I'm making peace with Hot Yoga.
I used to refuse attending hot yoga classes. I felt it was not very "yogic" or traditionally based. I struggled with the heat, and getting so hot and sweaty. I swear I lose at least 5 pounds in sweat after a 90 minute class. I curse as the yoga teacher keeps moving instead of giving us more water breaks.
But isn't yoga about EXPANSION and releasing the limitations in our life?
Isn't yoga about breaking that shell that binds us to our "comfy" zones in life?
Isn't Yoga about stepping out of that comfort zone and accepting new spaces and experiences ?
YES to all of that. And that's what keeps me on my mat everyday. Through the thick and the thicker.
So I've made it my intention to broaden my practice and accept that Yoga is not just Ashtanga or a certain style on the mat. Yoga is the union with the greatest part of ourselves. The divine Self if you may. So as a soul traveller, I invite changes and new experiences on my path everyday. Hot yoga is one way that truly is getting me out of my "safe" space.
Ready to get hot?
Toned? and DETOXIFIED? Then stay with me here and read on!
Why Hot Yoga?
I believe incorporating hot yoga a few times a week, really can offer you an experience that may bring you benefits you may not receive through just regular gym workouts, or sauna therapies. It also can improve your RUNNING, WEIGHT TRAINING, and all SPORTS training.
The 5 Hot Benefits of Hot Yoga!
1) Encourages Detoxification!
The hot environment of a heated yoga class induces more sweating and you therefore can release more toxins from your body. Sweating is good for you. Just be aware of how much you do lose during a class. Bring a water bottle and add a good electrolyte supplement if you are one of those people that excessively sweat or have low blood pressure. Always go by how your body feels.
2) Helps Cardiovascular Fitness
Hotter temperatures increase your heart rate naturally. So during a Hot Yoga class you will feel your heart rate soar higher than a regular Hatha style class. Again proceed with caution if you have cardiovascular health issues. If you have hypertension or high blood pressure it is not advised to do hot yoga. For those that are healthy otherwise you will find your cardio system will get stronger and you will have more endurance in all other activities you perform. I personally found that my running has improved significantly since practicing hot yoga. I can run longer and with more stamina. Not to shabby!
3) Encourages Flexibility:
Like all types of yoga, Hot Yoga encourages muscular flexibility. The hot temperature helps get muscles warmed up and hot throughout the practice. I find this especially inviting in the winter months when I feel more stiff and cold internally.
There are caveats to this extra flexibility. Being in a warm room may place you at risk of OVER stretching. So as much as its so tempting to go beyond what you normally can do in a regular yoga class, DON'T! Trust me on this one. You don't want to pop a hamstring or knee joint because you feel more loose. Do what you normally are capable of doing.
Actually my advice here is DO LESS when you first begin hot yoga classes. This means PULL BACK a bit in your poses and don't go all out. Less is definitely more in YOGA. You still reap all the benefits, and it will give you more room to really focus on the breath!
4) Improves Metabolism and Digestion:
Many report that hot yoga helps boost the metabolism and also curbs over eating. Improved digestion also is big one with many hot yoga practitioners. I've noticed since incorporating more hot yoga classes, that my appetite has diminished significantly and is more stable. So I don't hit sugar lows or raging cravings as much! Very nice :)
Also, it appears that the increase in circulation and enhanced detoxification really help to improve the digestion, assimilation and elimination of food through the system. Yoga improves peristalsis action of the colon with poses such as twists, forward bends and inversions. The heat increases the heart rate and thus raises the metabolism more so than a gentle or regular yoga class. So if you are struggling with some extra pounds or digestive upset hot yoga may help improve your weight management goals too!
5) Improved Circulation and Raises Core Body Temperature
All yoga helps with circulation and stagnant energy. Hot Yoga provides an added element - HEAT that helps those with circulation problems get warm and stay warm all day. I've noticed personally a huge difference in my tolerance for cold weather. I normally am always feeling very cold. My hands and feet are often like ice! But with temperatures below freezing lately here in Toronto, I've actually been outside more! Now this is like headline news in my life. I usually hibernate indoors or the yoga studio all winter. I've been outside more, and exploring the winter delights. Thank you HOT YOGA ;)
I want to hear your HOT YOGA story! Get down and sweaty with this. Tell me what it does for you, how it has improved your life or just how much you struggle with it. Lets hear it all ;)
Keep the deodorant handy, lots of towels, and drink drink drink the H2O.....