8 reasons why you should do Hot Yoga
By Kim Mazabow
Owner and teacher at Gurucat Hot Yoga Umhlanga
Yoga is not an exercise class. It is much more. The benefits supersede any fitness class. Iyengar said the body is the bow, the Asana (posture) is the arrow and the soul is the target. The door to yoga is through body.
Yoga is not just a fad or trend. It’s been around for at least 5000 years and we’re finally catching on. The life changing benefits of yoga are myriad. Here are 8 reasons why you should incorporate yoga into your health and fitness regimen
Strength and Flexibility
Practiced at around 40 degrees C with humidity between 40 and 50 percent the room is hot and humid. This allows the muscles to heat up quickly. The stretch is deep with less risk of injury. Standing postures demand strength. When yoga first trended in the West it was flouted that 90 minutes of hot yoga would burn up to 1000 calories.
Hot Yoga is cardio ‘workout’. It is intense. Postures are held for up to a minute. The heart rate is increased during the posture and allowed to recover between postures. (Similar to interval training). The same 26 postures are practiced in Bikram Inspired Yoga. It is through the repetition that we gauge our progress.
3. Healing and Recovery
The prime physical purpose of yoga is to heal. Incredible stories abound with how yoga has improved the lives of those suffering with Asthma, Arthritis, GI Tract Disorders, Joint Pain, Muscular Dystrophy, Obesity, Addiction, Stress, PTD and those recovering from Cancer treatment.
4. Focus and concentration
Balancing on one leg in the standing postures commands focus and concentration. What we learn on the mat we take into the world.
It’s hot. It’s hard. You sweat…a lot! Toxins are released through the skin with sweat. Increased intake of water before and after class ensure that toxins are flushed from the body. The twists massage deep into the digestive and eliminatory organs. Waste is released with increased ease through the regular channels.
6. Breath and Stress
Pranayama deep breathing increases lung capacity. We also learn to use the breath as a tool to cope with the intense postures. This translates into life where we use the breath to cope in stressful situations. We learn to take a breath before we react in a situation. We learn to respond rather than to react.
7. Safe Non-Competitive Environment
The world is dominated by competition. Someone has to lose so that the other can win. This is not yoga. Yoga is the absence of competition. Yoga means Union, a belief that we are all one. Our only competition is ourselves as we try to improve on the way we were yesterday. Yoga is about progress not perfection. Your Yoga should be your safe place.
8. Deep Relaxation
The Intensity of the class fatigues the body. When the body is exhausted, we have no choice but to rest and focus on the breath. When we focus on the breath, the mind stills. A state of deep relaxation is achieved. The beauty of Savasana or Dead Body Pose (the final posture) cannot be explained. Only experienced.
It’s not going to be easy. But it’s going to be worth it! Promise.
Gurucat also offers HotHatha and Akhanda classes; please check out our website for detailed information on all you need to know about our studio.