Have you considered hot yoga classes recently? If so, this article may give you some information which may help you to decide if a hot yoga practice is for you.
The first time I took hot yoga classes, I hated it for many reasons. I hated that I was not able to breathe normally. Every breath I took seemed to be the last. I hated that everyone was sweating so much. The studio room was covered with sweat and it smelled. I never went back for hot yoga again. After many years have passed, I decided to give a hot yoga classes another try as there is CorePower Yoga studio near my house.
It was hard to pass out the opportunity when CorePower offers you a free 7-day to attend as many classes as you like. My first class was a slightly warm and it is for the beginners. I was sweating a lot but I was actually enjoying the class. I felt energized and accomplished after the class. For the next 7 days, I went back every day to try out all other hot yoga classes in CorePower ranging from 84 degrees to 104 degrees and I loved every class I took, and some more than others.
My suggestion for you is to start slow. Maybe find a yoga studio that offers variety of hot yoga classes so you can slowly adjust to the hot studio.
Different Styles of Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga is founded in Los Angeles by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. It is definitely the most popular heated yoga. Bikram studios are heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and moistened to 40 percent humidity. Bikram Yoga has a fixed sequence of 90-minute series with 26 poses.
Baptiste Power Yoga
Baptiste Power Yoga is founded by Baron Baptiste in San Francisco. The yoga studio is heated to 90 degrees. Baptiste Power Yoga consists of 11 sequences with 65 postures in 60-minute, 75-minute and 90-minute series. It is a particularly vigorous form of yoga.
Moksha Yoga is founded by two yoga teachers in Toronto. There are three levels of classes, lasting anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. The standard Moksha series begins with Savasana, a resting pose that is typically found only at the end of yoga classes. From there, you do standing poses, another Savasana, then on-the-floor postures before it ends the class with another Savasana. Moksha Yoga is more flexible in sequencing and timeline.
CorePower Yoga is founded by Trevor Tice in Denver. It offers many type of classes, including non-heated class, heated flow yoga, heated yoga with weights and a style similar to Bikram. The temperature of the yoga studio can range from non-heated to 104 degrees. Some classes have fixed sequence but some are more flexible and advance.
The Benefits of Hot Yoga
Regular practice of hot yoga brings many health benefits. Personally, I have experienced many of these benefits myself. Hot yoga is not for everyone. If you have a high blood pressure or heart diseases, you may want to consult with your doctor before attending a hot yoga class.
Detoxes your body
The result of hot yoga is heavy sweating which help to flush out harmful substances from the body through your skin. The stretching, balancing and elevated body temperature stimulates the lymphatic system responsible for flushing out toxins from your system.
Increases heart rate
Practicing yoga in a heated room increases the intensity and elevates the heart rate, which makes the body work harder. It develops strength and flexibility and it builds lean muscle to tone your body while getting a cardiovascular workout.
Any yoga would improve the flexibility if it is done the right way. The heat relaxes your muscle so you could get deeper into the posture, and increases joint mobility and range of motion. This allows you to safely reach new levels of personal flexibility even in beginner’s postures. Be aware of your limit too.
Hot Yoga Weight Loss
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine found that women practicing yoga in the regular basic experiences lower body fat content. Doing yoga poses in a heated room elevates body temperature which burns more calories than non-heated yoga. You can also lose weight from the improved metabolic and digestive functioning.
Improves breathing technique
You need to breathe when you practice yoga but you learn to breathe when you practice hot yoga. You learn to breathe in a full and controlled manner so you don’t feel exhausted easily so you could last the whole practice. Better breathing technique can also carry over into your daily activities.
A lot of yoga focuses on stretching and balancing, which is a form of physical therapy. With heat added, it relaxes muscle which allows you to stretch further than usual. You need to know the limit not to overstretch. It may help to heal old injuries and also prevent them in the future if it is done right. This is especially true for, but not limited to, back pain.
Hot yoga especially Bikram yoga is low impact exercise and uses many muscles you don’t use often, even if you work out regularly. Improves spine strength is key to a long healthy life! By holding the poses and stretches for a longer period of time stretches and lengthen the associated muscles to achieve a more complete, full-body strength.
Increases blood flow
The heat allows the muscles to loosen up and increase blood flow throughout the body. This boosts the lymphatic system by massaging lymph nodes and distributing white blood cells throughout the body, thus improving the body’s immune system.
Preparation for your Hot Yoga Classes
You will sweat excessively in hot yoga. There are some things you need to do to prepare your body so that you can perform at your best during class, and have a quick recover after.
Stay hydrated before, during and after class! Drink a lot of water throughout the day before the class but probably good to stop before an hour before class so you don’t have to practice yoga with a full bladder. A hydrated body is able to dispel heat more efficiently. Continue to sip water throughout class. It is said that you can lose an average of five pounds of water weight in a hot yoga class so be prepare to drink a lot of water even after class to get your body rehydrated.
I am one of the people who cannot practice hot yoga with having a meal or snack. Have a proper meal about 2-3 hours before your class. This gives your body enough time to digest the food and use it as a source of energy. If you are an early riser and like to practice yoga early in the morning, I would recommend to have a protein shake in the morning before class.
Wear clothing that is moisture wicking and comfortable. You do not go to hot yoga in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, as the sweat accumulation will weigh you down. Moisture wicking clothes are designed to hold in the sweat and keep you dry. For men, shorts and tank tops are recommended. Men and consider going topless if you are comfortable.
Last but not least and perhaps the most important of all is an open mind. With an open mind, we come to enjoy and have a good yoga practice. Yoga is not about being perfect or even good in every pose. Remind yourself that all you really need is the willingness to be with yourself in breath and body for 60 minutes, and do the best you can while don’t forget to have fun.
The Must have Items for Hot Yoga Classes
Practicing Hot Yoga requires some planning and products. If you practice hot yoga classes regularly, it is good to invest in good quality must-have products. Here are a few of products I like.
Best Hot Yoga Mat
A Good yoga mat is essential to have a good yoga practice. I have tried many yoga mats claimed to make for hot yoga, but none that I like more than the Jade’s Harmony Yoga Mat.
You can see my yoga mat review by clicking here. It totally transforms my yoga practice, and I can’t imagine to use other yoga mat.
Stainless Steel Water Flask
A well-insulated water flask is a must-have item for me to keep my water cold even in a heated class. I have a few of water flasks but one that I like the Iron Mask the best. It is reasonably priced. It has slick design and comes with 3 types of lid
Best Yoga Towel for Hot Yoga
If you do not have a non-slip hot yoga mat, a good yoga towel is a good alternative to lay out on your yoga mat. I don’t often use a yoga towel.
It is recommended to not wipe off your sweat and keep on practicing even when you sweat a lot. Personally, this does not work for me. I always bring a regular towel into my hot yoga practice. For some challenging pose, I need to wipe off the excess sweat so I won’t slip and slide. Even you think you don’t need it, bring one anyway. If you happen to need one, it is already there so you don’t have to run out of yoga class and interrupt yourself and other’s practice.