Is it hot in here or is it just… some yoga? If you’ve been looking to take your exercise routine to new heights or have simply been wanting to elevate your existing yoga sessions, you’re going to want to listen up (and get your mat ready)! Hot yoga has become increasingly popular over the years and for good reason, too. From boosting mood to building muscle, this practice is notorious for kicking your heart, lungs, muscle, and mind into high gear. To learn more about some of our favorite health benefits of hot yoga, keep reading!
What is Hot Yoga?
Simply put, hot yoga is just like regular yoga, but completed in a heated room with temperatures ranging between 80 and 100°F with 40 percent added humidity. Quite the sticky conditions, we know. But that’s the point!
The intense sweating yogis experience during a hot yoga class (which is typically 90 minutes) is what contributes to the abundance of health benefits this form of exercise has to offer. The heat also helps to deepen your body into the 26 asanas (poses) of hot yoga, some of which include Balancing Stick (Tuladandasana) and Hot Style Tree (Vriksasana).
And although silence is often the norm during yoga classes, hot yoga can, at times, incorporate upbeat tunes to get your body going and even encourage conversation among instructors and participants.
Health Benefits of Hot Yoga
If the extreme heat hasn’t put you off this popular practice, below are some health benefits of hot yoga to check out!
Boosts Mood + Reduces Stress
Wish you could spring out of bed like a Jack in the Box with a smile on your face? Then hot yoga might be worth considering!
Any form of breathing, meditation, and stretching is bound to give your mood a boost and hot yoga incorporates just that! Think about it. When you’re relaxed, you don’t have a care in the world. You feel joy within yourself and your surroundings. With this comes the release of dopamine and serotonin, two types of neurotransmitters in the brain that’re responsible for that happy, giddy feeling.
Simply put, when you’re immersed in this calming activity, you’re sweating out all the bad and breathing in all the good, releasing the tension that’s often associated with daily stressors. As you move through these therapeutic motions, remaining focused and relaxed, your mind is at. This in turn lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels, making you feel as calm as a cucumber. Anxiety, who? Negativity? We don’t know her. Bad vibes? Nope.
Who doesn’t want to be as flexible as a pretzel?
There’s no surprise that hot yoga increases your ability to stretch your muscles out. Whether it’s your lower back, shoulders, or hamstrings, this heated activity improves overall mobility. When you’re in cooler conditions, your muscles lose heat and contract, leading to tightness and loss of motion. But when your body is engulfed by sauna-like conditions, stiffness and soreness are a rarity. The external heat enhances the stretching process and allows your body to effortlessly transition from pose to pose without difficulty and even improves your range of motion. Do, however, keep your body’s limits in mind. Just because the warm temperatures make you feel like you can be easily shaped and bent like Silly Putty, take it slow!
Burns Calories + Builds Muscle
If your concerns are like Regina George’s, you’re going to want to listen up!
Like regular yoga, hot yoga can be one heck of a calorie burner. And while many believe the heated practice yields better results than traditional yoga, it hasn’t been proven. Regardless, hot yoga is still an effective form of exercise to help you achieve your weight-loss goals. The heat increases heart rate and pushes your body to work harder, especially when it comes to cooling itself down. The sweat you produce also helps boost your metabolism. Simply put, the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn. And we can’t forget those challenging poses your body is being twisted and turned into, which also get your heart pumping, helping to build lean muscle. A toned and sculpted bod? Yes, please. Improved stability and balance? Sign us up!
Enhances Lung Capacity
Birds are super-efficient breathers, and with a lil’ hot yoga, you can become one, too!
Proper breathing is extremely important in any form of yoga. It allows you to establish a strong, mindful connection not only with your emotional, mental, and physical state but also with the Divine. The union of your human self (your body and mind) with your divine self (your spirit) is at the heart of this practice, so it’s no surprise that deep breathing is crucial. And this type of breathing not only enhances lung capacity, but also relieves pain, reduces stress, supports correct posture, and more. It also helps you avoid injury, which is necessary when moving through complex positions. Hot yoga also offers a variety of breathing techniques that’re not offered in traditional yoga. For a more in-depth look into the types of yoga breathing practices, click here.
And that’s a wrap, folks! We hope you enjoyed learning about the health benefits of hot yoga and are looking forward to turning up the heat with this popular mind and body practice. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 21st, which happens to be both the first Monday of summer and International Yoga Day, as we’ll be sharing some tips for how you can take your indoor yoga class outside! Until then, follow us on socials and let us know if you’re an advanced yogi or a beginner! If you’re the former, we’d love to know what some of your favorite poses are. Bye for now!