It was a snowy winter day in February, 2003, I was looking forward to trying hot yoga for the first time at Moksha Yoga in downtown London, ON. I remember enjoying and embracing the warmth of the cozy studio while periodically gazing through the small upper windows watching snowflakes fall. The entire experience was wonderful. It was the feeling after class I was not prepared for. At first I felt refreshed, and my body seemed rejuvenated as I floated out of the studio. (I was well prepared and knew to hydrate before, during and after class, so dehydration would not be a problem.) but for the rest of that day and even into the following day I felt exhausted and depleted of energy. I could not understand why so much energy was taken from me, and wondered why anyone would want to “exercise in a sauna”. Hot yoga, I decided was not for me, and not something I would add to my yoga portfolio.
Fast-forward to a few years later - my present employer added a hot yoga studio into the club I was teaching at, and naturally I was encouraged to train for heated yoga. I struggled with the idea of training for something my body originally rejected, but decided to go ahead with it anyway. So glad I gave hot yoga another chance! My body had to learn to “acclimatize” to the heat. (Much like climbing Machu Picchu, we arrived for 5 days prior to get used to the altitude.) Well, our body needs to learn to embrace movement in warm temperatures in the same way. Now I love how I feel after teaching or taking a hot yoga class. It truly is a unique experience; a natural high that I will admit is a little addictive. If your first hot yoga experience was not what you expected, I encourage you to try another class.
Here are a few reasons why you should give hot yoga a try:
Detoxifies the body
One of the benefits of hot yoga is the detoxifying effect sweating has. It feels so good to sweat out of every pore of your body. You leave class feeling clean and refreshed. It’s like pressing a reset button. Even in unheated practice some poses facilitate the body’s natural detoxification process.
Whatever issues you are dealing with at work, at home, or any other area of your life, you will feel better about them after sweating it out in the hot room. It helps put things in perspective as well as allows you to clear your mind to help you find your next step.
Helps weight loss – natural weight
The intensified cardiovascular benefit of practicing in the heat increases the weight loss that can come directly from a yoga practice, but perhaps more significant is the shift in motivation that often occurs when people develop a regular yoga practice and start to want to eat healthier foods. Over time the physical effect of the exercise and the effect of healthier choices can lead to significant weight loss for some practitioners.
A lot of people think that only flexible people can do yoga; and it’s likely true that flexibility is above average in most yoga studios, but those people are more flexible because of their practice….meaning you have to start somewhere! Hello - using inflexibility as an excuse not to do yoga is as silly as using hunger as an excuse not to eat! In a heated room your body comfortably starts to let go and the flexibility magically increases.
Still not convinced to try hot yoga; simply add in the many benefits of non-heated yoga.
Living in the moment is something all of us can get better at. Appreciating what is going on right now, and not worrying about the past or the future. Yoga helps us practice this present state of mind.
Yoga makes you feel good, in many ways. This means feeling great about yourself! Taking care of your body, mind and soul all at once by practicing hot yoga does wonders for how you feel about yourself and life in general.
No matter how tired and lethargic you feel when you go into a yoga class, you will come out feeling energized and ready to tackle any task. And if it is a night class and that task happens to be going home to sleep, you will wake up energized and ready to seize the day.
Yoga will help you develop that perfect balance of strength, endurance and flexibility. Strength that allows you to do more things with ease, and improved posture and stability. Strength that leaves you feeling great after class. Strength that develops both the upper and lower body, and the core.
Feeling down? Yoga is an excellent way to boost your mood and put a smile on your face. A regular yoga practice is the best way to bring good vibes into your life.
Post yoga is a great time to get work done that you’ve been putting off. Yoga allows you to leave class with a high level of motivation and confidence, which makes your post yoga time incredibly productive. Try it out next time and get those things done you’ve been procrastinating about.
Community and networking
Yoga studios are often very warm and welcoming communities filled with an array of people from all walks of life. When such a diverse group come together in one place to move with breath, it creates an incredibly positive and powerful energy. Exploring community is just one of many side benefits of a regular yoga practice.
Please check with your doctor to see if you are a good candidate for hot yoga. Feel free to contact me for more information or to try a free class. You should not do hot yoga if you are pregnant, or have high-blood pressure.
reference: 12 benefits of hot yoga www.healthishappiness.com
Barb is married and lives in London, Ontario. She has two wonderful step-daughters and two amazing step-grand daughters. Barb enjoys travelling and seeks out UNESCO World Heritage destinations around the globe. The history, culture & people she encounters along the way inspires her optimistic attitude and outlook on life.