''I Tried Hot Yoga''

I’m not sure when it was that I first heard about hot yoga, but I just assumed that it was one of those passing exercise fads. Only…I kept hearing about it. My friends were raving about it. Then my sister became a convert and told me that I had to try it. And then, on my morning run, I practically tripped over a sidewalk sign in front of my neighborhood yoga studio that read “hot yoga is here”. So I stopped ignoring the universe, recruited a friend for moral support, and signed up for a class.

Hot yoga is a series of yoga postures performed in a heated room (between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity). Most classes last 60-90 minutes. This style of yoga was developed in the 1970s by yoga master Bikram Choudhury, who developed a specific sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises, all guided by a specific dialogue. Classes accredited by Choudhury are called Bikram yoga, and are all formatted the same. Classes named “hot yoga” or “hot room yoga” will be similar to Bikram yoga, but vary somewhat in format and style.

Everyone that had told me about hot yoga said the same thing. That it was an amazing experience. Promoters of the practice claim that hot yoga will purify the body of toxins, improve flexibility and range of motion, enhance the immune system, and promote weight loss. Some even claim that the practice has cured them of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and hepatitis. There is no research to support many of these claims, but even though hot yoga may not be a cure-all to what ails you, the extreme heat certainly facilitates the loosening of tight muscles, allowing deeper stretching that may benefit circulatory problems and back pain.

I wasn't hoping to leave hot yoga a changed woman. All I wanted was to sweat, work vigorously, and feel energized and rejuvenated when it was over. And while I wasn’t expecting magic, I did want to stay safe and healthy. Considering that I’m in good shape and did not fall into any categories that would make me an unsuitable candidate for practicing hot yoga (i.e. pregnant, a child, over the age of 60, or suffering from medical conditions that would make it unsafe to exercise), I was off to a good start. Because of the extreme temperatures, I made sure to follow the recommended safety guidelines:
  1. Maintain a daily intake of at least eight (and preferably 10) 8-oz. cups of water for normal activity, not including exercise.
  2. Drink 16 oz. of water at least 2 hours before your practice.
  3. Weigh yourself prior to class, if possible.
  4. During class, drink early, frequently and before you feel thirsty, not to exceed 20-40 oz. per hour.
  5. If you start to feel light-headed, nauseated, or otherwise sick, stop and rest (or leave the room to cool off).
  6. Weigh yourself again after exercise, and consume enough water (or non-caffeinated beverages) to return to your pre-exercise weight.
My friend and I signed up for a class on a Sunday afternoon. After a long and over-stimulating trip to IKEA, it was what we were both craving. We waltzed into the studio, yoga mats tucked under our arms, just a few minutes before the class was to begin. The yoga instructor greeted us and immediately began preparing us for our experience. She armed us with water bottles (which we had forgotten) and towels (which we hadn’t thought to bring) and led us into the studio. It was definitely hot, though not uncomfortable (at least not for me). My friend, on the other hand, sweats when the temperature reaches 80 degrees, so I wasn’t surprised when he was already glistening as he unrolled his yoga mat.

In seated cross-legged pose, we began the class with a collective “Om,” and soon began moving through postures. Soon, most of my muscles were feeling the burn, and I began wondering when I would finally get to rest—the sign of a challenging workout. Halfway through the class, I realized why the other students had laid a towel atop their yoga mats—I was now attempting to hold a downward-facing dog pose on a sweaty yoga mat that was more like slip ‘n slide! As I adjusted my mat, I formulated a list of hot yoga essentials. I was definitely coming back, and I was coming prepared.
  • First, it’s crucial to bring your own mat, because hot yoga is a messy business.
  • Other necessary items include a water bottle and a towel, preferably one that is large enough to cover your entire mat.
  • Clothing should be comfortable and breathable, and obviously not susceptible to sweat stains.
  • Speaking of sweat, it would also be wise to bring a change of clothes for the ride home. As my friend and I made our way to the car after class that day, he stopped suddenly. “Hold on a sec,” he said. He took off his shirt, gave it a wring, and about a quart of sweat splashed onto the pavement. Obviously, I made him walk the half-mile home.
For the rest of the day I felt energized and rejuvenated, just as I had hoped. And the day after that, even though I was a little sore, I was already planning to schedule my next hot yoga class.
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Member Comments

