Get fit and flexible with hot yoga
Get ready for some serious sweating. Here’s how hot yoga can benefit your body and mind.
There are good reasons why yoga is so popular. Combining exercise with mental wellbeing, yoga is a rejuvenating practice with plenty of variety, and it can be easily adapted to all different levels of experience.
Just some of the ways yoga can boost your health include:
• Soothing your mind. Yoga has been shown to help calm you down and reduce stress and anxiety, giving you a chance to focus on your breath and movement.
• Boosting your energy. Reduce fatigue and feel revitalised in body and mind.
• Stretching your muscles. Relieve stiffness, tension and soreness by stretching out long and deep.
• Toning you up. Holding intense yoga poses challenges your body, helping you sculpt long, lean muscles.
• Improving your posture. Great core strength, alignment and balance will impact the way you carry yourself throughout the day.
• Building your fitness. Yoga can be slow and gentle – but it can also seriously get your heart rate going. Isometric exercises are great for cardio health.
• Increasing your mobility and flexibility. Stretch out and move your joints through their full range of motion, and you'll start to see a difference in your everyday movements.
• Strengthening your bones. Weight bearing poses are great for bone strength and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
• Aiding digestion. Yoga helps improve blood circulation, which can kick your digestive system along.
(Source: Better Health Channel )
"Great core strength, alignment and balance will impact the way you carry yourself throughout the day."
The benefits of hot yoga
Hot yoga is not a new idea – and with the huge popularity of heated yoga classes all over Australia, it’s one trend that seems to be here to stay.
The idea behind hot yoga is to replicate the heat and humidity of India, where yoga originated. The heated room helps you stretch deeper into each pose, as well as helping your body to sweat. Plus, it forces you to breathe deeply, a central part of yoga practice.
While scientific evidence of the benefits of hot yoga (as compared to regular yoga) is surprisingly modest, studies have suggested the heated practice can improve flexibility, balance, strength and muscle control. It also gets your heart rate up for a cardio workout, and may help increase weight loss. And as loyal fans of the practice will tell you, that kind of sweating feels pretty amazing.
"The heated room helps you stretch deeper into each pose, as well as helping your body to sweat."
Different types of hot yoga
For a long time, hot yoga was synonymous with Bikram. These days, though, there are many different styles of hot yoga to choose from, so you can find one that suits you and your body.
Here are just a few popular styles and places to try – from hot, to hotter, to hottest.
How hot? 30 degrees. Power Living says this temperature helps loosen up your muscles and connective tissue, increasing suppleness, joint mobility and flexibility. It also promotes sweating: a great way of detoxing through the skin.
What style? A powerful vinyasa flow.
Who would it suit? If you want a serious workout and enjoy a sense of community, this could be the practice for you. Although all levels are welcome, it’s recommended to do a few beginners classes first if you are new to yoga.
The verdict. A great workout and an accessible style of yoga. The simple yet holistic approach teaches a practice and a way of thinking you can apply to everyday life.
How hot? 37 degrees – core body temperature. According to One Hot Yoga, this aids flexibility and muscular control without unnecessary risk. The studio has been specifically created to facilitate flowing practice with lower risk of injury or strain.
What style? Slow, hot flow yoga. One Hot Yoga’s signature class is 60-minutes of flowing postures that follows a general structure.
Who would it suit? If you haven’t tried hot yoga before, this is a great place to start. The slower flowing style lets you to get used to exercising in the heat. The option to practice in a slightly cooler room at 27 degrees is also great if you want to focus on particular poses like arm balances and inversions.
The verdict. The stunning, architecturally designed space really achieves what it sets out to do – create a space that is not just aesthetically pleasing, but enhances the yoga experience altogether.
How hot? 40-plus degrees. The principles of Bikram state this temperature enables deep penetration to be achieved in each pose, and makes you sweat profusely.
What style? A 90 minute hatha yoga sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.
Who would it suit? If you enjoy a ‘coaching’ style of yoga instruction that encourages you push yourself that little bit further in every pose, Bikram could be for you.
The verdict. Bikram has a large and loyal following, but 90 minutes of yoga at 40 degrees is a long time – so it’s not for everyone!
Learn more about different styles of yoga and which one you should try.
Exercise safely: See your doctor before trying any new exercise. Always stay hydrated and listen to your instructor for advice on staying safe during your workout.