In a nutshell, hot yoga (or hatha yoga) involves performing all the yoga postures in a heated room. There are two kinds of hatha yoga: vinyasa yoga which is characterized by flowing postures, and bikram yoga which involves static asanas.
Hot yoga or hatha yoga is very intense, and will leave you drenched in sweat and as tired as if you’d done a three-hour workout. But followers say it’s one of the most cleansing and stimulating workouts. Read on to find out if it’s for you or if you should look into other kinds of yoga.
Benefits of hot yoga
What is so beneficial about exercising in a hot room? When your body is cold your muscles contract. That’s why you need to warm up before exercise: you want to loosen up the muscles so that there’s less resistance to movement. But in a yoga class, the heat is generated from within the body (exercise) and from the environment, and this helps you go through pose to pose with less chance of injuring yourself.
The heat also helps your body’s other organs and overall system too. The heart rates goes up, which leads to faster weight loss. It also stimulates the heart to strengthen its contractions—exercising your heart and making it stronger in a kind of ‘cardiovascular workout.’
The heat is also great for detoxification because it speeds up your body’s metabolic processes. Your body is better able flush out the toxins. That’s because many toxins are encapsulated in fat and stored in the body. Since the heat stimulates fat receptors, it helps burn fat and release fat-soluble toxins.
Precautions during hot yoga
One of the risks of hot yoga is dehydration and heat exhaustion. Pay attention to your body. Don’t force yourself to finish a class if you think you need to rest. Stop to cool off and rehydrate.
This exercise requires a lot of balance and self-awareness as you learn to manage the discomfort you push your body to the edge while being attuned to your needs.
Other great tips is to drink water all throughout the day, and not just right before your yoga class. Too much water can add to your discomfort level. It’ also advisable to have your last heavy meal two hours before class, and to eat food that is easily digested (ex: not steak or beef, but vegetables and fish).