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Can you handle the heat? Looking at hot yoga

By in Sports & Health

Missing the heat of summer? Or maybe you are looking for a fun new way to get active this winter. Give hot yoga a go! Hot yoga can be very beneficial to your body for a lot of different reasons.

Similar to regular yoga and Bikram yoga, hot yoga can increase your flexibility. The heat allows you to expedite your stretching process because your muscles stay warm, expanding and contracting to greater extents, leaving you with a smaller chance of causing injury.

The 40-degree-Celsius heat also causes you to sweat heavily. Because of this high temperature, it is recommended that you come to the classes well hydrated.

Anyone with asthma, cardiovascular diseases, back pain, low blood pressure or diabetes should be closely monitored during a hot yoga session as the high temperatures can potentially pose health risks. If you fall under any of these categories, I would strongly recommend you ask your doctor before participating in hot or warm yoga.

Those who are pregnant should also be very careful as anything that affects the mother can also affect the child. For example, pregnant women are generally advised to avoid saunas and hot tubs as they do not want to bring their core temperature up too high, which can cause complications with the pregnancy.

If you take the necessary precautions and ensure that you are well hydrated, hot yoga can play a part in keeping your heart healthy. Frequent exercise can help to lower your blood pressure, which can, in turn, lower your chance of heart disease. Hot yoga can become a part of your exercise schedule, and while it may be relaxing in nature, the poses require — and build — a fair amount of strength.

Now that we have gone over physical health, let’s take a look at how hot yoga can boost your mental health. Hot yoga promotes mindfulness and tranquillity. If you allow time for yourself, you can clear your head and elevate your mood. When you sweat for a prolonged period of time, endorphins are boosted, which allows you to feel more relaxed.

After reading all of this, you might be questioning what the main differences are between regular yoga, Bikram yoga and hot yoga. Regular yoga is simply a physical and mental practice that originated in India thousands of years ago. It usually takes place in a large open room at room temperature. Bikram yoga is more structured. It was created by a man by the name of Bikram Choudhury and incorporates 26 set poses, which are each performed two times in a 90-minute class. 

Bikram yoga is similar to hot yoga as it takes place in a room heated to around 40 degrees Celsius with about 40 per cent humidity. Hot yoga differs as it is more of a linked practice, meaning that it flows from one position to the next more fluidly but still has similar temperatures to Bikram yoga.

So if this sounds like something that would interest you, I would recommend checking out Modo Yoga on First Avenue North or Hot Yoga on 20th as they have some fantastic reviews, and maybe, I’ll see you there! If hot yoga sounds a little too hot, Hot Yoga on 20th has warm classes as well, which are slightly cooler than hot yoga.

Hope N.S. Jeffery

Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk / Graphics Editor

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