Whether you’re a beginner yogi or have been practicing for years, you may at some point have wondered: why would I practice hot yoga? You have probably heard about the incredible benefits of practicing in a heated room, but maybe you are unsure about what to expect or where to start. Perhaps you’re here because you are looking for a hot yoga studio in Sandy, Utah. Either way, this guide has got you covered!
We know how intimidating hot yoga can be for yogis who are just starting on their journey. Today we’re going to guide you through the basic history, six benefits of hot yoga, and our must-haves to set you up for a successful practice.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is any style of yoga that is practiced in heated above-average room temperatures, resulting in considerable sweating. Typically, the hot yoga studio ranges anywhere from 90°F and 110°F. It is often presumed that hot yoga is its own specific style of yoga, but in fact, it can include various classes and poses. Due to the benefits of heated practice, hot yoga has expanded to include several styles such as vinyasa flow, restorative yin, and many others. The heat level usually varies depending on the type of class. At Mountain Yoga Sandy, we offer both heated and non-heated classes and all of our heated classes are 100 ° or hotter.
The general idea of hot yoga originated from Bikram Yoga, a 26-posture yoga sequence and two breathing exercises developed by yogi Bikram Choudhury in 1973. The poses are to be done in a specific order to achieve the desired results. Bikram yoga is practiced explicitly in a room with a temperature of 105 °F and 40% humidity, said to replicate the conditions of India and referred to by Choudhury as “torture chambers.”
What are the Benefits of Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga offers many of the same benefits as a traditional yoga practice. As the temperatures rise and the workout intensifies, so do the added mental and physical benefits.
- Improves flexibility: You may find that certain poses and inversions seem a little easier to achieve in the hot room. The added heat allows your muscles to relax even further, resulting in an extended range of motion.
- Reduces stress: Yoga in general is an excellent way to destress. As you sweat, you are releasing excess amounts of the primary stress hormone: cortisol. Too much cortisol, which is often seen as chronic stress in the body, can activate your body’s fight-or-flight reaction. Hot yoga will have you breathing deeply throughout class which promotes relaxation.
- More lung capacity: Many hot yoga classes use a standing deep breathing exercise called pranayama to begin the practice. This breathing exercise intends to increase lung capacity by allowing more oxygen to enter into the lungs. “Prana” means life force while “Yama” means control.
- Burns calories: Hot yoga has incredible benefits for improving your fitness levels. The higher your heart rate, the more calories your body will burn. When heat is added into the mix, your body works even harder than usual. Research conducted at Colorado State University found that a 90-minute hot yoga session burns around 460 calories for men and 330 for women.
- Detoxification: Sweat cools your body down when it is overheating. As you sweat, you are releasing toxins and chemicals that build up within the body. The added hydration from drinking water after a hot yoga class is great for strengthening your kidneys and liver.
- Improved mood: A regular yoga practice can enhance your mood and overall well-being. Yoga boosts the “feel-good” brain chemicals such as GABA, serotonin and dopamine. Research performed at Boston University School of Medicine and McLean Hospital found that yoga contributes to elevated levels of the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. Low levels of this brain chemical are associated with depression and anxiety. Being in a heated room when you are feeling agitated doesn’t seem like the best combination, but maintaining a consistent hot yoga practice will help to improve your mood in no time.
Hot Yoga Essentials
- Electrolytes: If you are coming to sweat with us on a weekly basis, electrolytes are a must! If you find that you’re feeling fatigued after a hot yoga session, you might be low in electrolytes. We love Nooma and LMNT because they are sugar-free.
- Yoga towel: Get ready to break a sweat! We recommend covering your mat with a long, nonslip yoga towel to get a better grip and prevent slipping during your practice. We have a variety of options in-studio. If you don’t have your own towel, we rent them at the studio for $3.
- Water bottle: Water is absolutely essential for any hot yoga class! Be sure to hydrate both before and especially after class to avoid dehydration. Stainless steel insulated water bottles are best for keeping your water cold and prevent it from sweating. We offer Reverse Osmosis filtered water at the studio for refills, or boxed water to purchase.
Interested in taking a hot yoga class with us? Explore our 5 elemental yoga classes to discover which class will be most beneficial to your practice.
Have any other questions about hot yoga? Contact us here.