Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/MCT
Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/MCT

Hot yoga is a great exercise alternative

Many people instantly dismiss hot yoga without even trying it because of the common understanding that during the practice you will sweat — a lot.

Hot yoga is done in hot conditions in order to replicate the way yoga was performed in India when it first originated. The high temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit can be brutal and for some, unbearable. However, the key is to breathe and sweat through the intense heat as a way to stretch and relax your muscles. In addition, the excessive sweating that comes from performing various poses is physically and mentally beneficial.

According to Health Magazine, “heavy sweating is said to flush toxins from the skin,” and hot yoga “helps the body relax, improves breathing [which helps conditions like asthma] and focuses the mind, which develops better mental concentration.”

Hot yoga is physically beneficial as it improves one’s balance and strength. Yoganonymous, a popular yogi blog, says, “Your heart can work the same way doing yoga postures in a heated room as it does when running a mile, and you never even leave your mat. A 90-minute class can burn up to 1,000 calories.”

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Acccording to Yoganomous, the poses performed in hot yoga stretch one’s internal organs, which speeds up metabolism.

In addition to the physical benefits, hot yoga is said to help with healing old injuries and improve one’s overall focus. Similar to regular cardiovascular training where one’s heartbeat is constantly at a high rate, after one class of hot yoga, the individual feels as though they have done a similar, if not more strenuous workout.

My mom is a yoga enthusiast. She started doing yoga about 15 years ago and is now addicted. I, on the other hand, love to run. It is my way of releasing built up energy and stress after a long day.

However, after many runs and not enough stretching, my muscles, undoubtedly, become very sore. My mom shared that hot yoga is a perfect compliment because it uses various muscles in your body that are not exercised while running. The idea was appealing as the pain in my leg muscles did not seem to alleviate but rather got worse the more I ran. So, I gave hot yoga a try and I loved it.

Once you get over the idea that sweat beads will drop from every pore of your body onto the mat, you begin to appreciate the benefits.

After my first class I was a bit discouraged, not only was the heat overwhelming, but I also had to sit down in a resting position called balasana, or child’s pose, for the bulk of the class.

My body simply did not fold or bend in the way the instructor’s could. However, after a few classes, my confidence increased and I felt my body becoming more flexible; I could do more and more positions every time I went to the studio.

It becomes obvious for why hot yoga has become a popular trend; it is a great alternative from your typical three-mile run or thirty-minute elliptical workout and has numerous unique health benefits.

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