Sweat is not the enemy. In fact, the whole purpose of hot yoga is to sweat, sweat, sweat- the more that pours out of your pores, the better! Practitioners believe that heat is the key to maximizing the benefits of yoga and enhancing the peace of mind gained following each session. Just be sure to bring a towel!
Hot yoga is an umbrella term used to describe various yoga disciplines which takes place in a room kept between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. It is said that heat loosens up muscles and tendons, allowing deeper, longer, more effective movement. Many practitioners believe that the heat releases toxins and helps strengthen the immune system as well, but hot yoga subtypes are best known for their ability to quickly burn calories (between 700 and 1,000 calories per class).
The best known types of hot yoga are:
Each style is built on a different set of beliefs, philosophies and postures, and takes place in a unique temperature range. However, regardless of the type of hot yoga you decide to try, you will need to bring your own yoga mat and come prepared to strip down to a swimwear-type level of clothing. It is essential to drink plenty of water before and after a hot yoga session so you don't get dehydrated and you should try not to eat during the two hours before class.
Due to the high temperatures and humidity, hot yoga classes are not recommended for pregnant women, and those with high blood pressure are advised to consult a doctor first. If you don't like intense heat, steer well clear of hot yoga.
Hot yoga was initially created to mimic the experience of practicing yoga in India, the birthplace of the discipline.