Hot yoga is an increasingly popular style of yoga. Especially as the days get colder. One of the first questions new comers to our hot yoga school in Eindhoven ask me is ‘why turn up the heat?’ I explain that hot yoga has all the same benefits of regular yoga practice. But practicing yoga in a specially heated room does give specific benefits. Here are five reasons to start practicing yoga and how the heat helps.
- Breathing. Smooth, even breathing calms the mind and increases the oxygen supply to muscles and tissues in the body. In a heated room you learn quickly how to regulate your breathing to manage your yoga practice. By learning to manage our breath we can consciously choose how we react to stimuli, both inside and outside of our body. Having more control on how we react to our environment and the people around us helps us to direct our lives in a positive way.
- Being in the present. Staying in the present is connected to your breathing, and learning to start from where we are now, not where we want to be. We learn to do the best that we can with what we have now. Especially in a hot room there is no room to put your energy anywhere else but to your practice. You learn that how you are in your yoga practice is more important than how far you go. Your progress is only relative to your starting point. Remembering this grounds us in our daily lives.
- Health benefits. Practicing postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation, have scientifically proven health benefits on both body and mind. Practicing yoga works on the inside as well as the outside of the body. The yoga postures work on the internal organs as well as muscles, connective tissues, joints and nervous system. Increasing the heat in the yoga practice room reduces risk of injury because the body relaxes. Relaxation of the muscles and tissues not only increases the range of movement in the body, but allows us to go deeper into the poses, safely. In the heat the heart works harder and the lungs expand, increasing the oxygen supply to every part of the body. This promotes faster healing of injuries which makes hot yoga popular with people who participate in sports. Of course having a toned and fitter body is a welcome side effect of your hot yoga practice, but also welcome is a stronger, well-balanced and happier you!
- Postural benefits. The traditional hot yoga sequence takes you through a series of hatha yoga postures in a logical progressive order, each posture prepares you for the next or balances out the one before, giving the body and mind a total work-out. Each posture is held long enough to allow the body to obtain the full benefits of each pose and create stability, flexibility and strength. Regular practice works on correcting what your body needs to bring it back into balance, such as straightening droopy shoulder, toning flabby bellies, arching up flat feet. As your spine strengthens and your balance recalibrates, things literally start to ‘fall into place’. When the body opens up the mind follows.
- Meditation in motion. Meditation can be practiced when sitting, standing and moving. During a hot yoga class, the effects of moving mindfully with the breath are similar to the effects experienced from sitting meditation. By practicing yoga in the heat, you quickly learn there is no room for anything else but focus on your practice. You keep your breath smooth and even throughout the class, letting it go at the moments of conscious relaxation (savasana) between and then reconnecting. You learn to start from calm and end in calm. You will notice that practicing peace of mind brings peace of mind.
Hot Yoga Eindhoven offers Classical Hot Yoga (Bikram style), Hot Yoga Eindhoven’s own signature Hot 60 sequence, Hot A (Absolute Yoga style), Hot flow yoga and Yin yoga. All the yoga classes are in English.
Door: Natasha Gunn, Hot Yoga Eindhoven.