Hot Yoga 101:
What is Hot Yoga?
Essentially, hot yoga is no different from your typical Yoga class. The only real difference is that the room temperature is adjusted to a higher degree and you will sweat much more than you would otherwise sweat in your average class. It is said that Hot Yoga was originated outside of India, to mimic the conditions of heat and humidity that one may experience in a typical Southern Indian Yoga Shala.
What are the benefits of Hot Yoga?
The benefits to Hot Yoga are many; however mainly the two important areas are Detox and increased flexibility during practice. Over the course of our lives, our bodies are accumulating numerous toxins daily from many substances we ingest or are otherswise exposed to: from foods to chemicals, to environmental pollutions. In the heated atmostphere of a hot yoga room the rate of cleansing is increased as we sweat more and heat the bodies to a higher degree-heat has a purifying effect generally on substances and our bodies are no different. Another benefit of Hot Yoga is increased flexibility. Although this increase is may be temporary due to the heat, still it allows us greater flexiblity and greater range of motion to deepen our practice and truly stretch into the depths of an Asana. Yoga alone burns fat, builds core muscle, increases overall musle strength, increases balance, allows for more normal sleeping patterns, decreases stress-the added heat in Hot Yoga stimulates and restores the condition of our joints when praticed safely-while detoxifying the body.
Are there any known dangers in Hot Yoga?
Mainly our concerns when taking a Hot Yoga Class should be regarding proper Hydration and Hyper Flexion. Beginning with Hydration: when we perspire at such a high rate, we are also losing lots of minerals including salt and valuable water from the system. This can causes an imbalance in our bodies electrolyte content. Therefore, not only is it important to drink lots of fluid after class, its important also to restore the electrolytes diminished, by taking in fair amounts of salt and potassium, magnesium and calcium to restore the electrolyte balance in the system. Go for natural fruit and vegetable such as bananas and leafy green vegetables to restore electrolytes before you reach for a sports drink-or try a coconut water without added sugars since it has a similar electrolyte balance similar to our own. The second concern is Hyper Flexion; in other words, because the room is heated and we can go much deeper into a stretch, sometimes we do overstretch causing injury to the body. Practice awareness and restraint in your hot yoga class, be smart!
What should I bring to my Hot Yoga Class?
Most likely you’ll be sweating a lot in your hot yoga, so definitely bring a towel and cold water to replenish your body. Don’t forget to bring a positive mindset as the heat may wear on your concentration and your focus and challenge you to remain constant in your effort.
Is there anything in particular I should do after my Hot Yoga Class?
Rest and Replenish! Drink water, rebalance your electolytes and rest. So much is happening in your body when you take a hot yoga class and specifically a Hot Yoga class, reward yourself with good rest to begin a fresh new day.