Hot Yoga for Your Cold Weather Blues

by GuruYoga 26. January 2015 02:05

With the weather getting just a wee bit colder by the day, you might have noticed that you’re becoming increasingly hesitant about going out to jog – don’t worry; you’re probably not getting lazier. It’s just that we’re approaching winter and your body just isn’t too fond of the cold. That’s understandable but don’t let the cold weather derail your fitness routine. Instead, take your exercises indoors and practice some hot yoga.

What is hot yoga?

As the name implies, these are exercises practiced in hot or humid rooms to help yogis become more flexible. While you may hear the term being used interchangeably with Bikram yoga – understandably so, since yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury’s style is one of the more popular types, there are several other hot yoga forms such as Forrest Yoga, Power Yoga, and TriBalance Yoga. 

In hot yoga, rooms are typically about 100 degrees, so there’s no doubt that you’ll be well protected from the cold weather blues in a hot yoga class.

What are the benefits of taking a hot yoga class?

Apart from wanting to warm up during the wintery months,  hot yoga has a few other benefits that might interest you:

 

1.    The heat helps increase your flexibility. Okay, you shouldn’t expect Bikram yoga (or the other hot yoga styles) to prepare you for a starring role at Cirque de Soleil but you may find yourself being able to achieve various asanas more easily than you normally would.

2.    You can develop your muscle strength. As a form of low impact exercise, yoga (and hot yoga) will allow you to use muscles you don’t normally use when you’re jogging or doing aerobics.

3.    Pacing and props. You can do it on your own pace, and you can use yoga supplies to help you learn or do certain poses. Yoga straps and yoga bolsters may come in handy, especially if you are aware of your body’s limitations.

4.    Sweating = detoxification. Because you perspire a lot while performing your poses, this sweating means that your body is being detoxified.

5.    Hot yoga heals you. The routine-based nature of hot yoga means that you get to practice your poses regularly, helping you heal old injuries and prevent future problems like back pains. Additionally, hot yoga is said to be great for people with diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

 

Tips to remember:

Even with all these advantages, it’s still important to be careful when doing hot yoga (or any workout, for that matter). Being knowledgeable about what you’re about to get into is always key to ensure a safe and injury-free yoga session.

 

1.    Get your physician’s approval. Certain medical conditions may make it difficult for you to practice hot yoga, and increase the risk of heat-related problems so it’s best to get the go-ahead from your doctor before you even start.

2.    Ease up into it. Give your body time to get used to the heat to build your endurance. If you’re new or just getting back to it, don’t force yourself to hold the poses for too long. Your body needs to adjust.

3.    Hydrate. With the heat and physical activity, you may find yourself getting dehydrated quickly so make sure to drink water before, during, and after your session.

4.    Don’t overdress! Suffice to say, it’s recommended to bare some skin because it prevents your body from overheating.

5.    Know when to stop.  If you feel dizzy, nauseated, fatigued, weak, or if you feel like vomiting, don’t go on. Immediately find a cool place to rest and lie down on your back. Try applying a wet towel on your skin and drinking lots of cold water. If your condition doesn’t improve, get to a doctor.

 

Hot yoga is a great way to keep active and warm during the blustery, windy and cold months.  As long as you follow your instructor’s lessons and keep attuned with your body’s cues, you may find yourself enjoying it enough to make it a regular part of your cold or rainy day workout routine!

 

REFERENCES:

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/yoga-101/facing-the-heat/

http://hss.edu/onthemove/practicing-hot-yoga-during-the-cold-weather-months/#.VEfxL_nLcro

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Winter-Yoga-Tips-677150

http://www.jennycraig.com/site/learn/article/fight-the-cold-weather-with-hot-yoga

http://www.bikramyoga.com/BikramYoga/FAQ.php#8

http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/modify-bikram-yoga-poses-6139.html

 

 

 

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