Enjoying Hot Yoga
Article by Jill Cohen
Yoga is a meditative discipline originating in India that combines the spiritual, physical and mental processes to reach a state of peace and spiritual enlightenment. No doubt, you may have seen or heard of a few of the common yoga postures like the downward dog, the lotus, or the frog; but trying them is altogether different. It takes great flexibility, concentration and discipline to master any yoga routine, and there is another missing element that could help you along the way: heat.
Heat encourages flexibility and smoother joint movement, because as heat penetrates the muscles and perspiration begins, the body becomes a little more limber, a little more fluid. Heat then creates the right atmosphere for the flexibility yoga requires. This is the concept behind hot yoga.
Hot yoga is a derivative of yoga that is performed in hot and humid conditions. It is done to capture the warm climates associated with India, the birthplace of yoga. There are four types of hot yoga: 1) Bikram Yoga, 2) TriBalance Yoga, 3) Forrest Yoga and 4) Power Yoga. Bikram is the most popular of the group. Bikram Yoga was conceptualized in India by Bikram Choudhury in 1946, but wasn’t introduced to the United States until the 1970s. Bikram Yoga includes 26 signature exercises and 2 breathing routines in a 90-minute session.
A typical hot yoga setting lasts up to two hours long, and the temperature inside the room is about 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. You could imagine how hot it can get in those conditions, while moving, stretching, straining and sweating the whole time. The humidity and moisture created in the atmosphere is meant to encourage deeper, clearer breathing, smoother blood flow, and detoxification. Hot yoga instructors encourage participants to refrain from eating two hours prior to class, to wear loose-fitting clothing for easy movement and to bring a towel, mat and plenty of drinking water to rehydrate after all of the water loss that occurs from so much perspiration. Hot yoga participants have been known to overheat causing dizziness, nausea and fainting spells.
On the other hand, hot yoga may help conditions like anxiety, asthma, depression, back pain, migraine headaches, and high blood pressure.
Today, the basic term is hot yoga, which sums up all yoga routines that are done in a hot and humid setting. Hot yoga is very popular among Koreans and has become increasingly popular in the United States as a peaceful spiritual practice as well as an exercise routine to build strength and flexibility.
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