BENEFITS OF THE HEAT
Yoga was developed in India, a country that sustains relatively high temperatures year-round. In order to mimic that intended environment, adequate external heat can be viewed as essential. The heated room initially serves to prevent injury until the practitioners learn to generate their own internal heat and gradually come to welcome the warm environment as a tool for enhancing flexibility and deepening an awareness of breath. Beyond the physical implications (as further described below), environmental heat acts as a powerful and tangible psychological force that compels students of all levels to overcome attachment to external distractions. This enhances the practice of meditation, considered the primary vehicle for self-realization in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
BURN FAT EFFECTIVELY/INCREASE METABOLISM
Your heart rate increases when activity is done in the heat. This creates increased cardiovascular activity and will cause you to burn more calories more quickly. Additionally, the heat increases metabolism levels and speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids. This helps to tone your body and lose weight.
Practicing yoga in a heated room stimulates the lymphatic system which is responsible for flushing out toxins from your system. This rids your body of harmful substances and makes it healthier. The hot and humid room makes your body sweat, which promotes detoxification and elimination through the skin. Your capillaries will dilate in the heat oxygenating the tissues, muscles, glands and organs and helping in the removal of waste products. We have noticed that your daily intake of water often increases dramatically when you begin taking classes at Hot 8 Yoga and this will have a healthy flushing and cleansing effect on your body.
SAFE, EASY STRETCHING AND OPENING MUSCULOSKELETAL STRUCTURES
While the core temperature of your body may rise no more than a mere 0.5 degree during the course of a hot yoga class, the superficial soft tissue structures (fascia, ligaments, muscles and tendons) will warm up quickly. Once these soft tissue structures are warm the body is able to move comfortably and with less risk of injury than if exercising in a cooler environment. The heat aids in a deeper stretch which allows for fluidity of movement. Moreover, the tendons and ligaments are lubricated, thereby increasing your strength, making you stronger and less prone to injury.
IMPROVED SPINAL INTEGRITY AND NERVOUS SYSTEM FUNCTION
A healthy spine allows you to enjoy optimal health and well-being. By moving the body and thus the spine into all ranges of motion, the student actively opens the vertebrae of the spinal column and strengthens the supportive muscle groups around the spinal column. Your nervous system function is greatly improved by opening the joints of the spinal column and messages are carried more efficiently to and from your brain.
DEEPER INTEGRATION OF BLOOD INTO TISSUES AND ORGANS
The heat thins the blood and allows it to integrate deeply into body tissues and organs to facilitate healing. Stretching your muscles in the heat stimulates blood flow to different parts of the body, thereby encouraging circulation of blood and improving the functioning of the circulatory system. Increased blood flow also increases oxygen thus invigorating various organs and systems.
MENTAL FOCUS AND DISCIPLINE
While the practice may appear to be just physical activity, it is also a form of meditation. The hot environment demands a sharpening of your mental focus, concentration and determination during class. Students may notice an absence of distracting thoughts while practicing. A disciplined practice of yoga encourages freedom of the mind. When one develops concentration it leads to meditation. Yoga Sutra 1.2 Yogas chittah vritti nirodhah- Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. This practice fosters less reactivity in one's daily routine and the ability to be still in action, responding to life's challenges with clarity.
RAPID HEALING FROM INJURY AND DISEASE
There are certainly tremendous restorative benefits from the practice of any style of yoga such as conscious breathing with movements that stretch, strengthen and stimulate all body systems. The heated environment achieves these positive changes quickly and complement any other style of yoga or exercise that you may perform. The body raises its temperature while fighting an infection. Similarly, the raised temperature improves T-cell function, assists your immune system and reduces the chances of infection.