Hot yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise combined with relaxation. It’s performed in a heated room, usually above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. There are many different forms, with Bikram yoga being the most popular. While many people swear by the effects of this type of yoga, it’s not for everyone. We’re here to give you the pros and cons.
What Is Hot Yoga?
A man from India by the name of Bikram Choudhury invented the hot form of yoga. Back in the 1970s in San Francisco, Choudhury opened a studio. He believed the excessive heat helped the body move better and remove impurities in the body. Today there are different types of these classes. All of them involve the main ingredients of excessive heat and yoga poses.
9 Pros of Hot Yoga
1 – Overall Benefits of Yoga
Basic yoga has been around for thousands of years. It combines breathing, stretching, and posing, helping to connect your body and mind. Most people use it as a meditation technique as well. The overall health benefits of yoga include a mental health boost, help with asthma, alleviate back pain, and relax the body.
2 – Detoxes Your Skin
This type of yoga is just plain hot. The benefits of yoga in a heated environment start with sweating a ton. Your body naturally sweats a lot in temperatures over 100 degrees, helping to detox your skin. Every pore of your body is sweating. All of the sweat leaving your body means you’re getting rid of impurities and toxins in your skin. Your body is cooling off by sweating as well as giving yourself a natural facial.
3 – Reduces Depression
Cortisol levels often lower during yoga in excessive heat. This stress hormone often limits the production of serotonin. Yoga combines meditation with working out, meaning the positive thinking combined with endorphins lowers cortisol levels. Yoga alone might not be able to cure depression, but it can boost your endorphin levels.
4 – Provides A Challenge
Many people love a good workout challenge. The feeling of running a marathon is one of the benefits of yoga. That feeling afterward of completion is something many people crave. Getting through a 90-minute yoga class gives that feeling to many in a class. It’s not easy, but it’s fulfilling. Once they figure out the poses and realize they’ve pushed through an entire class sweating and posing, a feeling of accomplishment washes over them.
5 – Increased Flexibility
Flexibility is just one of the many benefits of yoga. Add heat to regular yoga, and you have the perfect equation to increase flexibility. Many people stretch when it’s cold outside, making it dangerous for muscles. High temperatures and high humidity help muscles to bend and flex easier. Muscles become loose, making it easier to get into yoga poses.
6 – Good For Your Lungs
Those that have asthma aren’t advised to take a yoga class with intense heat. If you don’t have lung issues, the heat in the room is great for your breathing capacity. The air in the room is hot and humid, opening your airways. This makes breathing easier letting you rid of excess air in your lungs.
7 – It’s Different
The great thing many people love about this type of yoga is it’s different than your everyday workout. Instead of lifting weights and running, you’re pushing your mind and body differently. You get to work on freeing the mind of the day and bend in different ways. It’s not a high-intensity cardio workout as if you were running on a treadmill. However, you feel like you ran a marathon after the class is over. Many people that crave a change in their workout routine find it.
8 – May Help Boost Immune System
This type of yoga might help your immune system. Many illnesses can get worse or better, depending on our body’s energy. If the body is stressed and down, our energy is usually off, leading us to get sick due to being drained. Yoga isn’t a magic pill. However, it can help the body function at a higher level due to being better balanced, both emotionally and mentally.
9 – Alleviate Joint Pain
Yoga done in excessive heat can do wonders for joint pain. Many people that do this type of yoga say it helps alleviate their pain. Muscles get stronger as they work to do each pose and stretch. This means they are better able to support the joints enabling better movement. Many people with arthritis do yoga in the heat to help alleviate their pain.
9 Cons of Hot Yoga
1 – May Cause Dehydration
Yoga in extreme heat is works the mind and body for over an hour. In such high temperatures, the body profusely sweats. The more water your body loses, the more you become dehydrated. This is why it’s important to drink as much water as possible in the 24 hours leading up to it. Continue to drink water after you leave the class as well to replenish the fluid lost during it.
2 – Heat-Related Illness
Many people need to make sure their body is ready for the toll of the heat and intensity of a yoga class in a room over 100 degrees. The heat and intensity of the class can cause heat-related illnesses. It’s important to speak with your doctor before a class if you have a history of heart disease, frequent dehydration, are pregnant, and/or have had a heat stroke.
3 – You May Injure Yourself
You’re bending and flexing in new ways during each yoga class. If you push yourself too hard, you could tear a ligament or hurt your muscles. Be ready to try new poses while knowing your body’s limitations. Stop when your body hurts. You’re already pushing it with the high temperature, so be careful when adding new poses. As with any new workout, it’s important to monitor your body. Yoga is all about working with the joints and muscles to help them stretch easier, but it can also be harmful if you keep pushing without listening to those joints and muscles.
4 – It’s Time Consuming
Most Bikram classes last about 90 minutes. For some people, that’s a short workout, but for others, that is too much time. It can take a large chunk out of a busy day. You’re also going to sweat a ton, so you need to take more time for a shower.
5 – It’s Not A Place To Rehab The Body
Some people enter a Bikram yoga class thinking the stretches will help heal their injuries. This class is a good place to stretch joints and ligaments to help alleviate pain if the body is not injured. If you have an injury, you could be pushing your body to extreme measures. This could further injure it. Go to a rehabilitation clinic to repair injuries. Leave hot yoga class for after your body is healed.
6 – It’s Not A Rapid Weight Loss Secret
Many people enroll in hot yoga thinking it will help them lose weight. Some do it thinking they can detox the body from years of eating junk food with one class. Most of the weight people lose during a class is water weight. This means it isn’t truly killing fat cells.
Although yoga, over the long-term, is useful in losing weight, it is not a wham-bam magical weight loss solution.
7 – It’s Not Really A High-Intensity Workout
Many people join heated yoga classes thinking they’ll go in to burn a million calories due to the heat and shed a few dress sizes in a class. Yoga in intense heat is actually a bit of a low-intensity workout. This class’s benefits to the body are more about stretching to better move and sweating away toxins. It’s about the overall health effects of exercise instead of a quick fix. Those looking to burn off their pizza pigout session may burn a lot of calories, but won’t necessarily melt away unwanted fat cells.
8 – Not A Hangover Solution
Some people enter a yoga class thinking they’ll get rid of a hangover. It’s not the cure to prevent the aftermath of your alcohol-fueled night. You’re already losing sweat and water during a class. This added to the dehydration provided by a hangover can be a bad combination. Let your body do the detoxing when you’re hungover.
9 – You Might Get Bored
Some people love a routine workout, while others want it to change each time. Many classes of hot yoga go through the same poses each class. Some instructors will change up the routine while others stick to a schedule. Some like to heighten the intensity each workout while other instructors like those in the class to be experts at the same poses. If you like change each class, you might want to go for another class.
Try hot yoga for yourself to form your own opinion. Many people are hooked after the first class and view it as a part of their lifestyle. The benefits of yoga as a whole keep many people returning to class. The journey to a whole new you could start with one class.