Before we get into the benefits of hot yoga, let’s define what it is. Hot yoga traditionally was a term used to refer to Bikram Yoga. Lately, however, Hot Vinyasa Yoga has boomed in popularity. It provides the benefit of a heated yoga class, without the strict atmosphere and repetitive nature of a Bikram class. In a Hot Vinyasa class, postures are linked together in a one-breath one-movement fashion, adding a cardio element in addition to the heat.
Can Anyone Do Hot Yoga?
Hot Vinyasa – at least the classes at Bent Yoga – are very challenging. That said, as long as you can leave your ego in the lobby, anyone can do them. The key is to take care of yourself and take a break when you need it. At first, the heat will be the most challenging part. Working out in heat is similar to working out in high altitudes – the body needs to get acclimated. Acclimation varies for everyone, but usually takes around 2 weeks of regularly working out in the heat. Once your body is acclimated to the hot yoga room, you can begin to challenge yourself by getting deeper into poses.
Why Do Hot Yoga Instead of Regular Yoga?
Hot yoga has a few benefits over regular yoga:
• Relax and soften the muscles quicker, to make the most of your time on your mat
• Get deeper into postures
• Increase bloodflow into the core of the muscles
• Mental challenge to practice breathing through
• Use of Infrared Heating Panels has many other benefits (see sidebar)
What is Heat Acclimation?
Heat Acclimation is when your body changes due to frequent heat exposure. We hear many people say “I can’t do hot yoga because I can’t handle the heat.” In reality, that is exactly why you SHOULD do hot yoga. When your body is acclimated to the heat, it is running more efficiently. There are multitudes of studies done by everyone from local universities to major health institutes that prove once your body has acclimated to heat, your overall athletic performance (even outside of the heat) is far superior.
In addition to athletic improvements, general body responses have also been shown to improve when you become acclimated to the hot yoga room. Your sweat response increases – meaning you sweat much quicker. In a healthy body, sweating is a way to regulate temperature as well as rid the body of toxins. Without a quick sweat response, the body is more stressed for a longer period of time. That is why those whose bodies don’t tolerate heat well are the ones who need the hot yoga room the most. To jump start their bodies in the right direction.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Hot Yoga
As you can see, there are many benefits in doing hot yoga. But the biggest one we haven’t touched on yet is the mental aspect. Working out is tough. Working out with sweat dripping down your face and your heart pounding while trying to keep your breath deep and calm, is pretty close to impossible. But adding this heat to your yoga practice allows you to find that mental peace and quiet in the midst of a chaotic environment. Learning to breathe through the intensity trains you to breathe through anything. We know it is intimidating, but the benefits of hot yoga far outweigh the scariness of trying something new. Check out our class schedule to find the closest hot yoga class to you!