Yoga City is excited to announce that hot yoga is coming to our Mississauga studio in January 2017! To celebrate and help you prepare, we’re outlining some of the benefits of hot yoga and how it can complement your existing practice.
A Brief History of Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is a relatively new style of yoga that was developed by Bikram Choudhry in the late 20th Century. He founded a style of yoga you‘ve probably heard of, Bikram Yoga, which involves a series of 26 poses designed to stretch the body and help you become aware of your breath. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a heated room to replicate the hot climate of India, where the tradition of yoga originated.
Over time, Bikram Yoga has evolved into many different styles of hot yoga – Moksha Yoga, Power Yoga, TriBalance Yoga, Forrest Yoga, etc. The temperature of a hot yoga class typically ranges between 87°F (31°C) and 104°F (40°C), depending on the style or studio.
Some Like It Hot
So why is hot yoga so popular? Many students will point to the health benefits of hot yoga and how it makes their body feel.
Sweat it out
The most common health benefit touted by hot yoga addicts is detoxification. Hot yoga involves lots of sweating, which is said to help flush toxins from the body through the skin. Some reports claim this to be untrue – that it is the kidneys, liver and colon that are responsible for true toxin elimination. Regardless, detoxification happens in some form through hot yoga. Either through sweating or stimulating the digestive system by increasing internal heat in the body.
Bend and stretch
Another reason hot yoga is so popular is because it helps increase flexibility. As the body heats up, the muscles become more pliable, allowing you to move deeper into certain stretches and poses. A word of caution here though – be careful not to over-stretch in the heat. If you don’t listen to your body, you run the risk of artificially stretching the muscle, which can lead to injury, or a very tight and sore day the next day.
Werk, werk, werk, werk, werk
Many students will attest to feeling like they’ve worked harder in a hot yoga class. This might be because working in a heated room elevates your heart rate, which makes the body work harder. Both unheated and hot yoga help build strength and tone, but hot yoga delivers it in a much more intense cardiovascular workout.
Focus and Determination
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of hot yoga is mental endurance. Hot yoga teaches you how to push through feelings of discomfort and persevere. Holding a pose in the heat, while the sweat drips off you, is challenging, but something that can serve you well in your practice. As you advance, you gain tremendous focus and determination – something you can take with you off your mat as well!
Is Hot Yoga For Me?
Despite these benefits, if you have any of the following conditions then hot yoga may not be right for you:
- High or low blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Prone to fainting
Please consult with your doctor on whether hot yoga is ok.
In addition, if you experience any dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion, poor vision or weakness during a hot yoga class, these may be signs of heat exhaustion. Leave the room immediately and drink plenty of water.
Hot Yoga Tips
Ready to try hot yoga? Here’s some tips for what to do before, during and after a hot yoga class to ensure a positive experience:
- Avoid eating 2-3 hours before hot yoga, to give your body time to digest the food already consumed
- Avoid drinking coffee before class (it will dehydrate you)
- Given the amount of sweat lost during a hot yoga class (sometimes more than 3 litres!), it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during and after class to replenish your body
- Replace minerals and electrolytes lost through sweating with Gatorade, coconut water, electrolyte tablets (e.g. Emergen-C), or water mixed with a pinch of salt, sugar and lemon
- If you have never practiced hot yoga before, start with a shorter class (60 minutes) or a warm class to get used to the heat
- Try not to continually towel yourself off during class. When internal heat arises in the body, you begin to sweat to cool the body down and keep it within the normal range of body temperature. Wiping off your sweat will just produce more sweat and make your body’s cooling system work harder
- If you need to take a break during class, drop down to Child’s pose, where the air is cooler
Sign Up For Hot Yoga!
Check out Yoga’s City’s new class schedule and sign up for a hot class today!
See you on your mat.