darlingcynthia said: My friends want to take "hot yoga" classes because working out in a hot room is supposed to cleanse the body more or something. It sounds like everything I've been told to avoid. Is this safe? Should I insist on regular yoga that takes place in a room with a fan? I'm really confused and worried!
Hot yoga actually does have a lot of benefits - Aside from being enjoyable (for some people) and being an interesting test of your endurance, hot yoga can potentially:
- increase joint mobility
- increase sweating (and thus, increase your body’s “detoxification”)
- allow your body to drop water weight
- elevate your heart rate
- improve breathing
- relax muscles
- help you prepare for other physically intense workouts that may occur in hot weather
Of course, every intense exercise regime should be taken on with caution. If you have any heart trouble, severe breathing limitations, high or low blood pressure, or are pregnant, then hot yoga probably isn’t for you. You would’t benefit from this sort of stress on your body. If you’re unsure about whether or not taking a class would be safe for you, it’s important to both schedule an appointment with your doctor and talk with the yoga studio before attending.
If you do decide to take part, there are a few preparations you should make before class:
- Make sure that your clothing is yoga-appropriate. You shouldn’t be wearing any cotton material that absorbs sweat. Instead, go for some spandex leggings and a tank top that covers your entire back.
- Drink water throughout the entire day so that you won’t become dehydrated. Bring water into the studio with you, as well, but avoid chugging at any point during the routine. Take small sips whenever you feel like you need it.
- Don’t eat for 1-2 hours before class. If your body is still digesting food while you’re working out, then you’ll get nauseous. Make sure that your meals are balanced throughout the day and, if you have to eat immediately beforehand, make it a smaller protein-filled snack.
- Buy a high quality towel so that you can consistently wipe down your mat and body during class. Slipping on your sweat or dealing with chafing will make many poses unsafe.
- If you feel light-headed or dizzy at any point during class, stop. Sit down, take a few deep breaths and don’t join back into the practice until you’re feeling steady. If you feel nauseous or can’t get your breath back, then leave the room! Sit in the cooler corridor until you can handle the heat.
- Don’t be afraid to modify poses when necessary. If a certain sequence is too intense, then ask the instructor for an alternative. It’s better to make the class accessible than for you to injure yourself by attempting too much too soon.
Some studios will also offer “warm yoga” classes, which are heated to a lower degree than a traditional hot yoga class. You can try a heated class without it being 100*.