There has been a lot of controversy over the past few years about the benefits of hot yoga and whether or not there are any. In case you do not know, hot yoga is a form of yoga that flows through 26 poses in 90-minutes inside a room with a temperature of about 105 degrees. This type of yoga was originally created by Bikram Choudhury and is a form of Bikram yoga. Personally, I love hot yoga but started researching the benefits of hot yoga to be sure that there were enough to make this 90-minute sweat session worth it. Turns out, there is.
1. Increase Muscle and Ligament Flexibility
One of the most obvious benefits of hot yoga is the increase in flexibility. When we get warm, our ligaments and muscles become more flexible and less likely to injure during a workout. This is why trainers tell us to complete kinetic stretches before a workout and static stretches after. With warmer, looser ligaments and muscles, we have much less risk of hurting something by over stretching. Just be sure to know your limits; the heat also makes it a bit easier to overstretch muscles that are pushed too far.
2. Oh the Calories
One 90-minute hot yoga session will burn anywhere from 900 to 1,400 calories! Most people burn about 1,000 calories in one hot yoga class. This means that the average person is burning 11 calories per minute. Between the heat and the intense yoga poses, there is no way you are leaving with less than 800 burned calories under your belt - and that is if you lay down for a portion of the class.
3. Detoxifies the Body
Chances are that after one hot yoga class you will feel like you just jumped into a pool. Most people begin to sweat before any pose is started; by the time you are halfway done with the flow, you are literally dripping with sweat. All this sweat does wonders for detoxifying our body since toxins are released in our sweat. Certain poses in hot yoga also work to shunt blood towards and away from certain areas of the body, helping clean it out even more.
Hot yoga is great for those who really want to kick up the results in the toning department. Not only does the insane calorie burn help with melting the fat away, but the actual poses do a lot for toning as well. Hot yoga is comprised of poses that require intense coordination that work muscles, ligaments, and joints all over the body at once. I noticed a massive difference in muscle definition after one month of doing one class per week.
5. Increase Heart Health
Like any cardiovascular activity, hot yoga improves our cardiovascular health by stretching the vascular system. Not only does our heart have to work harder during this cardio workout, but our veins have to be more flexible as well. The poses that shunt blood also help increase vein strength since they have to stretch and contract over a longer period of time.
One of the most amazing benefits of hot yoga is that it helps increase the helper T-cell count in our bodies. This is due to the increased heat that, therefore, increases the production of T-cells. Helper T-cells are needed when fighting HIV/AIDS. For this reason, quite a few doctors are now recommending patients with HIV/AIDS take up this form of yoga.
7. Stress Relief
Doctors say that this stress is one of the main reasons for heart attacks, depression, ulcers, migraines, insomnia, weight gain, weight loss, heart disease, and fertility issues. Hot yoga helps relieve stress in a few different ways. First, it is a massive mind-over-matter experience that forces us to stop thinking about our to-do lists and problems and focus on the hear and now. Secondly, those who experience success in hot yoga (and other physical activities) find it easier to problem solve and move through challenges in everyday life.
There are tons of benefits to hot yoga and the list of cons is really limited to the elderly, young children, and women who are pregnant. The only other real risk would be dehydration, so be sure to drink tons of water before and after class to avoid this. This is one of my favorite ways to really sweat it out. What are some of your favorite workouts?