- Exercise & Fitness
Hot Yoga : Fab or Dab?
Mixing and matching workout routines and fusing two or more of it, giving it a fancy term is just a new math game for the fitness centers who seek to push enrollments to the maximum. While some recent experiments like HIIT or High-Intensity Interval training also called 'Tabata Training', have worked mostly for those seeking to be fit in little time, some of them have been encouraged to cause more harm than good. One such debatable practice is what we know as "Hot Yoga".
Hot yoga can be synonymously used for cool people with hot bodies, working up a sweat by external means. Yes, we are talking about something like 'sauna Yoga'. Hot yoga is what you perform in heated studios called hot yoga studios. The original hot yoga or Bikram plans to 'burn you' at 105 degrees Fahrenheit, but with a basic hot yoga, you do not really need to get the feels of living close to the equator.
Most of us wonder how Hot Yoga is different from a normal one. Though little has been explored about Hot Yoga, studies suggest that they have various health benefits. However, not missing out on the fact that little knowledge is harmful. The opinions about it vary and depend on whoever you ask. So for some of us, it is really relaxing while for the others it is a hell bath that they would still undergo because let's admit this, we are curious people, anything interesting and recent is worth a try. This unique way of practising Yoga comes with the unique way of performing it outside room temperatures, by experiencing tropical heat in a controlled studio.
There is a lot of good it comes with and incurs health benefits what a regular yoga does not. To mention a few of them-
Studies have shown that performing Bikram regularly for a year enables better sleeping. Heat is said to be relaxing our muscles and inducing sleep.
SETS SOME CALORIES ABLAZE
A study of 50 middle-aged, overweight women in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine revealed that people doing hot yoga have been said to experience weight loss. Exercising in a hot studio helps metabolism and an escalated body temperature encourages energy consumption, causing the body to use more energy.
ENHANCED BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL
Studies have it that an 8-week Bikram workout improved blood sugar levels for obese participants. Their glucose scores improved significantly as suggested by the glucose tolerance test they took before and after the routine. Hot yoga is said to benefit people with their blood sugar levels particularly people with excess weight.
Yoga enhances flexibility like nothing else, Hot Yoga enables better stretching since your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are nice and warm. You do not need to perform yoga at the tropics to incur health benefits of Hot Yoga, but getting yourself warmed up a bit will certainly be an advantage.
Every exercise comes with its risks and Hot Yoga is but another exercise just very ancient. Anything ancient brings active curiosity to people and is unconsciously understood as benefitting, but honestly, if you experiment with a practice thousands of years old and steam it on 105 degrees, you will only flame controversies. Hot Yoga can backfire in ways and here are a few to mention:
LOSING WATER IN THE BARGAIN
You may think that sweating profusely is flushing the toxins out of your system, what we miss is the fact that Hot Yoga entails loss of water from the body through consistent sweating in the heated environment where you perform it. It is, therefore, suggested that plenty of water be taken before, during, and after a Hot Yoga session to maintain water balance in the body.
IF YOU ARE INTOLERANT TO HEAT, DO NOT PUSH YOUR THRESHOLDS
The American Council on Exercise (ACE) noted in one of its studies that Bikram or Hot Yoga can lead to rising in participants' body temperatures where they almost touched 104 degrees, usually considered dangerous by doctors. Participants who are new or not quite used to such high temperatures are really inviting potential health risks.
THIS IS NOT HOW IT 'SHOULD' BE, YOU'RE FEELING NAUSEOUS
Just like with most exercises, we feel we need to push harder and feeling uneasy is what it must feel doing. Also if we are new to this we assume it's okay to feel a little discomfort. Hot Yoga can get you dizzy, worked up and nauseatic, and if you do not listen to your body and still overstretch your own thresholds, you might end up injuring yourself. It is understood that heat enhances flexibility but stretching beyond a point has serious consequences.
YOUR TRAINERS MUST BE WELL-INFORMED PROFESSIONALS
Of course, the last and most important factor upon which a successful practice of a Hot Yoga session depends is the way you are doing it. For that matter, one should ensure that he or she takes Hot Yoga classes under the careful supervision of a certified instructor for beneficial and safe delivery of postures and positions. However, some instructors of Hot Yoga persuade participants to push further and not leave the studio halfway through. Again, trying too hard in the name of "mindfulness" or acceptance of feelings is the reason why most participants in Hot Yoga do not listen to their bodies and face serious injuries.
I went to one such Hot Yoga class in Brisbane at a local fitness centre at Everton Hillsand having experienced it first hand, I would say that Hot Yoga not just imparts the same exemplary health benefits that conventional yoga offers, I loved sweating it out in the heated room. My skin glowed afterwards and I loved how I felt after my session.
However, apart from the heat tolerance that Hot Yoga demands, health experts do not seem to find a concrete reason to preach against the practice. So while studies cannot adequately second the opinion as to why it mustn’t be performed, the practitioners who do take daily sessions advocate it for the focus, determination, and strength that one feels with regular practice of hot yoga and this goodness is understood as carrying over to their daily lives as well.