Hot Yoga – 8 facts you should know

Hot YogaHot Yoga is making waves in the fitness world, not because it is fun, but also because it’s a great exercise. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray have practised the regime. Expert says that 50-minute classes can help in achieving a healthy body, if done religiously.

1. Michele Pernetta, a known yoga teacher, says Hot Yoga means exercising in a hot room. ‘It originally was Bikram Yoga (started by Bikram Choudhury). Then other people started teaching different styles in a hot room, everything from Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga, to Ashtanga or a personal mix from a teacher who may or may not be qualified to teach in hot conditions. So the term really just means you are doing yoga in a hot room,’ said Pernetta.

2. There are less chances of injuries in such yoga as the heat allows you to press further into the poses as your muscles and joints are at their optimum temperature. (Read: How to choose your yoga class)

3. Deeper stretching brings more blood and oxygen to your body. (Read: Health benefits of Yoga)

4. You detoxify through sweating. The skin is the largest organ of the body and research has shown that toxins such as unwanted metals and salts are eliminated through sweating. (Read more about detoxifying your body)

5. It also makes it much easier to perform the poses as you feel loose and comfortable. People also find the heat cathartic. It has the effect of relaxing you on a deep level, allowing you to go into places you couldn’t normally reach, releasing mental and emotional stresses you don’t normally get the opportunity to look at in normal daily life.

6. Monitoring the diet while doing hot yoga is also important.  ‘I believe the ayurvedic diet system is the best, as there are three main body types and diets, and what is good for one person, is not good for another,’ said Pernetta.  ‘Have a proper meal with protein. Eating less sugar and carbohydrate and more vegetables and good fats such as coconut oil, ghee, cold pressed olive oil, organic food and protein,’ she added. (Read: Power Yoga – what you need to know)

7. Despite its benefits, Hot Yoga has come under severe criticism from some fitness experts since the exercises are performed under extreme temperature. There have been cases of people fainting due to the dizziness caused due to the heat. What makes it even more dangerous is that instructors tell people that feeling nauseous and dizzy is normal and that they will get over it. Fitness experts argue that sweating to release toxins may not be scientifically a good idea. ‘If you’re in a hot and humid environment, your ability to lose heat from sweating is hugely decreased because the air is already saturated.’, Dr Stephen Cheung, an expert in the area of heat stress told The Globe and Mail. Some experts even suggest that extreme temperatures could damage proteins in the body.

8. Taking necessary precautions like hydrating yourself well, not eating just before the class and consuming foods rich in sodium and potassium will certainly help. 

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