Article Written by Home Doctor Brisbane Team
There are many health benefits of hot yoga however you need to take into consideration your own fitness level and overall health first.
Trying to exercise outside in summer is impossible for most of us. We generally try to avoid it to avoid sweltering in the heat. So, why do yogis voluntarily break a sweat in a room that’s hotter than a scorching summer’s day?
Not to be confused with bikram yoga, hot yoga is basically a regular yoga class taken in a heated room that’s between 30 and 40 degrees. The practice involves moving through different poses, depending on the style being taught. Either way, it involves sweating buckets.
Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine puts it hilariously well: “if you’ve ever loitered at the door of a hot yoga studio, you could be forgiven for thinking the class burned as many calories as a camel crossing the Sahara.”
Hot yoga teachers swear by the benefits of this practice. Let’s face it, if you’re in downward dog in high temperatures you want to be sure it’s good for your body. You need to be able to justify flowing through Chaturanga as sweat gushes down your face and drips on your mat. Yes, that actually happens at hot yoga.
A warning though, according to the University of California “there has been little published research on the health benefits and risks of hot yoga and none comparing it to other forms of yoga”.
Health experts have also raised concerns about exercising in extreme heat. They have also questioned the benefits of hot yoga claimed by instructors due to the lack of science-based evidence.
We’re not trying to talk you out of trying hot yoga but it’s important. As you read through the benefits touted by teachers, you’re aware of the risks and take into consideration your own fitness level and overall health first.
Benefits of hot yoga:
1. Hot yoga makes stretching easier and improves flexibility
New York yoga instructor Taj Harris told Huffington Post a hot yoga class is like a physical therapy session with heat packs or a massage with hot stones.
“The heat allows the body to be more supple. It increases joint lubrication as well as flexibility in muscles,” Ms Harris said.
“People like to sweat, they enjoy the way their body feels after a nice heated stretch.
“I have had the pleasure of watching some students work through tightness, strains and pains with a regular hot yoga practice.”
2. Hot yoga helps with weight loss and muscle tone
Melbourne instructor Amy King wrote about hot yoga in Women’s Health Magazine. She says yogis can burn between 500 and 1,000 calories per class
“People are often surprised by the strength work in hot yoga,” Ms King said.
“They think it is all about stretching – and there is a lot of mobility work – but we also focus on toning the core.
“The result? A long and lean body shape.”
But, it’s not just about the physical changes.
“Weight normalisation is about finding balance. All the work we do on the mat helps you become exquisitely self-aware, but also wonderfully balanced and deeply content,” she said.
“This helps transform your relationship with what and how you eat.”
3. Hot yoga improves your skin
With the amount of sweat that pours out in a hot yoga class you’d think your body would release a whole bunch of toxins, apparently not. While it feels really good to sweat it out, it seems the idea sweating releases toxins is a “myth”.
But, according to dermatologist Leslie Caudill “with increased heat and sweating, hot yoga opens up the pores and allows impurities to be removed from the skin”.
“The humidity adds moisture which maintains the skin’s hydration status giving it that natural glow.
“The exercise itself increases circulation in the body. By increasing circulation, you increase oxygen delivery which leads to better skin health and better appearance of the skin.”
There are many benefits of hot yoga however there are many precautions you should take in order to stay safe. If you had an injury and it is after-hours call House Call Doctor at 13 55 66 to send out a home doctor in Sunshine Coast.