We get it, getting red faced and dripping with sweat isn't everyone's ideal yoga class but trust us, hot yoga is popular for a reason.
Although it sounds pretty self explanatory, hot yoga can actually take on a variety of different forms including anything from Bikram to Moksha. However, what most hot yoga classes have in common are vinyasas or poses which are in sync with your breathing and most importantly, the heat (usually at about 40 degrees worth of heat).
Before you get a little unnerved by those double digit degrees, just imagine being stranded on a remote tropical island because that's what one of these classes really feels like. Sounds much better right? So does increased flexibility, better posture, increased muscles strength and better focus, which are just a few benefits to hot yoga's name. But what else does hot yoga have to offer us?
To find out, we got chatting with Co-founder of Hotpod Yoga, Nick Higgins to tell us everything we need to know, and we have to admit, we're converted.
Before we start, here are some expert yoga tips to get you through the tropical climate...
Stay hydrated: Don't forget to sip on water throughout the day and during the class. Always bring a bottle of water with you so you can easily top up.
Bring a towel: Tropical weather can only mean one thing: SWEAT. Bring a towel to avoid the slipping and sliding.
Hair tie: It's not fun when your hair gets stuck to your face. Point made.
Tune out: This is as close as you're going to get to a holiday right now. Feel the warm sensations and really try to live in the moment. Before you know it, you'll feel like you're in Barbados.
Avoid cotton: There's nothing worse than heavy, clammy clothing against your skin post-class. Make sure to invest in light, sweat-absorbing clothes and bring along a headband if you have one too!
1. It's a great form of cardio
While you can't compare hot yoga to running or swimming, there's no doubt a heated room with 40 percent humidity is going to speed up your heart rate.
"The heat combined with sequencing makes the heart work harder which has a range of benefits, from weight-loss to a healthy heart," Higgins said.
But keep in mind, there are SO many different types of yoga, some of which are slower and meditative and others that are more fast-paced and rhythmic.
Wanna know if you can count your class as cardio? Strap on a heart monitor and make sure your heart rate's in the cardio zone (at least 60 percent).
2. You can get deeper into your poses
The heat warms up the muscles and lubricates the joints allowing you to get deeper into the poses and really stretch out.
"The heat and humidity travel around the body so the muscles and ligaments supple up," Higgins said. "This means that getting into the right body position becomes a little easier. So even if you're new to it, you begin to gain the benefits with greater ease."
3. It helps improve your skin
Everyone knows that heavy sweating helps flush out nasty toxins from the body. During hot yoga the heat and humidity makes the body sweat, which is great way to cleanse your pores and regain a healthy complexion. So you can count this one as part of your beauty regimen too!
4. It's an aerobic workout
If you're one of those people who gets bored after sitting in one pose for 30 seconds, don't worry. In hot yoga you move quickly from one pose to the next, usually taking up to 26 poses.
"Depending on the specific class, the flow postures and continuous movement when in an intense heated environment and pared with controlled breath, ensures a great aerobic workout," Higgins said.
Just make sure you're making the most of the class to really reap those cardiovascular benefits.
5. It helps you relax
Once you step into a hot yoga class the temperature and new environment will help your mind tune out. Everything suddenly becomes peaceful, warm and quiet.
"The heat is fantastic for mental focus and concentration," Higgins said."The intense focus on movement and breath is a fantastic meditative pause from the day-to-day stresses."
It's your chance to unwind and let go!
6. There's NO shame
One of the best things about hot yoga is how good it feels when you sweat it all out, especially in the midst of a cold winter! Sweating feels good and in this class, sweat is guaranteed (whether you like it or not). So embrace it! No one cares that you're sweating.
7. More satisfation
Although the benefits of hot yoga and traditional Hatha yoga are comparable, the truth is many people prefer hot yoga because of the satisfaction they get. The challenging environment of hot yoga really feels like you're getting the most out of your workout and your time.
Note: Although yoga may seem tamer than other exercises due to the humid conditions it can raise your heart rate quite high, so if you have any underlying heart issues or do not cope well in hot conditions, please make sure to contact your doctor before getting started.
Have you ever tried hot yoga? What did you think of it? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
This article was written by Vivian Kelly. Follow her on Twitter @vivkell.
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