Simply put, hot yoga is any type of yoga practiced in a heated environment. Hot yoga allows the practitioner to safely come deeper into asanas (poses or stretches) and helps the body to expel toxins through perspiration. Room temperature can range from 91 to 95 degrees and humidity is often between 50% and 60%. Hot yoga has really gained a steady and loyal following in the last 2 decades.
The room is heated to warm the muscles and induce sweat. Warm muscles are capable of stretching further and are less prone to injury. The heat further acts to increase the pulse and burn more calories. Heat also dilates capillaries, distributing oxygen more effectively throughout the body. The primary function of sweat is to cool an overheated body through evaporation. It is believed that sweat also helps to eliminate waste and toxins from the body while stimulating both metabolism and immune system. The body works harder to stay cool while the mind works to focus in a challenging environment.
At Hot Salutations, we use ceiling mounted heater panels for even temperature distribution and portable humidifiers for a total Hot Yoga experience.
The Benefits of Hot Yoga
- Flexibility – Athletes know that stretching muscles increases flexibility. Cold muscles are more likely to tear when stretched, and heat lets the practitioner get deeper into poses. Hot yoga can help improve range of motion, prevent injuries, and help aid in healing from previous injury.
- Stress Relief – The latest research has established that lowering stress levels can improve health in several ways. Reduced stress levels lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduces risk of injury and illness, improves sleep – which is vital to the immune system, and improves mood. Exercise, deep breathing, and meditation all help to reduce stress and hot yoga combines all three.
- Immune System – An increase in core body temperature simulates fever-like conditions in the body. This helps to combat viruses, infection and bacteria through the increase of white blood cell production, interferon, and antibodies. Stress is known to compromise the immune system, so activities that reduce stress also reduce susceptibility to illness.
- Aches, injuries and arthritis – As the body ages it loses its ability to properly lubricate the joints, including the vertebrae in the back. The result is stiffness, aches and general discomfort. Hot Yoga promotes joint lubrication and many new students report an almost immediate improvement in joint health.
- Increased Performance – Athletes often adopt hot yoga to improve performance in other activities because of the benefits described above. Further, yoga’s requisite breath control improves both cardiovascular and anaerobic performance.
- Weight Loss – Many people turn to hot yoga because of its potential to addresses several aspects of weight loss. Hot yoga increases the pulse rate because the body must work to regulate temperature through perspiration. Along with this extra demand comes an increase in calories expended without the joint trauma associated with higher impact forms of exercise like running. It is also believed that hot yoga can increase oxidation of fat cells. Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It is released primarily in response to stress. Cortisol makes the body to hold on to fat. Stress can also lead to stress-eating or self-medication. Studies have demonstrated a drop in cortisol levels after yoga practice.