Summer is here, and you may be considering whether it makes sense to turn the heat up even more by walking into a hot yoga class. You may be asking yourself if it makes sense or if you have the energy for it; others may be giving you that funny, “Have you lost your mind going to a hot yoga class in this heat” kind of look!
We all know how the endless benefits of a regular yoga practice keeps us fit and healthy of body and mind, so let’s not let the temperature outside get in the way of that. If you are drawn to the hot room for your practice, remember it is the heat that has enabled you to get into those hard to reach places in the first place—not just physically but mentally, as you are challenged to new levels of focus, determination and concentration.
Most hot yoga devotees agree that far from being too hot to handle in the summer months, hot yoga during the summertime offers specific benefits and positive results that can give you a deeper edge on your practice and complement your practice through the cooler months.
10 Great Reasons to Maintain an Active Hot Yoga Practice in the summertime:
- You’ll better handle the heat outside: Practicing hot yoga during the summer months can help you to handle season’s heat and humidity. Your body cools itself more efficiently and effectively through sweating. If you practice often enough, you may notice that outside weather doesn’t feel as hot as it used to and that you don’t mind being outside as much when it’s sweltering.
- You’ll take your practice deeper: Keeping up your practice is the key to maintaining all the headway you made during the winter. It’d be a shame to lose all that range of motion you worked so hard for! In fact, your muscles, joints and ligaments will already be nice and warm when you enter the studio, so it's likely you will find you’re more flexible and can go even deeper into the postures during the summer. Take advantage of the summer months to increase your joint flexibility, core strength and spinal mobility, making great gains in your practice.
- You’ll encourage good habits: Hot yoga encourages you to stay well hydrated and to replenish your electrolytes regularly. This can be a great benefit during the hot summer months. Warmer weather often means you have a lighter appetite, which can take your hot yoga practice to a new level by relieving you of that ‘full’ feeling and letting you go much deeper into the postures.
- You’ll be in better shape for summer recreation: By adjusting to the heat in the yoga room, you’ll be in top-notch shape for any summer sports or outdoors activities you like to do. If you make time for your yoga practice, you may notice that you don’t mind the heat and have more endurance when you’re running, biking, hiking, or playing other sports outdoors. Building strength and flexibility through your practice for these activities will certainly help too.
- You’ll energize your body and mind: Often the summer weather can leave us feeling a bit lethargic both mentally and physically. We’ve all had days when the heat makes us feel super-sleepy and we can’t be bothered exercising, yet we know that hot yoga helps energise both the body and mind and provides us with endless health benefits.
- You’ll surprise yourself: That relaxed ‘can’t-be-bothered’ attitude can transform into a relaxed and therefore enhanced practice. Can you remember a class when you came in expecting very little and walked out feeling amazing? The same sort of thing applies here.
- You’ll detoxify more: If you sweat more during class, you’ll release more toxins. This is great for your internal organs and skin, just remember that with more sweating comes a greater risk of dehydration, so don’t forget to drink lots of water and have juicy fruits throughout the day.
- You will stay toned throughout the summer: You’ll look great and feel more comfortable and confident all summer long!
TOP TIPS FOR SUMMER PRACTICE:
Hydrate properly: Proper hydration is extremely important for every physical activity but, due to the increased sweating in hot yoga, hydration is even more important. Make sure you hydrate well before and after class.
- Replenish electrolytes: Electrolytes are salts and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that may be lost from the body during periods of heavy sweating. Symptoms of electrolyte deficiency include dizziness, headaches, cramping and fatigue. Electrolytes are contained in most sports drinks, but drinks that are low in sugar, e.g. coconut water, are preferable and healthier. A mixture of water, sea salt and lemon juice can also work to restore lost electrolytes.
- Eat right: As with any physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating right to help you perform at your best. While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is recommended (fruit, fruit juice, raw vegetables, or a small handful of almonds are all viable options), you might want to allow two hours between any snacks and four hours between any heavy meals and your yoga practice. The only thing worse than practicing with a belly full of water is practicing with a belly full of food! You’ll want to eat a snack or meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice.
- Listen to your body: Only you know how far you can comfortably push your body. Listen to those signs that your body offers you. When our muscles are warm, it’s easier to stretch them, which means that suddenly body parts find it easier to reach one another—forehead to the knee, fingertips to the toes, foot behind your calf muscle. Move slowly and mindfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while! Don’t feel the need to “keep going” in a pose if the intro level is enough of a stretch and challenge for you. Your yoga practice is yours and yours alone. Quiet the ego–that little voice that tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury–and just breathe and enjoy being where you are "in the moment".
- Dress for it: Hot yoga is not the time to be modest. No one is there to judge you, and no one looks his or her best when dripping in sweat. Wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Vest tops are a great choice, as they allow for better range of motion and generally stay in place better than a T-shirt. A moisture-absorbing headband is great for keeping sweat from dripping in your eyes - that’s a surefire way to break your concentration.
- Invest in a Get a Grip Towel: There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on a pose only to keep slipping because of all the sweat dripping off your body. Our Get a Grip towels can be laid over your mat while you practice. The towels are made of microfibres that absorb moisture and become grippy when wet. The mats also have sticky silicone beads on them to prevent you from slipping during practice.
- Take rest as needed. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or otherwise ill at any point during the practice, take a break. sit down on your mat (keep your head above your heart), or if on the floor, rest in Savasana.
See you in the Hot Room!!!