The ancient Indian practice of yoga, is a combination of exercises and meditation techniques, that integrates the mind and the body. Yoga, has for centuries, helped its disciples to improve their flexibility, stamina, mental health, and overall body strength. This practice comprises numerous poses, and variations, which can be taken up by anyone with some precautions, regardless of their physical abilities, and medical history..
One such variation is called ‘hot yoga’. This involves practicing specific yogic poses in a hot room, that will provide intensity and benefit your muscles and bones.
This variation of yoga is performed in a room heated between 80 degrees and 105 degrees Fahrenheit (30-45 degrees celsius), and offers a rigorous workout. The conditions to be set for this form of yoga are hot and humid, that should result in considerable sweating.
The poses demand lengthy, and sustained contractions of all major muscle groups and joints. The combination of heat and strenuous poses, will increase the heart rate of the practitioners, and help build the targeted muscles. These poses are your general yoga poses such as pranayama and garudasana, and breathing exercises, but require a more focused and sustained approach while being performed.
Hot yoga can help improve overall bodily balance, stiffness, and provides a host of health benefits:
1. Improves flexibility and strength: The hot environment can make the yoga poses more effective, as stretching after a warm is safer than stretching cold or underused muscles. The heat will help you stretch better, relieve arterial stiffness,.and achieve a better range of motion. The engagement of muscles, coupled with enhanced ability to stretch, will boost your muscular strength.
2. It’s a great fat burner: The heat adds up the calorie burning count by manifolds. The intensity of heat and yoga poses targeting every major muscle group, will help target the fat deposits, and burn calories.
3. Helps reduce stress and anxiety: Hot yoga is a great way to focus on the present, and truly submit to the movements being performed. Deep breathing, improved blood circulation, and poses relaxing the muscles, will help reduce anxiety. Hot yoga helps increase oxygen and nutrient uptake in cells and release endorphins, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, thereby reducing stress levels.
4. Reduces pain and swelling: This form of yoga may reduce pain and swelling in the back and lower limbs, by promoting blood circulation. Improved blood circulation can help reduce swelling and pain by removing wasteful byproducts from the body, and maintain fluid balance, especially the swollen area. Hot yoga also helps improve bone density, which will provide better pain threshold and absorb impact of injuries.
5. Enhances energy levels: The improved blood circulation will help reduce fatigue and lethargy. People who stand or walk for long hours will especially benefit from hot yoga as it will enhance their energy levels.
Hot yoga, with all its health benefits, should be practiced with due care. Dehydration should be avoided at all costs, considering the heat. Also, pregnant women, and people with a history of heart disease, diabetes, and fainting, should refrain from doing hot yoga.
So ladies, try hot yoga and get ready to sweat it out, while relaxing your mind and body!