If you’re looking for positive lifestyle changes you can make at any time, the choice to take up a regimented exercise practice like yoga is a great choice. Hot yoga, in particular, has become popular in recent years. However, not everyone knows what makes hot yoga different from traditional yoga or why it’s beneficial. If you’re wondering if hot yoga is a great choice for you, keep reading because this post will explain the benefits and help you get started on your wellness journey.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is a style of yoga that is typically practiced in a heated room. The room is intentionally heated to a high temperature, often between 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 40 degrees Celsius), with a corresponding high humidity level. This intense heat and humidity enhance the practice and provide a unique set of benefits and challenges.
Classes can vary in style and sequence. Still, one of the most well-known forms is Bikram yoga, which follows a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises in a room heated to the aforementioned temperatures.
Although hot yoga can be highly beneficial, it’s physically demanding and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s essential to stay hydrated, listen to your body, and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions that may interfere with your practice.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
Hot yoga offers a range of potential benefits, although it’s important to note that individual experiences may vary. That being said, most people experience the following benefits of hot yoga.
1. Increased Flexibility
The heat and humidity in a room can help to relax muscles and make them more pliable. This can allow practitioners to achieve deeper stretches and improved flexibility over time.
2. Improved Strength
Poses often require holding positions for an extended period in challenging conditions. This can help to build and tone muscles throughout the body.
3. Enhanced Circulation
The heat in a room can promote better blood circulation, potentially aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and organs.
Sweating profusely during a class can help eliminate toxins and impurities from the body through the skin. This is often cited as a cleansing benefit of hot yoga.
5. Weight Management
The elevated heart rate and calorie burn associated with hot yoga may contribute to weight loss or maintenance, although results can vary.
6. Cardiovascular Health
The increased heart rate and aerobic nature of some classes can help improve cardiovascular fitness and endurance.
7. Community and Support
Many people find a sense of community and support in studios, which can enhance motivation and accountability in maintaining a regular practice. This community support can also help you improve your social life, especially if you have trouble making new friends.
How to Get Started With Hot Yoga
Getting started with hot yoga can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to approach it with some preparation and caution, especially if you’re new to yoga or have never practiced in a heated room before. If you get started the right way, though, you can enjoy the benefits of hot yoga and take care of yourself.
The first step for any new exercise journey is research. In this scenario, you want to locate local yoga studios or fitness centers that offer classes that fit within your daily schedule. Also, ask these studios if they offer beginner or introductory classes so you don’t start out in a session that’s too intense for your skill level and experience. Many studios offer various styles and levels of classes, so find one that suits your experience and fitness level.
Once you’ve found a studio and class that works for you, it’s time to gather the necessary equipment. Hot yoga typically requires a few specific items, such as a yoga mat, a towel (for both your body and mat), and comfortable moisture-wicking clothing that can handle sweat. You may also want to invest in some quality yoga pants and a reusable water bottle.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your class to ensure you’re adequately hydrated. Avoid heavy meals immediately before class, but have a light snack if needed. If possible, arrive at the studio 15-20 minutes before class starts. This will give you time to sign in, set up your mat, and acclimate to the heat.
Then, after your first class, take some time to cool down and stretch. Continue to hydrate and replenish lost fluids. Consider a cool shower to help your body temperature return to normal.
It’s Time to Get Started
Now that you understand what hot yoga is and why it’s beneficial, it’s time to get started. Just remember, all home exercise routines require commitment, so don’t start on this journey if you don’t have the time or energy to do it right. That being said, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction and see positive results if you take up hot yoga as a new way to work out.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is hot yoga different from regular yoga?
Hot yoga is performed in rooms with higher temperatures. The classes often include a more intense series of movements, making you sweat and work out more than traditional yoga classes. Also, unlike other traditional practices, hot yoga classes often include music.
Is hot yoga easy for beginners?
Typically, the warm temperatures and progressions of hot yoga classes make them less accessible to beginners than other forms of yoga. That being said, you can find beginner-friendly classes. Also, your body will adjust to the room temperature the more often you attend classes.
Who should not do hot yoga?
Due to the heat and intensity, people who are pregnant, live with cardiovascular conditions, or deal with high blood pressure should not participate in hot yoga unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.
Image credit: Shutterstock
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