I know, I know…you hear it all the time. “Yoga is great”, “Yoga is relaxing”, “You should try yoga”, are the things that we constantly being told. However, until you really try it you can’t truly believe that all of the benefits of yoga are possible. Yoga is one of the best ways to recharge your muscles and rejuvenate your mind, making it one of the most physically and mentally beneficial exercises.
Hot yoga, a “trend” in the fitness industry that has now turned into a mainstay, is my favorite way to get these benefits. It’s just intense enough to be a great workout but relaxing enough to ease your tension in times of stress. Now, I’m not talking about Bikram yoga. All I got from Bikram was a seriously bad headache and a severe case of dehydration. Hot vinyasa takes a more comfortable approach to “heat” with temperatures ranging from 80-90 degrees unlike the 105 degree temps in a Bikram class. That kind of heat makes it impossible for you to get your workout in without feeling sick. Rather than the 26 standard poses of Bikram, vinyasa takes you through various “flows.” These are sequences of different poses done at a quick pace. You can expect a lot of downward dogs and chatarungas. Vinyasa is more fast paced and considered a more vigorous type of yoga compared to others.
So what are the perks of subjecting yourself to a workout in a 85 degree room?
- Well for a start, moving your body into various twists and poses in the heat allows your organs to detox themselves. Also, your toxins are also released while you are sweating throughout the class. Afterwards you will feel cleansed.
- Your flexibility is significantly improved in a heated room. The heat allows your body to get in a further stretch so you are able to perform positions that you would not usually be able to do. Of course you should still be careful and not try to do more than your body is physically capable of.
- Vinyasa’s fast pace allows for similar benefits to cardiovascular activity.
- Vinyasa’s fast pace also means you burn more calories than a traditional yoga class. The heat also allows your body to burn more calories because your body is working hard to keep itself cool.
- Stronger arms are an additional benefit of vinyasa. All the downward dogs and chatarungas will work your biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles.
- A relaxed mind. Flowing from pose to pose allows your mind to be focused solely on the task at hand. Setting your intentions prior to class and shavasana at the end of class are two times throughout the class that allows your mind to shut out everything else.
Always be prepared with water and a towel before arriving at class. You will want that towel when your mat gets slippery with sweat! Make sure you hydrate enough before class to make sure that you do not get dehydrated during the class. I can’t stress this enough. Hydration is so important especially during a hot yoga class.
Here are my favorite studios for trying out this class:
1. Yoga Vida NYC- Locations in both Union Square & Noho
2. Earth Yoga- UES, NYC
3. Y7 Yoga- Locations in Flatiron & Soho NYC + Williamsburg, Brooklyn
4. Fuel the Soul- Merrick, NY (Long Island)