Feed the fire with hot yoga
Hot yoga has the power to transform your life. The question is: are you ready to step into the hot room?
If the cold winter months are getting you down, then hot yoga is exactly what you need to move on up. While there are lots of different styles and classes out there, in essence, hot yoga is simply a yoga class that takes place in a room heated above normal room temperature.
The actual temperature and humidity levels will vary, but one thing is for sure...you will sweat. A lot! Hot yoga is a powerful and nurturing practice for all levels, whether you're a beginner, a more advanced student, or somewhere in between. It facilitates safe, deep stretching and a detoxifying sweat that will make you feel amazing, inside and out.
The heated room is said to aid stretching and offer a safer environment in improving your overall strength and flexibility. It's also a great way to detox and de-stress, all within a sauna-like environment. Many practitioners will tell you that it can change your life.
Again, classes will vary, but often these may follow specific alignment and timing principles that are systematically designed to work and rejuvenate your entire body, creating balance, strength and flexibility.
There are so many benefits to yoga, generally, but hot yoga turns up the dial even higher.
Here are some common examples often cited: it removes toxins, improves flexibility and joint mobility, promotes healing, reduces muscle stiffness and pain, increases circulation, improves skin conditions, promotes weight loss, enhances heart function, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and speeds recovery.
With a consistent hot yoga practice, anything is possible, but if you are new to the game, then you might want to take on board a few things first:
- Stay hydrated
If you’re sweating a lot (and you will) make sure you stay hydrated before, during and after your class. Keep a drink with you in the class to sip as you go.
- Wear appropriate clothing
You’ll be working out in a sweltering room with lots of other bodies, so wear suitable clothing (preferably garments that are easy to wash). You may look fab in your boho chic yoga outfit but leave that one at home for the hot room. Generally speaking, less is more.
- Get a grip(py mat)
Some mats get extra grippy the more you sweat on them. These are great for hot yoga. Some people also place a yoga mat towel down over their mat.
- Bring a towel
You’ll need a towel to wipe away all the sweat during your practice. You’ll probably be able to use one provided by the studio but it’s so much nicer if you have your own.
- Listen to your body
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your hot yoga body be! If you’re new to hot yoga, then take it easy. If you need to take a break, or even step out of class to get fresh air and cool down, then do so. Some teachers may advise you not to leave the hot room during class, and just rest in child’s pose, but always listen to your body.
- Shower after class
Ideally, take a shower straight after class to wash off the sweat and any toxins that have accumulated on the surface of the skin. Plus you’ll feel amazing afterwards!
- Seek expert advice
If you have any pre-existing conditions, or if you’re worried about anything at all, then consult your doctor and be sure to check in with your teacher as well to highlight any concerns.
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First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.