Many images may come to mind when you think of hot yoga: sauna-like heat; young, super fit, ultra-flexible bodies; or only female practitioners. When you visit a studio that offers hot yoga classes, you’ll see that these are simply myths. In fact, they are communities for all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and levels of fitness. Hot yoga has many advantages that you’ll find will benefit you regardless of whether you are a 80-year-old novice or 30-year-old experienced yogi.
With regular attendance to a hot yoga class, you’ll find that your mental fortitude, clarity and concentration levels will all grow stronger. You’ll build muscle tone and increase your overall strength. You’ll become more flexible over time (but never push yourself too far on any given day!). Stress will be alleviated and as a result of your physical and spiritual states coming into balance, you’ll notice your inner confidence skyrockets!
In addition to hot yoga’s physically healing nature — it is particularly good for rehabilitation following injuries — it can also have profound effects on your internal body. You’ll inevitably sweat in the room heat, which is brought to approximately 36 C/ 98 F; this will help your body’s natural detoxification process and flush the the organs, glands and lymph system of toxins. Hot yoga has also been known to improve the symptoms of many diseases and conditions such as diabetes, asthma, multiple sclerosis, lupus, lyme disease and high blood pressure. Finally, it has been proven to extend your lifespan. In fact, the oldest living yoga *teacher* is 105!
We have some suggestions as to how to fully reap these benefits, which will help keep you comfortable, injury-free and energized. Here are a few tips to consider when attending your first class:
- Never practice beyond your capacity that day. It’s not a competition! It’s a personal journey and path of exploration. Wherever you are that day is an accomplishment.
- Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before class, but if you need a power inducing snack 45-60 mins prior to class, try having fruit with peanut butter or a bit of cheese— something light combining protein with carbohydrates.
- Hydration is a must! Drink lots of water before, during and after class; coconut or “smart” waters are typically the best in order to replace the electrolytes lost from all the sweating.
- Try to wear light clothing that can breathe easily and allow sweat to evaporate. Tank tops and shorts or leggings are the best.
Remember, you are never too old, out of shape or lacking in flexibility to start a regular yoga practice. Go see what the hot craze is all about: it can change your life!