What's stopping you from trying hot yoga? Is it the word "hot" that concerns you? Do you worry about sweating so much that you pass out? Or maybe it's the word "yoga." People often associate that word with twisting themselves into a pretzel. They think that if they're not flexible enough to join Cirque du Soleil, they shouldn't even bother attending a class. Both of those fears are understandable but misguided. Read on for 10 reasons why hot yoga is a workout that's well worth giving a shot.
1. Equal-Opportunity Sweating
Trust that you will not be the only one sweating. A hot yoga class is sweatier than a dance floor at a nightclub, and it's also a lot more fun. It's natural to feel like an awkward, sweaty mess when you exercise, but in hot yoga, everyone is a sweaty mess. They're also too focused on the workout to judge you.
2. You Can Work Your Way Up to Bikram Yoga
There are two kinds of hot yoga. The "regular" version of hot yoga has a temperature of somewhere between 80 and 100 degrees. There's no specific humidity percentage required. But if you're going to do Bikram hot yoga, you'll be doing it in a room that's 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Experts advise newbies
to start with a regular hot yoga class and see how they do. Stay hydrated, and leave the room to find cool air if you start feeling woozy.
3. You Can Listen to Music
You may have heard that music is forbidden in hot yoga. That's only true if you're in a Bikram yoga class. In that case, there's not supposed to be any music or talking.
But in a regular hot yoga class, you can talk and listen to music. You can even clap for your fellow students. There are students who swear by the health benefits of Bikram yoga, while others prefer the less intense version. If you need music to meditate
, you'll have plenty of company.
4. Hot Yoga Keeps You On Your Toes
I don't mean that you'll be so flexible that you can stand on your tippy-toes, although that might happen. Regular hot yoga offers a unique challenge every time you step in the studio. The order of operations will be a little different every time. With other workouts, you'll often find yourself zoning out and going through the motions. One of the benefits of hot yoga is how it challenges you for every single minute of each class.
5. Heat Offers Certain Benefits
Why hot yoga? Isn't normal yoga good enough? Room-temperature yoga can certainly be a great workout. But devotees of hot yoga believe the higher temperature makes them more flexible. For many devotees, there's also something about hot yoga that feels more satisfying than a "normal" yoga class. Maybe it's the feeling of walking out drenched in sweat. It's like the difference between running a half-marathon versus a full marathon. Both are good for you, but running 26.2 miles definitely forces you to push yourself harder than running half that distance.
6. You Can Make Friends
If you find it hard to make friends as an adult, join the club. Work offers a chance for some people to form bonds, but it's not a given that you'll like your coworkers enough to hang out with them once you clock out. Surveys show hot yoga is especially popular with women in their thirties and forties. Classes can get so intense that you'll feel a natural kinship with the other people in the room. Just remember to go home and shower first before hitting the bars with your new friends.
7. It Teaches Mindfulness
What is mindfulness? In its most basic sense, it's about focusing on the moment rather than worrying about the past or future. Hot yoga teaches active mindfulness out of necessity. Getting too far ahead of yourself (or the class) will mean losing track of what's going on. You may feel exhausted at the end, but that's OK. That's the point.
8. You Can Do As Much Or As Little As You Want
There are people who do hot yoga five or six days a week and feel great. But there's no rule that says you have to do it that way. Some alternate their hot yoga days with weight-lifting days. It all depends on what kind of workout you want and what kind of end goal you're hoping for. Don't feel pressure to do it in a certain way. Start slowly and see how your body reacts.
9. It Doesn't Have to Break the Bank
Is this type of yoga expensive? It can be, but there are ways to work around the price tag. Many yoga studios offer discounts for students who spend a few hours volunteering at the studio. Not everyone has time for this, but it's one way to cut costs. You can also look for studios that run on a "pay what you can." They're not everywhere, but they're more likely to be found in major metro areas. If all else fails, you can drop down to one or two classes a week, then work out at home using free or cheap yoga videos. You can even crank up the thermostat to replicate the studio atmosphere.
10. It's About More Than Flexibility
So what do you do if, in the middle of your first or second hot yoga class, everyone else is doing a pose that you just can't quite make work? Do a basic pose instead. It's far better to do that than to risk hurting yourself because you're pushing for too much too soon. What is hot yoga? It's not only about flexibility. It's also about learning how to breathe. That may sound ridiculous, but breathing is so natural that it's easy to take it for granted. In hot yoga, breathing deep is a way to focus and recenter yourself. Better breathing inside a yoga studio also means better breathing outside of it.
Making It Work For You
Hot yoga is unlike any other workout. People who enter the studio not sure what to expect often find themselves hooked after a week or two of classes. It's definitely a trendy workout right now, but trendy doesn't have to be bad. Commit to trying it once and see what happens, and feel free to contact us
if you have any questions.