I think it’s fair to say, yoga is having a bit of a moment. What used to be a hippie pastime has modernised and become mainstream. I would argue that hot yoga has been a big part of that revolution.
Bikram Yoga was the original form of hot yoga which exploded worldwide. A set sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises all done in a room heated to 40 degrees, it got people practising yoga who had never imagined themselves as yogis. Hot yoga has since diversified with new styles such as Vinyasa Flow and Fierce Grace, as well as others.
But why would you want to do yoga in a hot room? Here are our top 8 reasons:
- Mobility & Flexibility. The heat increases your mobility and flexibility. When your muscles are warm, they are ready for action and it’s easier to open and stretch the body. As we age our bodies stiffen up and lose some of their natural flexibility and movement, which yoga helps to remedy and the heat makes bending and stretching into the different postures much more doable.
- Weight Control. A class such as Bikram or Vinyasa Flow can burn up to 800 calories. We only know this because some of our students wore their Fitbits to class and tracked it – pretty awesome 😉 Not only that but you develop long, lean muscles and become strong without getting bulky.
- Much Better Sleep. Apart from people telling us, the Fitbit has again proven it. Some of our students kepta record of their sleep pattern for a week and on the nights they practised yoga, they slept a solid 8 hours, no break. On the nights when they hadn’t done yoga they had more broken sleep patterns.
- Detoxification. Pollution affects us more and more plus we live in a chemical world – pesticides in the food, chlorine in the water, BPA in the plastics…the list goes on. The skin is the largest detoxification organ and sweating is one of the ways the body has to be able to get rid of nasty stuff. It figures that by sweating more you get rid of more gunk.
- Stress. Stress is the common source of so much illness and its said to be a contributing factor to cancer development. With rates of cancer going up, we need to bring our stress levels down. Hot yoga helps to switch off the sympathetic nervous response and switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a much happier place for your mind and body to be…and in fact your natural state.
- Mental Clarity and Calmness. Practising yoga in the heat demands focus, as does trying to balance (and listen at the same time) so you’ll notice your mind becomes very present in class because without 100% of your attention, some of those postures aren’t going to happen and you won’t be able to hold them. Your mind might be all over the place at first wondering what to do and what is going on. That settles down as you become more familiar with the movements and the shapes your body is making.
- Lots More Energy. At first you might feel tired after class which is normal because your body is acclimatising to the heat in the room and getting used to working in a new way, probably using muscles which haven’t been used in a while (or maybe never). Once you get those first few classes under your belt, you’ll start to feel amazing after your practice and the energy will stay with you. It’s the reason why so many people become addicted.
- Self Confidence. It’s pretty cool when you start to be able to do poses you thought were impossible in the beginning, or you can get through a class without taking a break. You start to see yourself a bit differently and the critical voice in your head starts to get a bit quieter.You’ll start to change in a really positive way too. Because you feel so good, you make better choices so that you can keep the good vibes with you!
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