In recent years, hot yoga , often referred to as Bikram yoga, has burst onto the mainstream workout scene and has only increased lately in popularity. While any type of yoga can be done in a steamy 95-105 degrees studio, Bikram yoga is a specific style of hot yoga that consists of an ordered series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises.
The heated environment is sure to kick up the intensity of your yoga routine and comes with the added benefits of faster weight loss and clearer skin . When done safely, there are many benefits to be gained from practicing hot yoga, of which we’ve detailed some of them for you here:
1. Weight loss.
Because you are sweating more in the heat, caloric burn increases significantly, which leads to greater fat burn and more weight loss. In some cases, hot practitioners have reported burning up to 450 calories in a 90-minute hot session, as opposed to 180 calories burned in a non-heated90-minute yoga session.
2. Improved flexibility .
As with any workout, it’s important to warm up your muscles before getting started. The heated environment of hot yoga is known to increase flexibility and range of motion in common problem areas like low back , shoulder and hamstrings.
3. Clearer skin.
Your skin is going to love your hot yoga routine . Benefits of a regular hot yoga routine include reduced cellulite, improved circulation and an overall healthy glow. Combining a skincare routine with your hot yoga practice can help you achieve dewy, softer looking skin.
4. Stronger immune system .
Our bodies are comprised of a complex network of systems. When it comes to immune system health, yoga can help promote a healthy lymphatic system, which is essential to circulation , detoxification and disease-fighting antibodies. Supported inversion positions can help reduce swelling and remove excess fluid from around major organs, while self-myofascial release (SMR) or fascia stretching and massage can recirculate disease-fighting lymphocytes and strengthening the diaphragm through breathing exercises helps remove toxins from the body. Get an even greater immune boost by adding elderberry gummies into your daily routine. People who do hot yoga tend to have fewer colds and more energy. Considering that the heat helps loosens muscles and the profuse sweating helps cleanse your body of toxins, there very well could be a connection.
5. Mental strength.
Hot yoga promotes and cultivates a steady and strong mind along with emotional stability. It helps to build your emotional and physical health at the same time which can ease depression and reduce stress and anxiety. That leads to happiness, peace and a sense of well-being. Yoga also helps to promote mindfulness, which is the practice of being fully present and self-aware of your physical, emotional and mental state in a given moment. When your body temperature increases during hot yoga, you become more attuned to your body’s response to the increased heat, therefore causing increased awareness to “beat the heat.” For added focus , try a natural supplement like Havasu Nutrition’s neuroIGNITE , which helps improve brain function and focus without the jitters of caffeine-based products.
6. Heart health.
Your heart responds to increased demand, much like other muscles. When you are practicing, you are using your muscles and sweating while your heart is working harder. That helps to build your heart muscle. Your body’s ability to regulate its body temperature and process the heat for caloric burn becomes more efficient, which leads to your heart being stronger and healthier. Also, preliminary studies have suggested that when approved by a doctor, hot yoga could reduce high blood pressure and stress without the use of medication, which can ultimately help reduce the risk of hypertension and heart disease.
7. Reduced blood glucose levels .
Studies have shown that Bikram yoga can significantly improve glucose tolerance in older adults with obesity. As a result, those who are unable or unwilling to engage in aerobic exercise or strength training, may find success in managing glucose and cholesterol by combining a Berberine + Cinnamon supplement with a Bikram yoga practice.
8. Alleviate arthritis and reduce risk of osteoporosis .
Studies also suggest that participation in low-impact, weight-bearing exercise like hot yoga may contribute to increased bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women. The elevated temperature in hot yoga can also help loosen stiff joints due to arthritis, and of the 26 poses in Bikram, none includes downward-dog or plank poses, optimal for those with arthritis in their wrists or hands . Adding a daily supplement to your diet will also help your body maintain joint mobility . A routine yoga practice can also contribute to better posture, improved balance, greater strength, range of motion and coordination, and lower anxiety , which can mitigate against falls and fractures.
9. Reduce chronic pain.
Since yoga is a low-impact activity, it may be an ideal choice if you suffer from chronic pain. The heat and humidity in hot yoga allows your body to engage in deeper stretches and the specific Bikram poses will help decompress your spine and strengthen muscles. With a regular practice, Bikram yoga can help stabilize your spine, improve blood flow, and send essential nutrients to the discs cushioning your spinal cord.
Some gyms and yoga studios offer a complimentary first class so you can check it out and see if hot yoga is right for you. With any type of physical activity, there may be some associated risks, especially for those who are pregnant, menopausal, or have existing health conditions. After speaking with your doctor, if you decide to try hot yoga, be sure to bring plenty of water, a yoga mat, a towel, and most importantly, know your limits. Don’t run a 5K the next day, because you will be dehydrated. Use common sense and enjoy this traditional practice!