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Hot Yoga Heat – Sweating Out the Superficial

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Some might think that hot yoga is just a passing trend. But there is a lot more to hot yoga than what meets the eye. Some people say this practice is unhealthy. Some people say hot yoga is just a gimmick. However, this practice became popular for a reason. Let’s examine why so many people love hot yoga. Let’s get something clear. Hot yoga is not strictly speaking a type of yoga. More specifically, hot yoga refers to conditions in which you practice. As is evident by the name, hot yoga takes place in a room heated to 40⁰ C, which helps to relax and release tension from the body. Although it is one of the youngest “branches” of yoga, it’s not as new as it seems. Traditional yoga originated in India, known for its warm and humid climate. The heat makes the body more pliable, as the muscles need less time to warm up. In a typical hot yoga class, the poses get gradually more intense, as does the heat. As a result, the body reacts by sweating profusely and increasing the frequency of breaths. This process gives the body a chance to detox inside and out. While the body releases tension, the mind releases stress. It is a great tool for relaxation, stress relief, and a more profound realization of the inner strength and ability of every individual.

History of Hot Yoga

The first known practice of its kind was recorded in Japan in the 1970s. The inspiration came from saunas, commonly used for destressing. The idea was to achieve a similar effect through yoga. And so, hot yoga was almost like a hybrid of sauna and yoga practice. It combined the destressing and detoxifying action of the sauna with the powerful asanas to enhance the effects of both. In an attempt to capture the same heat and temperature of Calcutta, India, the first rooms were heated to 28⁰ Celcius. The hot temperatures induced sweating, which is generally associated with a more intense workout. Since its introduction in the West in the 1980s, it has grown increasingly popular. For centuries, heat has been used as a tool to boost the body’s immune responses, but not always in a positive way. Some believed that testing the body’s limits is a way of intensifying the inner being. Heat was simply one of the ways to “trigger” the body. Unsurprisingly, there are some negative associations with the practice. However, the benefits that it brings put those associations to rest.

Benefits of Hot Yoga

The intense nature of this practice stimulates metabolism, which means you can burn calories faster and more effectively than practicing traditional yoga. Heat naturally relaxes muscles in the body, causing them to soften more quickly and stretch further. Thanks to the heat, this type of yoga is helpful in increasing flexibility, thereby making it easier to go deeper into poses. As a response to high heat, sweat is released through the pores for an instant detox effect. The combination of high temperature and salt has an amazing effect on the skin, nourishing it and creating a beautiful dewy glow. Of course, just like with any intense workout, stress levels are reduced, and the mind becomes more focused.

Contraindications

These benefits are amazing. However, it should be noted that sweating profusely can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water and consume electrolytes to ensure proper hydration. Equally, you should be mindful of your body, as the heat can trick you into pushing past your limits.

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