7 PROVEN BY ME REASONS FOR THE HEAT IN HOT YOGA
Have you ever stopped to think about why on earth Hot Yoga is so HOT? As in 33 degrees sweating hot!
What is the reason for the heat in Hot Yoga anyway? I’ve highlighted what I found being the top 7 reasons, because there can’t be just one reason.
Struggling with the heat in the beginning is super common. I am from a hot country, love the heat and also found it challenging in the beginning having to deal with the heat in addiction to everything else.
If you feel intimidated by doing yoga in such a hot room or if you’re unsure whether you can do it at all, you’re not alone!
Seriously, being worried about the heat and confused about why it’s necessary are some of the most common questions and concerns I hear from new yogis or people thinking about starting this practice.
I’ve put together this list of 7 reasons for the heat in Hot Yoga, although there are certainly more.
Imagine your muscles are like the quality street toffee finger or the toffee penny. If you try to stretch a piece of cold penny or finger, it is impossible. If you try bending it, if it is cold it will snap. But if you warm up the toffee in your hands, or have it storage in a warm room before biting into it, it will move easily and smoothly. Your muscles react to the temperature the same way. The heat allows your muscles to stretch and move safely. Simple!
Sweat, Detoxification, and Organ Health
You will sweat a lot in a Hot Yoga, which means that your skin, the largest organ in your body, is detoxifying during the time you’re in class. When this happens, your internal organs that are typically used for detoxification, specifically the kidneys and liver, get a break for the 60 minute class. The little rest they get helps them function more efficiently when you’re out of class.
In the hot yoga room, your veins dilate in order for more, freshly-oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to flush through them. In Hot Yoga, we do a lot of compression and then release postures. When that release happens, the blood flows easily to areas of your body where it otherwise may not flow so well (think feet, ankles, knees and lower back).
The heat is one more thing added to the challenge in class. So working in the heat while learning how to pace yourself builds tremendous mental concentration, focusing the mind completely on what you are doing.
So many of us feel in our day to day lives like we are all over the place, at a million miles an hour. For many years I couldn’t figure out why yoga had been so good in my life in so many areas of my life. This process of single focus on the practice calms the nervous system down, hence improving concentration. Making us feel calmer, more patient and with this comes mind clarity and confidence in our decisions and own abilities. It's like a sow ball effect!
You’ll realise very quickly that the more water you drink outside of class, the better you’ll feel inside of class. Staying well-hydrated creates optimal health whether you’re practicing Hot Yoga or not. When you know you’ll be sweating later on because you’ll be at yoga class, you end up gulping down more water simply out of habit. What a great habit to have!
Did you know that yoga can be considered “cardio”? I never thought yoga was so physical and at times intense and challenging. A million times better than an aerobic class! The heat helps to make Hot Yoga such an effective workout. Your heart gets a workout at the same time your joints and ligaments receive therapeutic benefit. A big reason your heart rate goes up in class is because it’s hot! TIP: To manage your heart rate, make sure you breathe more, in and out of your nose even as your heart rate goes up. Some students use their fitbit to control their heart rate and calories burnt.
Dry air can exacerbate asthma, but deep breathing in a humid room relieves asthmatic symptoms immediately. If you suffer from asthma, you only need to push yourself as much as you’re comfortable with; in fact, you’ll still get so much benefit simply from doing a little bit. I have a student who was completely surprise when the doctor reduced her asthma medication after she had been practicing consistently for about 40 days.
This was a complete surprise to all of us! And a celebration. Very often students bring their pumps just in case but they never use it, even in the more challenging classes.
The biggest thing to keep in mind with the heat in Hot Yoga is that it is the most challenging things at the beginning.
But it’s also one of the most beneficial things to help you in the beginning of your yoga practice.
The heat is actually one of the main elements that makes Hot Yoga so healing!
So what do you think? Does this make the heat seem less scary?
If you’ve been practicing for a while, what do you love about the heat?
Lots of Love
P.S. - Do you want to lear the 5 best ways to THRIVE in YOGA check out this blog.
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