What is hot yoga and why is it practiced?
Hot yoga is a fairly new concept that can be traced to the 1970s. It was devised by a yoga expert Bikram Choudhury who was intrigued by the use of sauna by his yoga students and its effect on their bodies. To add similar sauna-like benefits to his yoga practice, he added heaters to the yoga room. These were set at around 28-degrees to mirror the humid and hot conditions in India. This led to his students sweating and exerting themselves more, making it a better workout than before.
Today hot yoga often takes place in a room heated up to 40-degrees. This concept of exercising in a hot room has its roots in Ayurveda. In this, steam baths were used in ancient times to induce sweating. This was done not just to treat cold and flu but also for strengthening the body.
Hot yoga should not be confused with Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is a style of hot yoga in which a sequence of standard 26 postures are repeated twice, once for 60 minutes and then for 30 minutes. Whereas, hot yoga is regular yoga performed in a heated room.
Which are some of the most-effective hot yoga poses?
Hot yoga can be done easily at a yoga studio that’s heated. Or if you don’t have access to a yoga studio, these conditions can be replicated at home too. You can use an infrared heater for your at-home yoga session. To add sauna-like humidity, you can also use a humidifier along with the infrared heater.
Here are some of the most-effective hot yoga positions for you to include in your daily routine:
- Triangle pose (Trikonasana): This is amongst the most-effective hot yoga positions for increasing balance and stability in your body. It also relieves you of back pain and reduces stress.
- Stand straight with your legs shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale and raise your right hand above your head.
- Exhale and bend your torso to the left at the waist.
- Slide your left arm down your left leg. Try and touch your ankle with your fingers.
- Keep your knees and elbows straight and hold the pose for 30-40 seconds.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
- Pavanmuktasanas (Wind Relieving Pose): This is an effective forward bending pose of hot yoga for beginners as well as those who have experience of practicing yoga. It helps in improving your flexibility by stretching your knees and hip joints. This is also effective for easing digestive problems.
- Lie on your back with your legs stretched out.
- Inhale and bring your knees close to your chest.
- Wrap your arms around the knees and tuck your chin into your chest.
- Push your shoulders and neck down onto the floor and keep your spine erect.
- Breathe deeply and hold the pose for 25-30 seconds.
- Gently return to the starting position.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This is one of the best hot yoga postures that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck and spine. It is especially great for enhancing your lung power and curing recurring digestive issues.
- Lie comfortably in the prone position and press your feet and legs firmly onto the ground. Keep your legs hip-width apart.
- Bring your palms directly underneath your shoulder blades.
- Press through the hands and lift your upper body gently. Use your back and abdominal muscles to lift your upper body as much as you can.
- Continue deep breathing and hold the pose for 30-40 seconds.
- Return to the starting position.
What are the benefits of hot yoga?
Hot yoga is an effective combination of the amazing spiritual, mental, and physical benefits of normal yoga coupled with the intensity of heat.
Here are some of the most important hot yoga benefits:
- Exercising your body in a heated environment makes your muscles more flexible. This improves their elasticity and range of motion, making them more agile. This is amongst the most important health benefits of hot yoga that especially benefits people who have recently suffered an injury or undergone surgery and have a limited range of motion.
- By using your body weight as a means of resistance, hot yoga builds strength in your muscles. This is an essential health benefit of hot yoga that improves your functionality and overall health.
- Hot yoga is extremely effective for reducing stress and anxiety. Doing the gentle practice of yoga in a heated room releases endorphins and serotonin that make you relaxed, happier, and positive.
- One of the most important hot yoga benefits is that it aids weight loss better than regular yoga. This not just gives you a toned appearance but also prevents obesity-related health concerns such as diabetes, heart diseases, kidney problems, etc.
Which are some types of hot yoga?
Besides, Bikram yoga, here are some other types of hot yoga:
- Core Power Yoga
- Moksha Hot Yoga
- Forrest Hot Yoga
- Tribalance Hot Yoga
How to do hot yoga safely to avoid injuries?
The heat in your hot yoga room may be anything between 33-40 degrees. This makes it essential to practice it with precautions. Here’s what you can do to make this yoga practice safe:
- Never get into a fully-heated room immediately. Ease your way into it. Get into a warm room first and then proceed to the heated room.
- Since you sweat a lot during hot yoga, it is essential to keep yourself hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after your session to avoid muscle cramps and dehydration.
- Never practice hot yoga at home without learning the postures and the techniques of heating the room from an experienced trainer.
- If you feel nauseous or dizzy anytime during the practice of hot yoga, stop immediately.
- Don’t leave the heated room and get into an air-conditioned room immediately. Cool down slowly and ease yourself into normal temperature.
- Avoid hot yoga if you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
When done safely and correctly, hot yoga offers tremendous benefits both for your mind and body. It transforms your mood and makes your body healthy by preventing several diseases.
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