While yoga has been popular for quite some time, one of the latest trends in fitness is hot yoga. Also known as Bikram yoga, these are yoga classes conducted in extremely hot rooms, with temperatures of up to 105 degrees fahrenheit. This is certainly more challenging than typical yoga classes, so why are people signing up for these classes? It turns out that there are several important benefits to doing hot yoga.
1. Stress Relief
Hot yoga is very effective for stress relief. Practicing yoga postures in a heated room while concentrating on taking long, full breaths calms the mind as well as the body. While you may feel like you’re working hard during the class itself, afterwards you are likely to feel much more relaxed. Many people also find that this practice helps them sleep better at night.
2. Encourages Deep Breathing
As anyone who has ever taken a yoga class knows, breathing deeply is one of the fundamental tenets of any style of yoga. This, however, is not always easy to learn. A hot environment actually forces you to breathe deeply. You will naturally breathe more deeply to ensure that your body gets enough oxygen. While this may be grueling, it’s actually good for you. As you learn how to breathe more fully, you’ll be able to do so even when you’re not in a hot yoga class.
3. Teaches You Discipline
At first, holding yoga positions while you’re sweating profusely may seem very difficult. In a more gentle exercise class, you might be able to get away with letting your mind wander. In a hot yoga class you will be compelled to give the task at hand your full attention. This teaches you to be focused and disciplined, an ability that is important in all areas of life.
4. Helps Your Body to Detox
A hot yoga class is one of the best ways to detoxify your body. When you sweat, your body releases all kinds of toxins. This occurs to some extent in any hot environment, such as a sauna or sweat lodge as well. With hot yoga, however, you are combining the heat with the benefits of the yoga postures. This creates a powerful form of detoxing that is beneficial for your overall health.
5. Helps You Gain Flexibility
It’s well known that many yoga positions require a certain amount of flexibility. It’s also true that you can get more flexible through consistent practice. Hot yoga accelerates this process. You’ll find that the heat naturally makes you more flexible. This not only helps you do the postures with better form, it reduces the chances of injuries that can occur when you push yourself too far.
6. Gives You a Great Cardio Workout
Most yoga, despite its many benefits, doesn’t provide you with much of a cardio workout. Hot yoga, on the other hand, definitely adds cardio to the list of benefits. This is good for your heart and it also means you’re burning up more calories. This makes hot yoga a more complete form of exercise than most other types of yoga.
These are some of the reasons that hot yoga is getting so popular. It’s a form of fitness that has a multitude of benefits for people of all ages. Whether your goals include weight loss, stress relief or greater strength and flexibility, you can find all of this and more with hot yoga. At first it may seem difficult, but once you get into it you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort!