Why practice yoga in the heat? For those of you out there that are new to yoga, or new to “Hot Yoga” it may seem strange to think about entering a heated room, especially in the summer, to practice yoga. So, why the heat?
Bikram Yoga was designed for the complete beginner to safely stretch all the muscles, open the joints, flush the organs and circulate oxygenated blood throughout the body for optimum function of all the systems in the body. If you haven’t been practicing yoga regularly, you may feel stiff or lack range of motion in various parts of your body. Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, found that students were less apt to incur injury in a heated environment, thus heat was added to the program. As a result, millions of people around the world have been able to enjoy the healing benefits of the practice.
The recommended temperature for practicing Bikram Yoga is minimum 105F degrees and about 40% humidity. The room is kept at this temperature or more for the following:
- Protecting the muscles to allow for deeper stretching
- Detoxing the body (open pores to let toxins out)
- Thinning the blood to clear the circulatory system
- Increasing heart rate for better cardiovascular workout
- Improving strength by putting muscle tissue in optimal state for reorganization
- Reorganize the lipids (fat) in the muscular structure
What about practicing Bikram Yoga in the heat of the summer? Recent studies have shown that exercising in the heat actually helps people acclimate to high temperatures. You may begin to notice that you are handling the hot summer temperature much better as you practice throughout the summer months.
In the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, the impact of heat acclimation was shown to improve athletic performance in hot and cool environments. Acclimating to heat improves one’s ability to control body temperature. In addition, perspiration is improved, blood flow is increased through the skin, and the expanded blood volume allows the heart to pump to more blood to muscles, organs and the skin as needed. For those with limited cardiac conditions such as paralysis, adding heat to the practice or exercise environment will allow for further cardiac benefits than in a cool environment. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025161144.htm
Don’t wait for the cool to experience the overall health benefits of Bikram Yoga! If you truly want to beat the heat, teach your body to do it naturally. When you learn to focus and stay calm in the hot room, you will find the same peace of mind in your every day life regardless of external conditions. In addition, practicing in the heat will allow you to enjoy cardiovascular benefits, increased flexibility, improved circulation and elimination of toxins through sweating.
We look forward to seeing you in the hot room this summer at Bikram Yoga Temecula. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time.