Does Hot Yoga Work?
Posted On May 18, 2020
Hot yoga is any form of yoga that takes place in really hot room. Really hot. Usually between 30 and 39 degrees celcius. With it quickly becoming another trendy form on yoga to practice, questions have been raised as to whether it really works any better than your typical yoga routine.
In this post, I’ll be answering the question ‘Does Hot Yoga Work’, walking you through what hot yoga can do for you, what it can’t do and I’ll help you decide whether or not to give it a go.
Hot yoga is like a shiny, new way of getting your workout in. But will it actually do you any good?
What are you looking for?
Whether or not you decide to practice hot yoga will depend on what you’re looking for out of your practice. If you’re a complete beginner to any style of yoga then hot yoga might be a slightly more intense place to start.
On the other hand, it can be great to help you get really stuck into a regular yoga routine, especially if you sign up as a member at a yoga studio. Doing so can really help the habit stick as you’ll be running on a weekly schedule with your yoga practice.
If you’re an experienced yogi, you might already have your favourite ways to practice. Or you might have come to a plateau with your practice and fancy something new. Hot yoga might provide you with the bit of variety you’re after in your practice. After all, it’s better to switch it up and continue with it rather than stopping altogether.
Basically, whether or not hot yoga works depends on what you want out of it.
Don’t get involved if you’re just looking to post your latest hot yoga class on your Insta feed. The practice is not for the faint-hearted and to really reap the benefits you need to be all-in on a deeper level than wondering how many people will like your Instagram post.
What hot yoga does
Helps you get fitter (cardio-vasular health)
Imagine doing an hour workout in a hot country in the 30 degrees heat. Chances are, you’d feel as though you’d have worked out a lot harder than had you done it in a cool, air-conditioned gym.
Well you get the same effect as this in hot yoga classes, regardless of wherever you are in the world. The increased temperature causes your body to work harder than it usually works and so might get your heart pumping that little bit faster and your body sweating that little bit more.
This can increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
Stretches you a little deeper…
The warm environment helps you to get a little deeper in your stretches. This can really push your body to its’ flexibility limit and its at this stage that your flexibility will gradually begin to increase. You’ll be surprised with how far you can stretch in a hot yoga compared to a regular yoga class.
What hot yoga doesn’t do
Sweats out toxins – MYTH
So there’s a lot of buzz at the moment when it comes to hot yoga about how practicing hot yoga sweats out toxins. Although after a hot yoga class you will feel great, this isn’t necessarily due to the toxins being sweat out of your body. The thing is, toxins aren’t sweat out. They are essentially flushed out of you after your body has had enough water to do so. And of course, in a hot yoga class, it’s likely that you’ll be drinking a lot of water so this could help with that.
Put your comfort first
Hot yoga classes are sweaty. Really sweaty and really hot. It’s often that people find their first hot yoga class quite overwhelming. If you’re heading to a hot yoga class for the first time, it might be helpful to have a quick chat with the teacher beforehand and just let them know it’s your first time in a class.
At the beginning of each class there should also be some health and safety advices. The teacher will usually highlight that if at any point you feel too hot or you begin to feel dizzy, come down out of whatever pose you’re in and get yourself into a restorative child’s pose.
You could also leave the room and take a few moments to yourself. However, some classes don’t like you to come back into the class after you’ve left just because it may disrupt the class.
So hot yoga isn’t always a really comfortable experience! But isn’t this what yoga is all about? Yoga is about finding your limit and testing yourself physically and mentally to see if you can overcome it. This is after all how we all grow.
You might have a lovely yoga routine at the moment that you’re quite happy and comfortable with. But if you’re really looking to push yourself that little bit more and get out of your comfort zone, it might be worth giving hot yoga a try.
Make it work for you
So to answer the earlier question of ‘does hot yoga work’. My answer would be: it does if you want it to.
If you support yourself through the practice in the right way and acknowledge that it might not be easy but remain committed to the practice, then it can absolutely work for you. I’m a big believer that we can make anything work for ourselves if we want it to. We are really in control of how we view our experiences – perspective is everything!
What might get you started on a good foot is a good yoga mat. The Manduka ProLite yoga mat is great for hot yoga, as is the Gaiam yoga mat (click on the mat names for some honest and upfront reviews).
My verdict is yes hot yoga works. Obviously this depends on what you’re wanting it to work on. But if you’re after a bit of variety with a practice that will challenge, support and encourage you to reach the next level of your yoga journey, then hot yoga is the one for you.