Since a warm body is a flexible body, hot yoga is practiced in a room heated to about 105° F (~40.6° C) with 40 percent humidity. This challenging yoga comprises numerous Hatha yoga postures and a couple of pranayama breathing techniques. The sequences work synergistically to improve health and wellbeing. Hot Yoga is known for its healing benefits and for its ability to train and calm the mind. The practice was developed to target every cell of the body, creating a revitalized, strong, lean, balanced and healthier body. The purpose of the heated room is to help deepen stretching and prevent injury, while also reducing stress and tension. Enthusiasts claim that this form of yoga has the potential to restore health to all parts of the body, inside and out, targeting muscles, joints and internal organs, from the lungs and digestive system to the lymphatic and immune systems. Circulation is also a large part of Hot Yoga’s theory, as many of the poses create a tourniquet effect at certain joints, cutting off circulation for a moment before allowing freshly oxygenated blood to circulate through.
Practitioners also maintain that the breathing exercises, or pranayama, can help with lung capacity. Every class is the same: 90 minutes long; 26 beginning, classic Hatha postures; and two breathing exercises, all in a 105° Fahrenheit room. While in class, everyone is asked to stay in the room, no matter how you are feeling. If you tire, or feel dizzy or nauseous, instructors encourage you to sit down until you feel grounded. Not only is this for safety reasons, it also helps to develop concentration, determination, and discipline. Staying hydrated throughout the day, before and after practice, is important. It is advised to refrain from eating a meal at least two to three hours before class. Wear light and tight clothing as you will be sweating. Women usually wear sports bras or tight tanks with tight shorts or leggings. Men don shorts. Mat and towel rentals are available at most Hot Yoga studios. First-timers, it is recommended you arrive 10-20 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Hot Yoga’s sequence of postures and breathing exercises is accessible to anyone, regardless of fitness level, flexibility or yogic experience. In fact, it’s said that those who have injuries, haven’t been working out or have other medical problems are the first to see the benefits.