Hot yoga has become hugely popular in recent years. Having practiced non-hot yoga for many years and teaching Vinyasa Flow, I always thought hot yoga was not for me and would somehow take away from the vibe I love to create in a flow class. About eighteen months ago a hot yoga studio opened up near my home and I decided to give it a bash – how could I have a view on it until I’d tried it for myself? One class completely changed my view and I am now a massive advocate of hot yoga.
I thought it would be helpful in this month’s blog to look into more detail on the benefits of hot yoga so you can judge whether or not it’s right for you.
The benefits of hot yoga
Detoxification – the sweat flushes out the body and aids in detoxification of the liver, kidney, lungs and other internal organs.
Skin – hot yoga is good for any skin disorders because it opens all your pores and flushes the skin out thoroughly. As a long term sufferer of psoriasis, I have noticed a vast improvement in my condition since starting hot yoga and I also notice the more I practice hot yoga, the better my skin gets.
Soft tissues – in a hot room your body comes to working temperature more quickly you’re your muscles and soft tissues have better circulation. This means your muscles are really warmed up and they are ready to perform the postures - the heat allows you to go a little more deeply and safely into the postures.
Heart rate – the heat elevates the heart rate which makes the body work harder, it’s great for people who want an intense work out that combines a cardio workout with developing strength, flexibility and toning muscles.
Breath work – breathing is a key aspect of yoga, the heat helps the body relax which improves breathing and focuses the mind, aiding better mental concentration and also improving breathing disorders such as asthma.
Hydration – practicing hot yoga encourages you to drink water throughout the day and keep the body hydrated.
Some cautions about hot yoga
Of course, there are also some cautions when it comes to hot yoga. There are risks you can overheat and dehydrate. For this reason, it’s really important to come to class hydrated but drinking a large glass of water an hour before class. It’s also important to replenish lost water and electrolytes after a class (e.g. through coconut water or an energy drink). For some, there can be the temptation to over-stretch given the body and the muscles are so warm and this can lead to injury. Yoga is not a competitive sport and everyone should take the class at their own pace. You can take a break, take the basic option in a pose or lie down and rest in Savasana whenever you need – just do whatever you are capable of.
How you feel after class
Hot! Having originated from India, yoga was always done in a hot climate. At MySoulSpace the temperature is kept to 37 degrees, same as our body temperature to ensure we function at our best. Hot yoga is suitable for everyone – some of it can be more intense and challenging but generally everyone can get something from it.
A lot of people tend to feel self-conscious about the fact that they are sweating a lot – on the up side, you are not alone as everyone else in the room is sweating as much as you! It’s important to let the sweat flow in a hot yoga class, by wiping it away you are closing the pores and taking away the body’s ability to cool itself down.
Overall, I leave a class feeling refreshed and energised – the perfect way to start your day and the perfect way to re-energise after a busy day in the office.
“Falling out of a posture means you are human. Getting back into the posture means you are a yogi”.
- Bikram Choudhury -