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Why do we practice yoga in the heat?

Why do we practice yoga in the heat?

Of all the questions we hear from newcomers to hot yoga, ‘why the heat’ is one of the most common. Besides offering a cosy escape in the cooler months, there are many physical and mental benefits of adding a little heat to your yoga practice. 

Here at HPY, our pods are heated to 37°C, the same as your body temperature – not too hot and not too cool. This temperature may be slightly lower than other hot yoga classes, helping you still sweat up a storm, but not overheat.

Here are just a few benefits of practicing in the heat:

 

A cardiovascular boost

While yoga is a fairly low intensity form of exercise, the heat increases core body temperature, mimicking the effects of more intense physical activity. This leads to an increased heart rate, which makes hot yoga more of a challenge for the cardiovascular system than a normal yoga class. As we all know, regular cardiovascular exercise is key to a happy, healthy heart!

Heat adaptation

The more you practice hot yoga, the more you’ll get used to the heat (we promise!). This kind of heat exposure leads to quicker adaptation in similar conditions. For those who cross train, for instance, this means cooler body temperature during exercise, as well as improved blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles –  all of which can lead to improved performance in sport!

The heat of our classes helps you stretch that little bit further.

Increased flexibility

We all know it’s much harder to stretch as far as usual when you haven’t warmed up, and you risk injury while doing so. But for those of you hoping to finally touch those elusive toes, we have great news for you. Heat improves range of motion both during and after exposure, meaning it’ll continue to help improve flexibility long after you’ve left your hot yoga class.

Improved focus

All yoga involves focus, particularly in those tricky postures that involve a lot of balancing. A key benefit of hot yoga is that the heat allows the mind to become even more focused. It is a way of drawing inwards, learning how to filter out distractions and really entering a state of moving meditation.

Heat helps train us to find a sense of calm in a challenging environment.

A cool head

In yoga, postures are sometimes referred to as controlled stressors, which help train us to keep the mind calm and the breath steady when things get a little challenging. The heat is an added challenge which teaches us to self-regulate in class, but also helps train us to keep a cool head (ironically) in stressful situations.

A rush of endorphins

When you exercise, your brain releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. And to be fair, this happens with any exercise – with or without the heat. But we reckon there’s nothing better than a sweaty smile – and it’s pretty rare to leave the pod without one!

If you’re new to our classes and worried about the heat, a Nurturing Flow is a great place to start. The class is still taught at 37°C, but the class has a slower pace and is more focused on increasing flexibility than getting the heart rate up. You can find Nurturing Flow by checking the timetable of your local Hotpod studio here

Thinking of giving Hotpod Yoga a try? Here’s what to expect from your first class.

Find your nearest studio and book a class at www.hotpodyoga.com/studios