The idea of performing complex yoga poses in an intensely heated room with added humidity may seem like an intimidating concept that makes you wonder “is hot yoga really good for you”.. However, with a little research, you’ll find that hot yoga really is good for you and is incredibly accessible to both expert and beginner yogis.
In fact, in addition to being a great choice for “newbies”, hot yoga comes with a wide range of benefits that can dramatically enhance your health.
If you’re considering signing up for your hot yoga class, read on for more information on its many benefits and what to expect.
The History of Hot Yoga
While it may seem like a western fitness craze today, hot yoga (also known as Bikram yoga) has long been seen as a form of meditation and connection to the universe.
The center of hot yoga, and any yoga practice, is a consistent focus on your breath that should be maintained no matter how intense the pose may be.
The Bhagavad Gita encourages the practice of yoga as a way to discipline the mind and center ones thoughts.
While your thoughts might be less than tranquil during those first few challenging poses, you’ll find that as you progress and focus on your breath work it will become easier and easier to slip into a state of zen.
Today the meditational element of hot yoga will depend on where you practice. However, many of the traditional mantras are still a quintessential part of most yoga classes.
How to Prepare for Your First Hot Yoga Class
Before trying any new fitness class or exercise regimen, it’s important to first speak with your doctor to get the okay.
From here you may want to try a standard vinyasa yoga class to get associated with how a yoga class works, particularly if you’ve never attended one before.
Bikram yoga classes involve the same 27 poses no matter what studio you go to. This is why it may help to look up Bikram poses ahead of time to get a good idea of what to expect.
As you may have guessed, hot yoga class means lots of sweating. Drinking plenty of water the day before is a great way to stay hydrated during class and to avoid feeling dizzy or light headed.
It’s suggested that you drink up to a liter of water the day before. However, be sure to drink small amounts throughout the day as drinking a large amount of water in one sitting could lead to health problems.
The Benefits of Hot Yoga
There are a number of benefits associated with hot yoga and what it can do for your body and your mind.
First, practicing the poses repeatedly will help build your flexibility while enhancing overall muscle strength.
Yoga is a great way to get in a strong workout without having to use heavy weights, which is ideal if you’re looking for a toned physique without wanting to bulk up.
As intimidating as it may sound, hot yoga actually makes yoga poses easier.
That’s because the heat relaxes your muscles increasing your flexibility. In fact, you may find that it’s easier to do some poses in a hot yoga class than it is to do them at home.
The process of sweating throughout your hot yoga class is also a great way to detox your body and get rid of any chemical build upon your body.
This can reduce your chance of getting colds and can even leave you with glowing skin.
Finally, sticking to a hot yoga practice can dramatically reduce your overall stress levels and inflammation.
What to Bring to a Hot Yoga Class
Most yoga studios will provide you with a yoga mat. But if it makes you more comfortable, feel free to bring your own.
Considering the temperature and humidity of a hot yoga class, it helps to wear clothes that are breathable and won’t make you overheat.
Avoid fabrics like cotton, that hold onto moisture.
You will also want to bring a full water bottle and two small towels, one to wipe the sweat from your body and another to wipe the sweat from your mat.
Using a yoga blanket over your mat is also a great way to avoid practicing on a slippery surface.
What to Remember During Your Yoga Practice
It’s easy to glance around a yoga studio and start to compare yourself to others, especially in the beginning.
It’s important to remember that each yoga practice is unique, and that the only person to compare yourself to is who you were in your last class.
Go at your own pace and listen to your body, especially when dealing with the intense environment of a hot yoga classroom.
If you feel light headed or overwhelmed, return to child pose or stop to have a drink until you feel better.
Remember, the original purpose of yoga is moving meditation. Use this as a time away from the stress and expectations of your day and focus on what your body is telling you.
Finding the Right Hot Yoga Studio for You
While hot yoga comes with a number of benefits, it’s important to remember that not all yoga classes are created equally.
When looking for the right studio for you, you want to find an instructor that honors wherever you are in your practice while gently bringing you to your next stage of progress.
You also want a studio that kept clean and provides everything you need to truly focus on your yoga practice.
If you’re still looking for your new yoga home, we suggest checking out our blog for more information on classes and studio options.
Consider it the next step towards being able to namaste your way.