There has been a significant increase in the popularity of hot yoga. It has been credited with various benefits such as increased muscle flexibility and reduced warm-up time. Even though hot yoga is safe for most people, it has been observed to cause problems for some people. These include overstretching and dehydration. In very severe cases, it can result in heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The secret behind performing hot yoga safely is to drink a lot of water, not to put too much pressure on yourself in class and to stop if the heat proves too much for you.
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This article examines the somewhat controversial nature of hot yoga. It seeks to establish the benefits of this wellness practice , whether it is dangerous, and therefore steps to perform it safely.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is yoga performed in a heated room with a temperature range of between 80 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with the humidity at 40 per cent. The raised levels of heat and humidity give a warmth that makes muscles more flexible, therefore giving the body a greater range of motion. Also, the heat challenges you to remain focused under such extreme conditions.
What are the benefits of hot yoga?
When it comes to body movements, the body does not perform as well in cold temperatures as in warmer ones . In the environment where hot yoga is done, your muscles relax, and it becomes easier to perform exercises as your body is more flexible . As your body will already be warm, you will need a shorter warm-up time for the exercises, thus saving on time.
Furthermore, performing yoga poses in a super-heated room can have a myriad of health benefits. More scientific research is needed to fully reveal the benefits of hot yoga, however some studies have already proven the following benefits:
- Aids in detoxification or elimination of contaminants from the skin
- Enables the practice of deeper yoga postures, as the body is more flexible thanks to the heat
- The heart beats faster due to the heat, thereby providing a cardiovascular workout The rate of metabolism is improved so the burning of calories is enhanced
- Improves body immunity
- Improves body balance, stability and control
- The rate of blood flow is increased, causing the blood vessels to dilate , resulting in improved circulation
- Boosts the production of T-cells
- Breathing is improved, enabling the body to relax
- Brings about mental concentration
Is hot yoga dangerous?
As with any strenuous exercise, there are risks related to the activity. Hot yoga is not a dangerous activity in itself, but since it is a vigorous practice done in a heated room , it can pose some dangers if caution is not observed
An important point to note is that hot yoga is not for everyone due to the level of intensity involved and the possibility of causing heat-related problems or sicknesses. For those with certain health conditions, it would be better to first consult their physician before engaging in any activity that takes place in extreme conditions.
Some of the health conditions linked to hot yoga include dehydration, inability to withstand heat or heat-related sickness such as heat stroke. Pregnant women must also exercise utmost caution when working out in humid heat.
How to perform hot yoga safely?
Drinking lots of water before, during and after the class will you avoid heat exhaustion. Also, the yogis’ ability to detect any muscle pain or any strain during the training, as well as knowing the signs of dizziness are crucial to not endanger health. Take a break and drink some water should you start to feel ill . It is also essential to stick to your limit while practicing hot yoga, as each person has a threshold. Letting your ego push the boundaries may result problems. Respect the body’s feeling to stop that pushing hard may bring about.
To enjoy hot yoga, you must learn how to accurately perform it , comprehend the concept and feel something unique so that you will want to go back for another session. You must keep your mind ready, expect challenges and understand how you feel during the class . To take care of your well being, drink plenty of water before, during and after the session to replace lost minerals and electrolytes.
You must avoid the temptation to compete with others – hot yoga is not a competition or a race. You need to put aside your thoughts and concentrate on the moment . Take every workout session at your own rate. Take a break during the class when your body needs some rest. Avoid the unhealthy habit of comparing yourself to other. You also need to let go of any pride and focus on your talents and capabilities. You must also be aware that it will take your body some days before you notice any change in flexibility and strength . This is perfectly reasonable, as our bodies are always changing.
Once in the hot yoga room, you should let the heat do its wonders on your muscles . You also need to allow your body to relax , take deep breaths and consciously feel the heat with your body. All these elements of yoga bring forth the connection between the mind and the body.