strengths and susceptibilities. It’s important to keep in mind that what may be beneficial for another may not necessarily be an exact match for you.
While I can’t speak for Bikram Yoga, (which many people swear by, but I personally feel is too intense on the body,) I do know that Yoga in a warmed environment works wonders! I have a very goldilocks approach to everything, so for me “not too hot, not too cold” is always best. Anywhere from 31°C (88°F) – 37°C (98°F) is perfect. Again, everyone is unique and responds differently, therefore it’s best to simply try a few classes with various temperatures and styles of Yoga to find your perfect fit.
Heat increases blood flow and gets the body going, providing a literal “warm-up” for your Yoga practice. (And this is extra nice way to stay warm in the winter!)
Heat helps the detoxification process. When we sweat we release toxins through our pores while the increased blood circulation supplies fresh oxygen to the trillions of cells throughout your body.
Heat melts muscle tension and increases your flexibility, providing a deeper stretch. Just be mindful not to overstretch as this can lead to tearing. With Hot Yoga you’ll find that you’re able to come much further into the asanas (poses.) In addition to opening up the body, stretching has even been shown to reduce lactic acid build up.
In moderation, heat can be quite therapeutic. It has a calming and comforting effect. If you simply surrender to the warmth, you’ll find it feels like the familiar comfort of your favorite blanket.
The increased blood flow provides oxygen to the cells in your body, encouraging new cell production. Our sweat also contains amazing antibiotic properties that kill germs and help heal wounds.
Hot Yoga requires your presence, 110%. It demands discipline and determination, making you a mental warrior – a master of your own mind.
Exercise releases Endorphins. And endorphins are responsible for creating a sense of euphoria. The more you move, the more you produce. So not only will you be feeling accomplished, but you’ll also be surging with energy and an opiate-like rush.
Everyone speaks about that magical “Yoga glow” after any Yoga practice. Thanks to the heat, you’ll leave with a figurative and literal Yoga glow.
Things to Keep in Mind
Drink tons and tons of water! Since sweat is mostly made of water, and you’ll be sweating a lot, it’s extremely important to replenish your body after a Hot Yoga class. Take a bottle of water with you – Feel free to take multiple water breaks during your practice and always rehydrate afterward.
When you sweat you’ll cleanse the body of toxins, but you’ll also be excreting essential nutrients. Compensate by eating lots of fruits and veggies after class.
Your body knows best. Always listen to your inner guru and respect your body. Avoid abrupt movements, and always rise slowly to avoid a head rush. If at any point you feel you need a break – take one!
Sweat, Baby, Sweat.
Give Hot Yoga a try, even if you may be feeling hesitant. To be honest, I was once hesitant too. But after the first class I was completely hooked, and now I may even have a borderline obsession…
It can seem intense or intimidating at first, but if you try it I’m sure you’ll find that it’s extremely enjoyable! Now I dare you – Go. Be brave, be bold and get your sweat on!