The benefits of hot yoga

The Benefits of Hot Yoga

While hot yoga can certainly be practiced year-round, there is no better time to start than when the days are still cool and the thought of spending 60-120 minutes in a warm room working up a sweat is truly inviting. Although it has its roots in Bikram Yoga, hot yoga today is considered more of an umbrella term for yoga practiced in a heated room. The temperatures, postures, and styles vary across classes from Moksha/Modo, to Power Yoga to Yoga Barre classes (a fusion of ballet barre and yoga). There could be a broad assortment on offer in your area so why not try them all and decide what works best for you?

In the meantime, read on to discover some of the benefits you might experience if you decide incorporate hot yoga into your weekly routine.

1. Increased Flexibility

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t all yoga offer the benefit of increased flexibility? Sure, however, the benefit of a hot room is that your muscles warm up more quickly, allowing for a more forgiving stretch. This increased flexibility could help you achieve various poses with more ease than in a cooler room. And for those who like to get a real sweat on, but don’t want to engage in any joint-heavy exercise rou1nes, hot yoga could be your calling.

2. Increased Bone Density

It is fairly well known that weight-bearing exercise, such as resistance training and running, along with a vegetable-rich diet can help increase bone strength. Since hot yoga is among the low-impact, weight-bearing exercises one can engage in, it is good news that there is some scientific evidence that suggests hot yoga can help increase bone density, particularly in pre- menopausal women. A 2015 study found an increase in bone mineral density in those who practiced regular yoga for just 12 minutes per day. So, whether hot yoga or regular yoga is your preferred practice, you can’t go wrong with consistent sessions on your mat.

3. Elevated Mood

A recent study published in October 2023 identified hot yoga as a promising method of alleviating depression-like symptoms in people with moderate to severe depression. This is uplifting news since a Wellcome Global Monitor study on mental health indicated as much as 19% of people globally have experienced anxiety or depression on a level that inhibited daily activities. Exercise in general has been reported to reduce symptoms of depression, so if you find yourself needing a change in your exercise routine of late, why not give hot yoga a go?

4. It Feels Good to Sweat!

We can eliminate the myth that sweating helps you release toxins since you have other organs responsible for that (hello kidneys, hello liver). The real reason our bodies sweat is to help us cool down and control our body temperature. Sweating does, on the other hand, release feel-good hormones called endorphins, which help us to relieve stress and boost our mood. Further, increasing blood circulation through movement and heat allows oxygen to travel throughout our bodies, giving our skin that lovely, dewy glow and who doesn’t like that?

A few things to consider before signing up for your next class:

1. Stay hydrated: Make sure to drink enough water before, during and after your session to avoid dehydration.

2. Listen to your body: Feeling light-headed? Over-extending yourself? Don’t force anything that doesn’t feel right. Take a breather in child’s pose or even leave the room for a beat to re-center yourself. Zero judgement!

3. Dress for success: Tight-fiang workout gear is your best bet for hot yoga. Yoga pants or shorts along with a tight tank or crop top will prevent any unwanted, baggy fabric from getting in the way and weighing you down while you move from pose to pose.

4. When in doubt, consult your doctor: It doesn’t hurt to check in with your doctor if you have any concerns about engaging in a new activity. Issues with blood pressure might be a concern, for example, so make sure you’re approaching your next workout in the safest way possible.