Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a great exercise that offers a number of benefits to the yogi. This style was developed from traditional Asanas by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970's. His fixed regimen of 24 yoga poses and 2 breathing exercises are purported to bestow "head to toe" health and fitness. The Asanas and breathing exercises are performed in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 40 degrees Celsius. The relative humidity of the room is maintained at 40%, which makes hot yoga an amazingly different experience.
How Hot Yoga Fits Into the Yoga World
If you are interested in learning how to do yoga, there is no reason to exclude hot yoga as an option. The style of yoga for beginners is matter of personal choice, philosophy, goals and your very own physical condition. The benefits of yoga, regardless of style, are real.
Each style requires varying degrees of physical ability. Some forms emphasize the spiritual, others place their emphasis on breathing exercises and yet others emphasize the yoga poses themselves. And yes, there are those that utilize some combination of the three. Hot yoga adds a new element to this. Practicing yoga in a room that is heated up to above your body temperature does not only make you sweat. It gives you an entirely new experience and shows you how your muscles and circulation react to an environment that you would normally not choose for working out. Sounds weird? Be warned Hot yoga can be addicting, and that is not only due to its many benefits.
What are the Benefits of Hot Yoga?
Yoga is a unique form of exercise that bears little resemblance to the Western concept of exercise. Western exercises consist of running, weight lifting, push-ups, jumping jacks and the like. Yoga is different. Hot Yoga is beyond that. There are basically two significant factors differentiating hot yoga from other variations of the Hatha yoga discipline.
1. Less Injuries
The high temperature in which the asanas and breathing exercises are performed reduces the likelihood of injury.
2. Less Toxins
Hot yoga cleanses toxins from the body due to profuse sweating. It feels so good!
3. More Lung Capacity
Like other types of yoga that focus on breathing exercises, hot yoga advances lung capacity through breathing pranayamas.
4. Better Circulation
You can almost feel it while you're doing it. Hot yoga is excellent for your circulation It is a great cardiovascular workout.
5. Stronger Immune System
This effect has been known for a long time. Exercising in a hot environment improves your immune system and elevates the body's regenerative capacity.
6. Beneficial for Lymphatic System
Like most types of yoga, hot yoga is very good for your lymphatic system.
7. More Flexible Muscles
You will notice that you are able to bend further and stretch better when you do hot yoga. This causes the muscles to get used to being "used."
8. Weight Loss
Hot yoga supports weight-loss even more than regular yoga because you are sweating a LOT.
Hot yoga addresses all aspects of physical fitness including muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and weight loss. While certainly not the easiest yoga path to follow, it is a great style of yoga for the beginner and the guru. The most unique benefits of hot yoga are detoxification (cleansing) and reduced injuries due to the greater flexibility of the body in a hot environment. There is no other style of yoga that addresses the overall health of the body in such a comprehensive way. If you are interested in the physiological benefits of yoga and not so much its meditative aspects, the benefits of hot yoga are clear.