Yoga is my medicine. It is the balance to my pavement pounding runs, breathless swims, and back-aching bike rides. It allows me to quiet my mind and focus on healing my body. For me, it is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility. The practice is simultaneously stimulating and relaxing. I credit my yoga practice for my athletic success. It is my favorite way to prevent injuries.
There are many types of yoga and they all have their benefits but I can’t get enough of the heat! Believe me, it is INTENSE but the benefits are so worth it. After a 90-minute class, I feel a mixture of exhaustion, accomplishment, and sheer euphoric bliss. I call it a yoga high but it may just be light-headedness. Aside from the many benefits of yoga in general, practicing in higher temperatures (commonly 85-115 degrees) has additional perks.
- Your metabolism speeds up and your body burns fat more effectively. That’s always a perk!
- The heat warms your muscles making you extra-limber for greater range of movement in joints, muscles, ligaments and other supporting structures of the body.
- Capillaries dilate in the heat effectively oxygenating the tissues, muscles, glands and organs and helping with the removal of waste products.
- The heat will test your mental limits, strengthening willpower, self control, concentration and determination.
- Your cardiovascular system gets a thorough workout.
- Most notably (for me), there isn’t any other activity that has ever made me sweat so much. Every pore on your body sweats, scalp to toes. It is the best detox imaginable and I always feel so rejuvenated afterward.
So yeah, the benefits are pretty great but what about that “testing your mental limits” thing? No joke, it does. You become an expert at listening to your body and learning when you can and cannot push those limits. These great beginner tips are well written and are great for preparing you for your first class. My absolute musts before a hot yoga class: make sure I am well hydrated and to leave my ego at the door. If I do these two things, I always have a successful 90-minute sweat.