Hot yoga is constantly in the news with every other celebrity claiming that it’s changed their life... But do you know the true benefits of the hot and sticky class and is it just for Hollywood’s rich and famous?
There are many styles of hot yoga which all have different origins behind them but they all have similar benefits. Don’t be fooled though; just because you’re a master yogi in a standard class, that doesn’t mean you’ll be an instant professional in a hot environment!
Trying to master yoga in typical conditions is hard enough but doing it in a room as hot as a desert with no breeze, is a whole new challenge entirely and with room temperatures reaching up to around 37 degrees, hot yoga isn’t for the faint hearted.
Although hot and sweaty, the hot yoga reaps many benefits that a class in normal temperatures doesn’t.
Detoxification brought on by heavy sweating is a key element to hot yoga. The sweat sits on your skin and helps flush toxins out from your body. The sweat will also produce a natural antibiotic called Dermcidin which is currently being studied as a treatment for powerful superbugs like TB & MRSA. The sweat is most affective when it doesn’t evaporate quickly so a hot yoga room is perfect for this. Professionals say the sweat should be rubbed back in to the skin for it to be more effective, rather than rubbed off with a towel.
During the class, your heart rate will speed up which will make the body work harder and will therefore increase the results of the work out and leading to a healthier heart! Practicing yoga is a hot room increases your pulse rate and your metabolism allowing your blood vessels to become more flexible and making your burn some serious calories! This also allows for easier circulation and increases the blood flow to the limbs!
Breathing plays a huge part in yoga and such a simple thing can have huge physiological effects on the brain. When you’re holding your breath, there is more opportunity for the cells to absorb oxygen and eliminate more carbon dioxide leaving the body with a calming effect. It’s said that if you breathe 15 times per minute, you will live up to 80 years but if you breathe only 10 times per minute, you will live to 100. It is thought that the speed at which you breathe will dictate the length of your life and if you breathe fast, your life will be shortened!
Conscious breathing is key to a good yoga session as it connects yogis to the subtle energy within and therefore effects our mental, emotional and physical state. Not only does conscious breathing allow you to focus on the now, it activates a different part of the brain. Unlike unconscious breathing, it activates the cerebral cortex part of the brain which has a relaxing and balancing effect on the emotions, leaving you with a more harmonious state of mind. Emotional stress and random thoughts are less likely to occur during this time and gives your whole body a break from the everyday worries in life. Yogis believe that in this state, the energy (also known as the prana), flows through us freely without any blockages and leaves us with the ‘feel good’ factor that yoga participants usually feel after a class.
There are a few cautions to watch out for though…
- Stay hydrated. Experts advise drinking 2 to 3 litres of water a day if you’re going to participate in a hot yoga sessions. You are going to sweat a lot and will need to replenish your fluids before, during and after the session.
- Don’t eat too much or too little before a session. Light snacks are encouraged to keep your energy up, but avoid consuming too much dairy before a class.
- Listen to your body. It’s easy for the heat to fool you into thinking you’re more flexible than you actually are. Ease yourself into positions as although the heat improves your movement, it also makes it easier to pull a muscle, so take it easy to begin with!
- Talk to your doctor. If you have any health concerns such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems or heat related illness, its best to air on the side of caution before you partake in a class.
Balaam’s refreshment is making way for hot yoga classes in their new specially equipped studio! Hot yoga sessions can be booked individually or for an extra £10, can be added on to your regular membership! For more information on Balaam’s hot yoga classes and to sign up for a free session, please click here.