Yes… yes we do that hot yoga! The heat is such a great tool when practicing yoga.
But I can’t stand getting all hot and sweaty… I’d workout more if I didn’t get all sweaty…
Right – and you’d eat more broccoli if it tasted like chocolate.
Listen… if you’re serious about being fit, you have to be willing to get all hot and sweaty. If I don’t get all sweaty, I question whether or not the workout was worth my time. If I’m going to take the time out of my busy schedule to exercise, it better be worth it.
I embrace the heat, and here’s why you should too:
3 Reasons to Embrace Hot Yoga
BE SMART: There is such thing as too much heat. You should consult a health professional before adding heat to your exercise routines. You should also consider going to a studio or gym where trained professionals control the heat.
1 – You’ll Burn More Calories In Hot Yoga
Your body is hardwired to maintain it’s temperature. When you’re in a warmer room or out on a hot day, your body has to work to stay cool. That work burns calories. So, when you start your workout in a warm room, and allow that room to keep getting warmer as you increase intensity, your body is working to keep up with the exercise AND to maintain your body temperature.
According to an article on LIVESTRONG.com, “Heart rate increases when heat is gained by the body such as in hot climates and during exercise in order to transfer more heat away from the body. When the body loses heat such as in cold weather or a cold shower, heart rate decreases to preserve core temperature.”
2 – Your Muscles Are More Flexible When They Are Warm
Think about it… your back is tight and aching. You get into a warm shower and within minutes you feel the pain easing and the muscles starting to relax.
Prevention Magazine published a study on stretching, in which the researchers measured stretches at room temperature vs stretches in a sauna, “…stretching in the sauna led to a 205% improvement in flexibility…”
So, practicing hot yoga can offer you the opportunity to get deeper into stretching poses. If you haven’t already, try a hip opener like Sleeping Pigeon in a hot room. You’ll feel the tension and tightness just melt away from your hips and low back.
3 – You Will Sweat – And Sweating is Really Good for You!
Sweating offers health benefits and a few beauty benefits as well.
The biggest health benefits come in the form of detoxification. Whether you’re trying to rid your body of bad food choices, a few too many glasses of wine, medications or germs and bacteria – sweating is a great way to detoxify. Your skin and your glands hold toxins that are naturally trying to make their way out of your body… sweating helps release them sooner than later.
Though you may feel like an ugly mess when you’re sweating, that slimy sheen is actually helping make your skin look better. Sweating opens your pours and helps wash away dirt, makeup and other build-up that can lead to breakouts, blackheads and bumpy patches. Plus, though it’s salty, sweat is mostly water. So, sweating brings moisture through your skin, hydrating it from the inside out which can reduce wrinkles and give you a youthful glow.
Sweat does bring the “gunk” out of your skin, but most of it will sit on top of your skin until you take a shower to wash it away. So, be sure to time your sweaty workouts so that you can jump in a shower as you stop sweating. This will allow you to wash the toxins away and ensure that the sweat doesn’t re-clog pores.
Embrace the Heat and Remember the Water
The biggest key to successfully using heat in your workouts is to drink a LOT of water. If you don’t make a conscious effort to replenish the water you’ll lose in sweat and energy, you’ll end up with a killer headache, nausea and muscle cramps. Honestly, you’ll feel like crap.
So, think about hydration before you step into that hot class.
Before I go to a hot yoga class, or a vinyasa practice where I know I’ll be generating quite a bit of heat of my own, I guzzle a big 32 oz bottle of water. I fill that back up to sip on throughout the class and chug whatever is left at the end before filling it back up to guzzle once again. I fill the bottle back up again and keep it with me for the rest of the day.
Give Heat a Try
Find a yoga studio near you and take a hot yoga class. Many beginners think that Bikram Yoga is the only option for hot yoga… but that’s not true. Most studios will list class descriptions that mention the room temperature. Vinyasa and Ashtanga practices typically include heat.
We’d love to hear what you think about hot yoga!