Is Hot Yoga Right for Me
Posted on June 17th, 2008
Hot Yoga has taken the world by storm offering a non-traditional form of practicing Yoga poses. In the Hot Yoga practice, elevated room temperature is meant to be beneficial in breaking down tissue blockages more readily and stimulating the release of toxins.
But is this elevation in room and body temperature healthy and suitable for everyone?
There is much argument and criticism from the scientific community stating many logical reasons as to why Hot Yoga presents contraindications and health risks: *inflated body temperature can create a false sense of laxity (joint flexibility) resulting in over stretching and tissue damage *high body temperatures can generate hyperthermia states resulting in nausea, light headedness, and fainting *excessive sweating can lead to dehydration that, without proper rehydration, can adversely affect cellular metabolism *highly elevated body temperature and dehydration can lead to increased heart rate (compensation in delivering adequate blood flow) which can further lead to increased blood pressure - for those already dealing with high blood pressure, one could move into contraindicated states of blood pressure and circulatory issues All of this is not written to scare off one from doing Hot Yoga.
The purpose in presenting this information is for empowerment. As a business, many Hot Yoga studios market their practices as suitable for everyone. This is purely not the case. Any one with a history of musculoskeletal conditions or injuries should seek advice and clearance from a health professional before attempting Hot Yoga. The same is true for anyone who is obese, has high blood pressure, smokes, or has respiratory conditions.
If you are new to Hot Yoga, don't go and buy a package of classes without trying a class first. Ask for a free pass or discount on the first class. Avoid getting stuck in a package that makes you feel obligated to attend multiple classes. With one class, you can do a TEST!
You should ENJOY the class physically and mentally. You should not experience any negative sensations like shortness of breath, nausea, rapid heart rate, or fatigue. The teaching and social environment should offer supportive, nurturing energy - no sense of competitiveness or "workout" should be emphasized. Ask for the teachers' credentials: does their teaching philosophy reflect your view on health and wellness? do they offer modifications and encourage beginners to stay at appropriate levels? do they have a sufficient exercise science background that makes them effective, safe and competent in their teaching? When you are in the practice and after the practice, do you feel you have moved into a more positive state physically and mentally? Tap into Satya (truthfulness) when asking this question.
If you are completely new to Yoga. I personally recommend trying a basic Hatha Yoga class to develop your foundation of poses, breathing, and awareness. Learn first what is your limitations in range of motion at regular room temperature and learn modifications to address those limitations. With this knowledge and development of your Inner Teacher, you can then be more receptive and understanding of how your first Hot Yoga experiences should be.
Again, your Hot Yoga class should be enjoyable and foster a connection to the Inner Awareness. Avoid environments that enable the Ego to take hold. Regardless of the style of Yoga, find a Teacher that you can truly connect with and develop a trusting, honest relationship. Hot Yoga is an advanced practice and should be marketed as such. Be wary of Hot Yoga studios that don't address this. We are all unique and in different stages of life hence we should not all be practicing the same.
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