Hot yoga, also known as Bikram Yoga, is a style that consists of performing yoga exercise in hot and humid conditions. Founded by the guru Bikran Choudhury in 1974, this exercise sequence is comprised of 26 postures, with two breathing exercises and 24 poses.
Hot yoga has all kinds of benefits for those who are devoted to this form of exercise. One of the most notable benefits is the sweating that comes long before the end of the first exercise. It may sound unpleasant, but sweating is a great way to detox your body. It has the similar benefit of using a sauna, but in hot yoga you are simultaneously working out too.
“The heat also allows you to go a little more deeply and safely into the postures, so you know you’re really warming up the muscles and you can really approach the postures from a safe place,” said Joanna Thurlow, the owner of Moksha Yoga Halifax, to besthealthmag.ca.
If you are more in favor of performing yoga at home and away from a crowd, it is possible to set up a space to do hot yoga exercises as well.
According to Sharon Therien at livestrong.com, typically a room heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit and 60 percent humidity is the best sequence to begin your hot yoga adventure. To achieve this, the best tools to use are a space heater and a thermometer to test the temperature in the room.
You will also need a yoga mat and plenty of towels. Wear something you will be willing to sweat in and try to use a room with a full-length mirror in it so you can ensure correct posture and alignment with your exercises.
If you have never done hot yoga before, it’s a good idea to attend a class first so you know how to practice the moves properly. After that, if you want you can begin doing it at home.
Some health risks that come along with the heat from hot yoga are overstretching the muscles and possible heat stroke, though this is rare. Heat can give the illusion of not seeing your end point or not knowing if you’re overexerting yourself.
Although heat stroke is not a common injury during hot yoga, people with heart problems should consult their doctors before performing hot yoga. Also, people with high or low blood pressure should be careful with strenuous exercises.
Hot yoga is a rewarding and vigorous workout that can be easily performed at home; just make sure you understand how to do the exercises so that you can perform them correctly and safely. Remember that there are certain health concerns to keep in mind. However, if you feel confident enough, performing at home should feel just as rewarding as it is in a classroom.
There are a total of 26 postures in hot yoga. Here are some that can be easily preformed at home:
Standing Deep Breathing
Also called Parayma, this pose helps prevent respiratory problems and shortness of breath. Start by standing straight up with your feet planted together and firmly on the ground. Raise your hands to settle under the chin and breathe deeply.
Half Moon Pose
Also called Ardha-Chandrasana, this pose helps strengthen the body’s core and increases the flexibility of the spine. Assume the position similar to the previous pose, but instead with your arms raised over your head and your upper body bent sideways from the waist.
Also called Tuladandasana, this pose helps send blood into your heart and brain, which cleans out the veins and arteries, resulting in strengthening of the heart muscle and increased concentration. Start by balancing on one leg with the other extended to align with your bent over back. Both hands are also raised to align with the head and back.
Also called Trikanasana, this pose helps improve muscles, joints, and tendons in the body. It relives lower back pain and revitalizes the nerves and veins. Start by planting one foot in front of the other in a lunge position, one leg stretched out behind you while the other is bent 90 degrees. Raise one arm over your head while the other is placed in front of the bent leg for balance. Stretch to the ceiling.
Written by: Alex Dunn