Too Hot to Handle

Oct 30th, 2017

… Or is it?
Practising Yoga in the heat provides a mental and physical challenge that takes many people out of their comfort zone. Just the thought of it keeps some from even trying it for the first time. Some brave souls who took the leap were not prepared for the experience. You either love it or you hate it, but even if you hate the actual experience you can’t help but love the benefits.

Practising in the heat causes the mind to be in a heightened state of awareness. During your first session, you will become completely aware of what condition your body and mind are in. The majority of the time it is not good news. It is easy to blame the heat for making you feel bad, but in reality, that is just the condition your body is in. So the question is, do you want to stay the same or do you want to get better?

It is normal to feel dizzy, giddy or nauseous, especially during your first class. Your body is getting acclimated to its new environment. For most people, it is not normal to be in a heated place for an extended period of time. The feeling of being lightheaded is most commonly caused by dehydration. It can also be caused by low blood sugar. The feeling of nausea occurs when the stomach is still full or after eating greasy or spicy food, or even after a little too much alcohol.

So prepare yourself for class by hydrating. Hydrating can come in the form of liquids as well as fruits and vegetables. Bring water to the class and drink when needed. Rehydrate after class to replenish what you have lost by sweating. Drink more water, have a sports drink or some coconut water to help you recover more quickly from your Hot Yoga class.

So what could possibly be the benefits of practising in the heat? In fact, the benefits are numerous.

Sweating is probably the number one benefit. When practising Yoga in a hot room, your sweat is your cooling down system. So, love your sweat. The sweatier you are, the better you’ll feel while practising. While keeping you cool, your sweat is also providing another important function of detoxifying your skin and body. The more you allow your body to sweat, you are ridding yourself of sodium, heavy metals, cholesterol, alcohol and nicotine.

Sweating also causes your heart to pump faster to increase circulation and is very good for your cardiovascular system. Not many people realise they are getting a cardio workout from a Hot Yoga class. By sweating, you are also increasing caloric demand, therefore burning more calories. However, remember the effort you put into your Yoga practice determines how many calories you loose.

So the main benefits of practising in the heat are sweating, increasing the heart rate and detoxifying. Another added benefit is keeping the muscles warm and supple so that it is safer to stretch. When postures are performed the right way, you are able to increase the intensity and stretch more deeply. Flexibility improves, strength improves and you begin to improve your practice.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is one step closer to discovering your true potential. Heat adds an additional element of difficulty to your Yoga practice. Being in the heat will cause you to be completely aware of the state your mind you are in. It is another opportunity to challenge yourself to harness the power of focus and concentration. If you can 100% focus on performing your postures to the best of your ability the right way, all other elements such as the heat and any another thing that might distract you will disappear. And then you have brought union to your body and your mind.

So is a Hot Yoga class “too hot to handle”? Well if you are willing to trust the process and let you body and your mind work together, you can handle ANYTHING!

Asana Journal

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