In the highly competitive yoga market, specialized classes are offered to enhance the benefits of hot yoga, usually at specialized yoga schools.
Bikram Choudhury is the person responsible for inventing the idea of hot yoga. It was also his attempt at franchising his ideas that lead people to create hot yoga. With the many styles of yoga you can choose from, the idea of sweating in intense heat draws many people. Hot yoga can uses something that no other yoga class uses, a daunting heat of 105°F (40°C). This has created many questions about whether or not those temperatures are beneficial or harmful. Here is a review of both sides of the issue.
Cons: We sweat to keep the body cool, so maybe exercising in such high heat is overworking the body. Sweating also leads to dehydration. Many hot yoga teachers don’t allow water in their classes. They say it is cooling the body when the idea is to heat it. Make up your own mind. If you want to drink, then do so lightly. If the teacher says no, find another teacher.
Pros: Fuller stretching is certainly one of the aspects of these type of classes. You are often able to move deeper into a pose that would otherwise be more restrictive in a normal yoga class.
Cons: Over stretching can cause injury. The body has defense mechanisms. They keep the muscles from over extending. Hot yoga, mixed with a lack of attention and the need to push too hard, can override of these mechanisms, resulting in injury.
Pros: Heat creates the possibility for purification. The body temperature rises, just as it would when fighting illness. Blood becomes thin, capillaries dilate and metabolism increases. This helps to improve circulation of oxygen rich blood and also balance digestion.
Cons: Not everyone is built for hot yoga. Some people may already have high metabolism or high blood pressure. Learning about your dosha type and what kind of exercise is best for you is helpful.
These are several important things to think of before stepping into hot yoga. Yes it’s popular, and may sound appealing, but the truth is that it is not for everyone. Make sure that the benefits of hot yoga outweigh the risks when choosing if it’s right for you.