Why hot yoga is becoming increasingly popular

Yoga originated many years ago as a practice for spiritual development. Today, an increasing number of people are using yoga as a form of exercise. 

These yoga sessions tend to focus more on executing correct postures than the meditative aspects. Yoga is known for sculpting long muscles and weight loss, but there are many forms of yoga. One of the popular new age yoga practices is hot yoga.

In this blog, we are going to expand on:

What exactly is hot yoga?

As you may have guessed from the name, hot yoga takes place in a warm or very humid studio. The location or temperature does not limit the type of yoga as there are a variety of hot yoga classes. Bikram yoga is one of the types of yoga that tends to be the most sought after. 

Hot yoga consists of standing and stretching poses that require sustained and lengthy muscular contractions. The aim of the rigorous postures and heat is designed to increase your heart rate while you are working on your muscles. Even though hot yoga and Bikram yoga are used interchangeably it does not mean that they are the same thing.

What is the difference between Bikram yoga and hot yoga?

Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury. His practice took place in a 41-degree Celsius room with 40 percent humidity. It consists of two breathing exercises with twenty-six poses. The exercises and poses are completed in the same order every class. To complete all of this, a session typically lasts 90-minutes. 

Meanwhile, hot yoga is yoga that is performed in a hot room at between 27 and 38 degrees Celsius and the instructor is free to do any yoga exercises. These exercises may vary from studio to studio, and the class may also include music and interaction.

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

  • Hot yoga is designed to relax your mind while your body exercises. As you are exercising in a heated environment it makes the yoga practice more challenging. 
  • Hot yoga can improve your flexibility. When stretching your muscles it is said to be safer to stretch warm muscles than cold muscles. Therefore it is believed that practicing yoga in a warmer environment may result in a greater range of motion and a deeper stretch. 
  • According to a study done at Colorado State University, men could burn up to 460 calories, while women could burn up to 330 calories while doing a 90-minute hot yoga session. 
  • The temperature of the room increases blood flow and circulation. Improved circulation may nourish your skin from the inside. 
  • Many people tend to believe hot yoga detoxifies your body. This is true but only to a certain extent.

The benefits of yoga in general

Even though there may be differences between hot and other types of yoga there are many similarities when it comes to the benefits of yoga.

  • Yoga can increase your bone density, the same way that weight-bearing exercises can assist in increasing your bone density. 
  • Practicing yoga may lead to stress reduction. Many people use yoga to naturally reduce their stress. 
  • Due to yoga promoting the belief that you have control over your social environment and behaviour, practicing yoga may also ease depression.

These are just a few benefits. In general, regardless of the type of yoga one may see positive effects on your health and wellness.

Tips for when you start hot yoga

Hot yoga is considered to be safe if you are in good health. But as with most types of exercise, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. 

  • One of the major concerns is hydration. It is vital to drink a lot of water before, during, and after a hot yoga session. In some cases if you feel you need a little more than water you can rehydrate with low calorie sports drinks. If you are practicing hot yoga and start feeling light headed or dizzy stop immediately. If you have pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, low blood pressure or sugar, or if you are pregnant it is best to consult with your medical professional before attempting any form of exercise. 
  • While practicing hot yoga it is vital to pay attention to what your body needs. If you focus too much on the movements you may forget to breathe. When you feel tired, take the time to slow down and pace yourself, focus on taking deep breaths and then start moving when you are comfortable. 
  • When you attend your class it is best to wear lightweight breathable fabrics. Wearing heavy or tight clothing can be a distraction and reduce your focus. When doing any form of exercise, bringing a towel is always good practice and is hygienic. But when it comes to hot yoga it is not only good practice it is essential. Using a towel over your mat will reduce the chances of slipping when your hands get sweaty. Gloves and socks may also reduce the chances of slipping and potentially getting injured.

Ultimately hot yoga is becoming increasingly popular due to all the benefits that it provides for the body, and for the mind.

If you have never tried hot yoga before it is best you try a regular yoga session to see if yoga is something you enjoy. Regular yoga is already challenging, adding heat puts your body under more stress so it is best to start with the basics. When you feel that you are ready to add the heat you can gear up for your first hot yoga class.

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