Hot yoga is relatively new take on the long practiced art of yoga. It is yoga performed in a studio that is heated and kept at a high humidity. The typical hot yoga studio will be set to 98 F and 40% humidity to really stimulate the body. It is extremely common for hot yoga classes to run Bikram yoga, a 26 pose set of yoga movements; however many studios have their own versions, and it can also vary from teacher to teacher. Hot yoga is a different experience from regular yoga, so special preparation is recommended. This different experience also offers new benefits that regular yoga does not embrace as much.
How to Prepare for Hot Yoga
The first thing that you really need to ensure is that you have had enough water beforehand. Not just a couple of glasses of water right before either. The amount of sweat that leaves your body is staggering, so chug back the water all day prior to a hot yoga class. As you become more familiar with how your body handles the class, you might be able to take in less water before. However, it is recommended that you err on the side of caution for your first several sessions. Proper hydration is good for overall health as well, so just look at it as an extra bonus.
It is also important that you bring clothes you are comfortable in drenching in sweat. Cotton is discouraged as it holds sweat next to you, while wicking materials, like Lycra, are going to feel a lot better during a hot yoga session. It is important to remember that you and everyone else is sweating buckets, there is nothing to be ashamed of, and it is just part of the process.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
With how uncomfortable exercise in a hot room can be, there are some great benefits from it. The heat and humidity are going to seem to suck the sweat right out of you. All of this flow of water cleans out your pores and filters many toxins out of your body, which is the primary benefit touted by hot yoga enthusiasts. Your muscles are also going to be suppler in this hot environment, letting your poses go deeper, and stretches are going to be more effective as well. A word of caution here, because of this extra stretch it is easier to go passed your muscles natural elasticity causing injury. Pay close attention to your body during hot yoga, because the signs of overstretching are going to be much more subtle.
Hot yoga is an interesting take on a traditional form of activity. In preparation, be sure to drink a lot of water to fully hydrate your body, because you are going to sweat fiercely. Remember that all that sweat serves a purpose, to clean out your body of impurities. The heat is also going to loosen your muscles, which provides you a greater ability to stretch; just be sure to remember that your muscles still have limits, although it is easier to push their capabilities.