Is hot yoga right for you?
No one denies the benefits of practicing yoga. Its health-promoting advantages are well known which include improved flexibility, muscle strength and enhanced stress relief, just to name a few. But have you ever heard of hot yoga and is this a form of yoga you should try?
What is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is a more vigorous form of yoga performed in a very warm and humid studio. There a variety of different types of hot yoga classes one of which is called the Bikram form of hot yoga. Bikram yoga is a 90-minute program that consists of a series of different standing and stretching postures. The postures require lengthy, forceful and sustained contractions of all major muscle groups. The demanding nature of these poses and the heat are designed to raise your heart rate and exercise your muscles. This form of yoga is done in a room heated to approximately 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius, and has a humidity of 40 percent.
Most hot yoga classes purposefully heat the room between 90 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason for this is heat helps lubricate tendons and ligaments, making it easier to fold into certain stretches and poses. Because of the warmth of the room, it allows participants to get a deeper stretch since their body is already warmer and pliable to move into the poses a little deeper.
What are the pros and cons of hot yoga?
Over the years, hot yoga has become increasingly popular partly due to several benefits many find advantageous in meeting their health goals:
· Greater flexibility
· Less warm-up time
· Some claim practicing hot yoga improves skin appearance
· May aid in weight loss
· Some people have reported improvements in pain relief
Although practicing hot yoga is safe for most people, it is not for everyone. Here are some drawbacks to performing hot yoga that anyone considering trying it should know:
· It can cause some people who are already super flexible to overstretch
· It can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke
· It can aggravate anyone who has asthma
It’s probably best to skip hot yoga if you have the following:
· Heart disease or other heart-related condition
· Problems with dehydration
· Heat intolerance
· A history of heart-related illness such as heat stroke
· Women who are pregnant
Things to consider if you do try hot yoga
If you have no health concerns and wants to give hot yoga a try, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or sick in any way during a session of hot yoga, stop immediately. Leave the studio to get into a cooler environment and listen to your body.
Anyone completely new to yoga should not start off by trying hot yoga. Ease yourself into yoga by attending a few basic or beginner yoga classes first and then when you feel comfortable, try incorporating a hot yoga class. Keep in mind, there are several different styles of yoga so if a certain class does not appeal to you, try out another type.