With 100-degree days upon us, sometimes the last place people desire being is in a heated room for 75 minutes doing hot yoga. However, during the peak of summer at Flow Yoga, I say keep bringing the heat when it comes to my classes.
Here’s why hot yoga is a great idea, even in summer:
- Detoxification benefits: For starters, the detoxification from the flush of toxins (aka things just need to get moving through our bloodstream, digested, excreted) – heavy sweating and moving speeds up that process. Buh-bye junk. Hello rejuvenation. Thank you, hot yoga.
- Muscular benefits: Increased body heat increases muscle elasticity – setting us up for a safer, deeper stretches and movements. Yay to less injuries and approaching safer postures! Hot yoga is good for our muscles.
- Cardiovascular benefits: Heat increases energy expenditure and effort, thus elevating our heart rate. This not only increases work effort but delivers the benefits of a cardiovascular workout on top of the already developing flexibility and strength. Hot yoga helps make our hearts healthy.
- Mental benefits: With our body at an optimal temperature, we can focus on deeper breathing – relaxing our body and mind. This improves mental concentration and “flow.” Hot yoga helps our brains.
The key to a successful hot yoga session in summer is adequate hydration. Hydration is needed for improving muscle elasticity and recovery, brain function, digestion, and for maintaining our body’s homeostasis. In addition to water, water-dense foods can help – Flow recently surprised us with watermelon after class! This fruit provides multiple post-workout benefits; with 92% water it packs a rehydrating punch and is full of amino acids (L-arginine and L-citrulline) boosting athletic performance and aerobic cellular function. Coconut water‘s replenishing natural sugars and electrolytes can be helpful as well. Here are some other post-yoga hydration potions to try:
- Blend a few cups of cold, diced watermelon with a handful of mint in a blender for 1 min.
- Blend cucumber, watermelon and ginger in a blender, squeeze in lemon, pour over ice and top with seltzer water.
- Freeze watermelon cubes for 2 hours, blend watermelon fresh strawberries and mint until smooth and frothy.
Finally, if you are new to hot yoga and it seems hard at first, remember that our bodies quickly acclimate. If you find yourself dripping wet after class, that means you are effectively cooling off your body and adapting to the heat well. In as little as 10-14 days we begin to sweat more efficiently (thus more quickly with less energy demanded). Plus, Flow teachers always encourage us to go at our own pace – if rest is needed, take a sip of water and recover in Child’s Pose.
Written by Amanda Presgraves. Amanda a recent business graduate from Wake Forest University with her B.S. in Exercise Science from James Madison University. As Division I collegiate swimmer, life-long athlete, and entrepreneur – Amanda is an advocate of health and personal growth, on a constant pursuit to optimize life and inspire others through her commitment to healthy living. If you can’t find Amanda bouncing between projects, the gym, kitchen, her mat, or volunteering, you can find her online as she continues to lead and motivate others towards a happier and improved life through article contributions, newsletters and community motivation. (@amandapgraves, linkedin).