TOMATOCAFEGAL
AM 68 AND HAVE HAD A LUNG LOBE REMOVED. NOT A GOOD CANDIDATE BUT DO LIKE TO USE YOGA FOR BALANCE AND STRETCHING. MIGHT LOOK TO SEE IF THEY HAVE ONE AROUND HERE JUST TO "SEE." Report
I havenít yet however, would love to, SparkFriends. Report
A Hot Yoga class is conducted in a heated room, where the temperature lies somewhere between 90-120 degree. A lot of people prefer a Hot Yoga session over the other normal forms of yoga. But what are the associated benefits with Hot Yoga?
visit https://bit.ly/2s
n60YH Report
It's already hot and humid enough where I live. Being 59, I'm probably not the best candidate for the class anyway. Report
CRAFTIEGURL
This is something i would really like to try Report
I had a pretty bad injury involving my hip flexor for over 2 years, which also effected my lower back. I went to physical therapy, had chiropractic work done on me and sports messages. Although they made me feel a little better, but the injuries were still there. I have come to The Hot Yoga Center for about 6 weeks now and I absolutely love it. My injuries have pretty much vanished, my flexibility has improved dramatically and I feel absolutely amazing!

More info: http://www.thezee
zstore.com/be
nefits-practi
cing-hatha-yoga Report
I love YOGA and IhHope that somebody will find this helpful.
I was always considered fat and felt weak all the time. I tried some crazy diets and exercises, but it was all too hard for me to keep up, so eventually, I gave up. One day I saw on the internet a particularly intriguing program called yoga burn, and it got my attention. So I gave it a try, and so far I've been using it for almost 3 months and I've never felt more satisfied. I feel like I'm gaining on my energy and started losing considerable amounts of weight. This program is just the miracle I needed, and the yoga exercises are just plain and simple, easy to understand and very effective. Instead of throwing fortunes on special diets and workouts, try this inexpensive and affordable yoga program, and start becoming attractive and confident.
www.koreanbeaut
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Report
No thanks, I sweat enough in non-heated classes. Report
PBHATIA4
I am a big fan o yoga and here is the proof my blog - http://nerdsforyo
ga.wordpress.com

I have seen hundreds whose life changed once they started to practice yoga. It was literally a transformation
Dont have any doubts guys, practice yourself and see the positive changes. Guranteed! Report
I would love to try it! Report
PBHATIA4
i have started practicing breathing exercises for some time and i can immediately feel the positive affects that they have on me. I am just too happy to have started practicing them

https://yoganzb
log.wordpress
.com Report
I left a message on August 29, 2013...saying I love it and I still do! Only difference is I have now been doing it for 5 years 3/5 times a week....I have never felt better...looked better or been happier...Everyth
ing I do, I do better because of Bikram Yoga...however I will say this article is not a very good article regarding the practice...some weird things that I don't agree and some things that just are incorrect...and also Ichbindoof is absolutely correct...there are many styles and opinions regarding yoga out there...you may not find your yoga in the first room you go in but it is definitely worth finding the yoga that works for you...and Ethelmerz, no Yoga is a fad.....as we age our body needs movement and yoga is beautiful on the body...also been around Centuries....nama
ste.
Report
HATHAYOGA
Congrats on trying Hot Yoga, I think that the instructor makes or breaks the class. If you don't like the class try finding another instructor.
www.kukulayoga.
com Report
ETHELMERZ
I didn't like the time I spent in the ER, trying it, but at least I found out it isn't for me, another yuppie fad put to rest. Report
I tried it a while back and didn't like it, too "messy" for me. I enjoy other yoga classes though. Report


 

About The Author

Liza Barnes
Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.
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