Hot yoga is yoga done in a sauna-like environment. It provides all the benefits that you’d expect from yoga such as increased flexibility and relaxation, but the hotter environment adds to the experience in some unexpected ways. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of hot yoga on your health.
1. Increased Flexibility
We’ve already mentioned how yoga in any environment can increase your flexibility, but that goes double for hot yoga. Stretching when your muscles are as warm as they are during hot yoga increases their flexibility and improves your range of motion in your joints. In other words, your body is already benefitting from the yoga itself, but the higher temperatures increase those benefits.
2. Increased Lung Capacity
There’s a lot of emphasis on how yoga can help tone your core muscles and increase your flexibility, but it can also increase your lung capacity. Breathing techniques and being mindful of how you breathe is a major component of yoga, one that is often overlooked. Lung capacity tends to decrease with age, so it’s important to improve when you exercise, whether you engage in hot yoga or any other physical activity.
3. Increased Bone Mass
Bone density naturally decreases as you age, but yoga can help slow that process down. According to multiple studies and scientific findings, practicing yoga in a heated environment such as with hot yoga and the similar Bikram yoga, may reduce the effects of osteoporosis even further.
4. Burning More Calories
Yoga is already a strenuous activity that burns a lot of calories. When you add high temperatures to that, your body works harder to regulate your temperature, which causes you to sweat and burn even more calories.
5. Improve Symptoms of Depression
According to studies by the American Psychological Association, yoga and meditation can reduce symptoms of depression. This isn’t necessarily tied to hot yoga, but attending a regular yoga class could be helpful if you’ve been diagnosed with depression or you experience any depression symptoms.
6. Helps Manage Stress
A big part of yoga is meditation and relaxation, which can obviously help you manage your stress levels. Naturally, this applies to hot yoga as well. The fact that you do work harder during hot yoga sessions can help you release even more endorphins, not unlike a strenuous workout. Not only can this improve symptoms of depression, but it can also help you relax after a stressful day.
7. Increased Heart Health
Doing anything in a hot room is not easy, so any“hot” workout is going to force you to work harder than you would otherwise. Hot yoga isn’t as strenuous as some other exercises, but the increased effort and blood flow will definitely give your heart rate and metabolism a much-needed boost.
8. Improved Skin Health
You might think otherwise, but the increased sweat associated with hot yoga is actually good for your skin. It improves circulation to your skin cells and may even reverse some of the effects of aging.