Whether you are an experienced yogi looking to deepen your yoga practice, or a new yogi who wants to experience all of what yoga has to offer, hot yoga is guaranteed to be a completely unique yoga experience.
Hot yoga is a yoga style that is practiced in hot and humid conditions, typically heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. Each 60- or 90-minute class will offer a series of postures that aim to contract and strengthen your muscles and raise your heart rate to create an amazing yoga experience with cardiovascular benefits.
While Bikram yoga is one of the more popular, mainstream forms of hot yoga, it’s important to note that it’s not the only form. Many disciplines of yoga can be practiced – and are practiced – in varying degrees of heat and humidity. With all these varieties of hot yoga, you’ll have even more incentive and motivation to try it after you explore the amazing benefits of any hot yoga practice.
Here are 8 benefits of hot yoga:
1. Improve Your Awareness
During hot yoga, you will be engulfed in new sensations, but you will learn to focus and calm your mind, without letting that stray hair or drip of sweat steal your attention. During your first few sun salutations, your body will begin to build heat and produce sweat. You will be keenly aware of every muscle that you are working and how it feels to be holding a particular pose. This is where the meditative element of hot yoga kicks in. There will be distraction; the goal is to focus your awareness beyond the distraction of the heat, your sweat, and the typical challenges of a yoga practice. Over time, this undivided concentration will cultivate a deeper level of awareness on and off the mat.
2. Improve Your Ujjayi Breath
The temperature and humidity of the room will make the air more dense, which will require you to use more energy to breathe throughout the class. This is the perfect opportunity to apply your increased level of awareness (see #1) and focus it on your Ujjayi breathing! Ujjayi, commonly referred to as “ocean breath,” involves constricting the back of your throat as you inhale and exhale. This form of Pranayama breathing is used to calm and focus the mind and body, making it the perfect partner for your hot yoga practice.
3. Improve Your Skin
Hot yoga will make you sweat – a lot. That sweat pulls the toxins out of your pores, leaving your skin looking and feeling refreshed. Ditch the face masks and pore strips – hot yoga is an all-natural way to cleanse and detoxify your pores, leaving you with a radiant, hydrated complexion for a fresh and youthful appearance. From head to toe, your skin will feel hydrated and moisturized long after you step off the mat.
4. Increase your Flexibility
The heat gently increases your flexibility by relaxing the moving components of the body, from the joints to the tendons and muscles, allowing them to give way to a deeper stretch. The heat will gently loosen the fascia, a saran wrap-like tissue that encases your muscles, helping you achieve a deeper stretch safely. With a consistent hot yoga practice, you will notice that your pigeon will deepen, your splits will widen, and a variety of other poses will evolve in the new space you have created in your body. As the sweat leaves your pores, with it goes some of the tightness in your body.
5. Indicates Your Diet
Your sweat is telling you something. Just by the smell or thickness of your sweat, you have an indication of your body’s nutritional state. A sweet smell indicates a high level of sugar in the body, whereas sour-smelling sweat means you may be consuming too much dairy. Salty sweat means that you eat a lot of carbs, and if your sweat is thicker than normal in consistency, you may be eating too many foods with gluten. Ever smell that yogi next to you on a Saturday morning who reeks like beer or vodka? Odds are they indulged – or over-indulged – the night before. Who would’ve thought sweat could tell us so much?
6. Compliments Other Physical Activities
Hot yoga can help you improve your overall physical prowess on and off the mat. It increases your range of motion, stretches tight muscles and tendons, and strengthens your body overall. Hot yoga is a great complement to your strength training regimen. You can alternate hot yoga with strength training days to ensure balance in your body’s strength and flexibility. If you are a runner or a swimmer, hot yoga can help gain tremendous control and capacity of your breath and help you remain focused on the finish line. Golfing yogis experience an increased range of motion in their swing and overall performance. No matter your sport of choice, hot yoga will support and enrich your athletic lifestyle.
7. Energizes Your Body and Mind
As you progress through your heated practice, you will feel a deep surge of energy throughout your entire body. That energy will follow you out of the studio and into your daily activities. Compared to the thick, humid air in the studio, the outside world is cool and light. You will feel a sense of ease and grace in your body, but also in your mind, from the way you walk to the way you think. You will go through your day knowing that you have accomplished something spectacular, and that positivity and awakened energy will radiate out of every one of your pores.
8. Relaxes Your Body and Mind
While hot yoga supplies you with lasting energy throughout your day, it simultaneously calms, de-stresses, and relaxes your mind and body, leaving you feeling balanced and in control. No matter what else the world throws at you that day, if you can make it through a challenging hot yoga practice, you know you can confidently accomplish anything you set your mind to.
If you have not tried hot yoga yet, what are you waiting for? When you are ready to tackle your first class, remember to stay hydrated before, during, and after your hot yoga practice. Wear comfortable clothes and wear a headband and/or keep a towel handy to catch the sweat that will drip down your face. Also, bring a towel for your yoga mat to catch your sweat, increase your grip, and prevent slipping. Once you have these basics covered, get ready to experience yoga unlike you ever have before!
Read more: http://www.yogiapproved.com/yoga/8-benefits-of-hot-yoga/