You must have at least one friend who swears by the powers of yoga.
It’s part of the health craze that revolves around detoxifying the body and finding more natural ways to stay healthy. Yoga (which translates to ‘union’ in Sanskit) has been used to unite mind, body and soul for centuries. Its ultimate goal is to bring a person ‘permanent peace’ – which can be achieved when all three are in perfect balance. Aside from spiritual aspects, yoga poses have also been used for medicinal purposes mainly for stress relief and strength training.
Yoga has had an awakening in the west in the late 1900s, and in 2011 there was an estimated 20 million Americans practicing some form of yoga. But Yoga isn’t just about poses and breathing exercises – its health benefits have also been proven by numerous studies. In a study done by the Boston University School of Medicine, patients with lower back pain responded better by practicing yoga than sticking to conventional treatment.
There are numerous variations to yoga like Hatha, Ashtanga and in some cases, Nude Yoga. Some forms of yoga like Bikram and Hot yoga require heated studios. Rooms are required to be 95-100 degrees for some classes and for newbies, this absolutely sounds insane. Exercise already makes you sweat, why turn up the heat?
Heat gives your metabolism a workout and dilates your blood vessels as well. Good circulation allows more oxygen and nutrients to flow through your body and conversely for toxins to flow out. You can also reap the benefits such as increased muscle strength and control, flexibility and better posture. Hot yoga is also good for your skin – it improves tone, texture and gives you that oh-so-healthy post workout glow even without make up!
Hot yoga is not like running or taking Zumba classes at the gym where the environment pretty much stays at the same temperature. It’s important to drink ample amounts of water (we’re talking 2-3 glasses more than your usual) before and after each session just to make sure you stay hydrated.
It’s also a good exercise for the mind as well to challenge yourself keep going even when your body is reaching its limit. Word of caution though – someone new to yoga might find the combination of heat and poses overwhelming at first. First timers may experience nausea, dizziness or weakness. Listen to your body; take time to get familiar with the heat and the poses. Hot yoga is recommended for intermediate to advance practitioners just to be on the safe side.
So what do you think? Would you be interested in practicing this type of yoga?