01 Jul Benefits Of Hot Yoga And Should I Try It
A Hot yoga class is probably the most intimidating form of yoga for those who have yet to experience it. The thought of sweat dripping down your arms while you’re trying to hold a pose and being in a room similar to sauna conditions while breathing in the smells of your fellow yogis does sound a bit off putting! So today I thought I would discuss the benefits of hot yoga and then you can decide if it is something you want to try out.
Created by Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970’s this style of yoga is comprised of a sequence of 26 poses derived from hatha yoga together with breathing exercises. A hot yoga class takes place in a room heated to around 40.6 degrees Celsius with a 40% humidity. It is often referred to as Bikram yoga, however some hot yoga classes follow a vinyasa style which is a more dynamic, free flowing form of yoga.
Benefits Of Hot Yoga And Should I Try It?
The idea behind practicing hot yoga, whatever the style of class, is that the heat helps you stretch and strengthen your muscles. This allows for a greater range of movement and extension, as well as giving you an added cardio challenge.
Before you get your game face on and head off to your first hot yoga class to sweat it out, I thought I would share with you what you need to know.
1. Get the right gear
Prepare to be feeling the heat during your class and make sure you are wearing the right clothing. Shorts and tank or something light is ideal. If it’s your first time, you probably don’t have a special yoga towel yet, but it’s worth investing in one if you plan to make a regular appearance. Otherwise, pack a beach towel that extends the length of your mat so that you avoid slipping all over the place.
2. Load up on nutritious food
Don’t even think about arriving to a hot yoga class if you have had a day of consuming heavy, processed and unhealthy food. Load up on nutritious, whole foods throughout the day but stop eating a couple of hours before the class. It’s almost guaranteed you will feel the urge to puke at some stage throughout the class!
If there is any day you want to ensure you are drinking plenty of water, it is the day of your hot yoga practice. Don’t leave it to the hour before to drink your days’ worth and some, spread it out throughout the course of the day. Take small sips between poses during the class and then replenish yourself afterwards with all the water you lost.
4. Get acclimatised
For newbies of hot yoga it is especially important you arrive early and get acclimatised to the temperature of the room. You don’t want to be running into this class and breaking into your yoga poses immediately without getting a chance to relax. Plus hot yoga classes are pretty popular, so you want to get in early to get a good spot!
5. Embrace the sweat
Resist the urge to wipe of your sweat in between poses. The sweat enables your body to maintain normal body temperature, so let it rain down. It’s also a pretty impressive sight when you finish your class to just see how much fluid you have lost!
6. You can take a break
If you feel the slight bit light heated, out of breath or need to puke then take a second to cool off. Child’s pose is the ideal position to get your bearings. The key is to listen to your body. Even if you spend the last half of your class in savasana, you have had a victory for managing to stay in the super-hot room until the end!
7. Reap the health benefits
There are plenty of health benefits from practicing yoga in general, but hot yoga especially can help maximise your results. It really gets your blood flowing, helps to release the toxins in your body and makes you feel energised. The heat can help you complete the poses and loosen up the muscles leading to greater flexibility. Hot yoga can also help deepen your relaxation and extend your focus.
It may be daunting, but at the end of the day hot yoga is just simply yoga in a hot environment! Why not challenge yourself to something new, have a little fun and give it a go? I have been enjoying throughout winter lighting the fire and doing my yoga in a lovely hot lounge. So if you aren’t wanting to head into a room full of people or you don’t have access to hot yoga near you, you can still reap the benefits by doing it in your own home with our online yoga classes inside the online gym. Learn more here.