Hot yoga will make you sweat. It's a very intense workout and you have to be well prepared. The combination of challenging movements and the heat can be difficult to bear for beginners.
But with the following tips, hot yoga won't seem so intimidating anymore. When practiced correctly, you will notice an improvement. Regular hot yoga is very beneficial for your overall health and well-being.
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Hot Yoga vs Bikram Yoga
Hot yoga is a style of yoga practiced under hot and humid conditions. It includes many different types of yoga that use heat to sweat, increase flexibility, and cardiovascular activity.
It's usually practiced in heated rooms in temperate countries. It aims to replicate the hot and humid climate of India where it comes from.
Hot yoga is used to describe many other types of yoga derived from Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, or Ashtanga Yoga. They all vary by their environmental conditions, postures, and teaching styles.
But all forms of hot yoga provide health benefits. An increase in strength, stamina, and flexibility is noticeable after a few days of practice. It's also a great way to relieve stress and lose weight.
On the other hand, Bikram yoga was formed by Bikram Choudhury and is a style of hot yoga derived from Hatha yoga.
Hot yoga is more similar to Vinyasa yoga. But there are plenty of other types of hot yoga. And they focus on different objectives. Some are effective for weight loss.
Challenging postures raise your heart rate and boost your metabolism. By increasing blood flow and gaining muscles, you will burn more calories and excess body fat.
Hot Yoga benefits for weight loss
Practicing hot yoga regularly has plenty of benefits for your health and well-being. Here are a few reasons why hot yoga helps you lose weight.
Exercising in the heat makes you sweat. Sweating is used by the body to regulate its temperature and cool down in the heat. It requires high blood flow to the pores of the skin. It results in increased heart rate and metabolism.
Improved strength, flexibility, and endurance
The heat allows your muscles to become more flexible. Intense yoga exercise strengthens and lengthens your muscles. And stronger muscles burn more calories, even at rest when not exercising.
Better blood circulation
Many hot yoga asanas make blood circulation easier. It purifies stagnant blood in your lower limbs. Plus, it increases blood flow to the brain. This improves your overall health and hormonal balance.
Improved digestion and detoxification
Hot yoga incorporates poses that massage your abdominals and internal organs. It keeps the digestive system in good shape. Moreover, the liver, kidneys, and pancreas are stimulated. They function better and get rid of toxins in the body.
Stress and anxiety relief
Hot yoga favors inner peace. It allows you to take some time for yourself and calm down. Plus, it relieves stress and anxiety, helps you sleep better, and stop worrying thoughts. In general, it makes you feel better, prevents overeating and weight gain.
Improved focus and concentration
Harder hot yoga sequences require a lot of control to perform. You need discipline and focus to do the poses correctly and hold them. This increases your cognitive function like memory and concentration.
Increased confidence and willpower
Maintaining difficult postures and challenging yourself has many benefits. It improves your confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles. You are more prone to face adversity and succeed. This affects all areas of your life, including your weight loss journey.
Better awareness and mindfulness
Hot yoga influences the way you approach food. It is about healthy living and changes you from within. You notice the sensations of fullness more effectively. Plus, it encourages you to make healthier lifestyle choices and view food as a way to keep your body in good shape.
Hot yoga has a lot of benefits such as increasing strength, flexibility, relieving stress, and helping lose weight. But to maximize the results, you have to practice correctly and regularly.
It demands high focus and concentration, and a bit of preparation. Follow these tips to be successful at it.
1. Consult your physician
Make sure to see your doctor before engaging in any physical activity. Hot yoga is no exception. Even with no injuries or health concerns, you should get medical advice before practicing regularly.
There are health risks involved with yoga in general and it is better to be prepared. Lack of sleep, diabetes, medications, or blood pressure disorders can severely interfere with a yoga practice.
2. Listen to your body closely
When starting hot yoga, you have to be extra careful. You will need time to adjust to the training and let your body adapt. Always be mindful of your body and do not push yourself too much in the beginning.
You can increase the challenge when you start to feel comfortable. Be patient and take your time. Don’t worry if you cannot keep up with the rest of the class. It is normal and everyone was a beginner at some point.
3. Eat light before class
Avoid eating too much before practicing hot yoga. A light snack is ok but yoga, in general, should be practiced on an empty stomach. You still need energy to perform but the digestion should have ended.
Fruits are always a safe bet as they provide plenty of nutrients and are easily digested. You can have fresh or dried fruits, but at least two hours before the beginning of the practice.
4. Take a rest when you need to
If you are not used to the heat, you may feel overwhelmed in hot yoga. It is good to challenge yourself but starts slow. You can use restorative poses to take a break if you need to.
Allow your body to calm down from time to time and adjust to the effort. Don’t wait to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or weak to take a rest. Especially if it is your first time.
5. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after practice
Sweating uses a lot the body water reserves. It is important to stay hydrated for your body to function properly. Even when not exercising, you should drink at least 2 to 3 liters of water every day.
It is very easy to become dehydrated when practicing hot yoga. That is why you will need lots of water for hot yoga. Drink a lot before, and keep a water bottle with you at all times.
6. Two towels are recommended
There is no doubt that you will sweat a lot during hot yoga. You will be dripping and the yoga mat is not enough to soak up the moisture. Placing a towel over the mat is a good idea to avoid slipping.
An additional towel is also good to wipe yourself off. Use it between exercises and after practice.
7. Wear light and comfortable clothes
It's extremely important to dress comfortably. Do not wear heavy clothing. Try to minimize the heat and weight on your body. A sports bra and shorts are a good choice.
Swim trunks are the best option for men. You don’t need fancy hair or makeup. A headband is also very helpful. Find what suits you best and do not worry too much about your appearance.
8. Arrive early before class
Save plenty of time before class to prepare. It is recommended to take time to adjust to the heat. Find a good spot where you feel comfortable. Set up your equipment and breathe.
Have some time for yourself before the practice starts. It will benefit you in the long run.
To wrap it up
These hot yoga tips help you have a successful practice. How yoga has many benefits and practicing regularly helps get rid of excess body fat.
Make sure to prepare before any class and perform the poses correctly. Hot yoga will make you sweat a lot and burn calories. It's not like any other type of physical activity.
The most important factor to lose weight is to pick an activity that you enjoy regularly. Try out hot yoga if you haven’t already. Combine it with a healthy diet for maximum benefit.
You will achieve fat loss success with a regular hot yoga practice. It strengthens and lengthens your body. Plus, it reduces stress, drives you to exercise more, and have a better attitude toward adopting healthy living habits.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.