Working up a yoga sweat!

2013Apr03_HotYoga_AWe tend to think of people who do a lot of yoga as being mindful, collected types who never lose their cool. But it seems that some yogis like it hot! We all like to work up a bit of a sweat during our exercise sessions. It’s a way of proving that we have exerted ourselves beyond normal levels: the liquid leaving our bodies is symbolic of our weight loss. That is why classes such as spinning and aerobics promise that we will ‘work up a sweat’.

Yoga, however, is often seen as more mindful and spiritual; its slow movements and static poses seem a world away from the frenzy of an all-out boot camp. It is for this reason that people are surprised to find that not only is one of the fastest growing forms of yoga one that makes you sweat, it is also impossible not to do so. Indeed, getting hot and enjoying a sheen of perspiration is part of the method.

Hot Yoga is the name and the description for the hottest yoga craze around. While Bikram Yoga maybe a form of heated room yoga, all Hot Yoga is not Bikram. With its 26 precise asanas and breathing exercises, Bikram Yoga was popularised in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury who formulized a form of Hatha Yoga with sessions running for 90 minutes. Bikram’s technique requires rooms to be heated to 105°F with around 40% humidity,  based on the idea that his helps with healing and detoxification.

The Barkan Method and Hot Vinyasa are both forms of Hot Yoga. It is the temperature and the teaching styles that differ. So when you join a class, don’t go expecting to follow the strict 90 mins and 26 asanas of the Bikram style unless you’re going to a Bikram Yoga class.

The Barkan Method, for example, brings more variety to classes and requires a cooler ambient  temperature of 95°F, whereas Baptiste Power Yoga consists of a room temperature of a comparatively chilly 85°F and uses only Vinyasa poses. But whatever the style of Hot Yoga you practice, all have similar benefits to your health.

  • Detoxification – Some people claim that the excessive sweating associated with Hot Yoga can help flush toxins from the body. While most toxins in the body are broken down by the liver sweating is a good way of cleaning the skin’s pores and getting rid of small amounts of debris. There is little doubt that after sweating a great deal and taking a shower, your body feels deliciously cleansed and rejuvenated.
  • Flexibility – The heat means that your muscles are really warmed up and you might be able to go further into postures than would be too challenging in a ‘normal’ class. However, you do have to be careful not to push yourself into a discomfort zone.
  • Weight loss and cardio benefits – Doing any exercise in a heated room means that your heartbeat is elevated and the body has to work harder, burning more energy and fat.
  • Breathing & focus – We concentrate more on our breathing when it’s hot, which helps our mental concentration. The heat and humidity can be great for conditions such as asthma, provided you check with your doctor first if you have any medical issues.

Hints and tips for Hot Yoga

  • Whatever type of Hot Yoga you decide to do, this is one class where you really should take your own yoga mat. It gets very sweaty and the thought that you are using a mat where many hundreds of people may have sweated before, is unpleasant and off-putting.
  • Make sure that you drink lots and lots of water before and after the class to replace the fluids you lose through perspiration. It’s a good idea to avoid food a couple of hours before a class too.
  • It is advised that Hot Yoga be avoided if you’re pregnant as it raises core body temperature. Other types of yoga can be beneficial though, so seek out a pre-natal class.
  • Dress to sweat. This is not a class you can do while daintily made-up and wearing designer gear. You are going to work up a real sweat so wear light clothing and remember less is more but you still want to be covered up in the right way too.
  • Pace yourself. There is no competition in Hot Yoga and your body is working hard to regulate its core temperature, so listen to it and take breaks if you feel it is getting too much for you.

Do you think you could benefit from heating up your yoga sessions? Find out more by getting in touch today!

This entry was posted in General Health Articles A, Hot Yoga and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Internet Presence Management for Health Club Owners

    pronto logoFull-service, pay-as-you-go all inclusive websites, from design and content to SEO and social media management for one low monthly price. Learn more at Pronto for Health Clubs.