By Angela Saunders
Life is busy. The many demands and priorities of life can cause stress. Experts caution us to reduce stress because it can take a toll on health. A consistent yoga practice not only reduces stress, but its powerful wellness benefits also help reshape your body, mind and spirit.
In the last ten years or so, hot yoga has become very popular for the many benefits it offers. Practicing yoga in a heated, humidified room has a multitude of benefits. To begin, the heat allows you to go a little more deeply and safely into the postures. Here are some more of the benefits:
Stress Reduction: Hot yoga excels at relieving stress and building inner confidence. Most hot practices have a set routine. As you become accustomed to the heat and the sequence, your focus increases and you learn to use your breath mindfully. Your breath helps you go deeper into poses when you are ready and it also signals when you need to take a break. The deep breathing you practice in yoga is a skill you can use off your yoga mat—to help focus on assignments, tests and to improve your composure when facing the adversity and obstacles we all experience in life. “Since practicing hot yoga, I find that my anxiety and stress is greatly reduced. I have a clear mind and am able to focus on one thing at a time. It’s helped my flexibility for sure. I get to work out the aches and pains that I get from other high impact activities,” Danielle Broadfoot, a member at Sumits Yoga Happy Valley, said.
Increased metabolism: When you perform balancing poses while engaging your muscles, your heart rate goes up along with your metabolism. The stretching and compressing of yoga poses nourishes your internal organs and glands. Increasing the circulation and metabolism helps you burn calories more effectively during and after class. You will experience increased blood flow to the limbs and to the brain.
Tones and strengthens your body: Hot yoga is simple, but perhaps not easy. While it is low impact and a great complement to other methods of exercise, chances are you will use muscles you didn’t know you had. One big focus of yoga is spine and core strength—two keys to a long and healthy life.
Eliminates toxins: Working in the heated room helps you sweat, so you are releasing toxins, which helps your skin, muscles, organs and glands. It is always important to hydrate well before and after class. Take small sips during class if needed.
Improves flexibility: Don’t worry about getting into a pretzel. Flexibility is not a pre-requisite for yoga—it’s an outcome. When you are stronger and more flexible, your posture also improves. You’ll enjoy muscle and joint relief.
Healing mind, body and spirit: Yoga is a life-long practice meant for all ages and all body types. Yoga is therapeutic, helping to heal and reshape the body, mind and spirit. If you have had old injuries or aches and pains, a hot yoga practice done carefully can help you promote healing and strengthen weaknesses. Of course, it is always important to consult your physician before starting any new exercise.
“As long as you focus on your breath and are doing the best you can, you will receive all the benefits even if you are not taking the poses as deep as the person next to you,” Angela Russell, co-owner and teacher at Sumits Yoga Happy Valley, said.
If you’ve ever wanted to create a stronger, toned, more flexible body and an improved state of mind, consider giving hot yoga a chance.