Hot Yoga, as the name suggests is the type of Yoga that is done under hot, humid climate where on performing various asanas, the user tends to release a lot of toxins from the body and also loses weight. Mostly associated with the prominent Bikram Yoga, founded by Sri. Bikram Choudhury; Hot Yoga is used to represent many Yoga styles that use heat while performing the poses and increases the flexibility in the user’s body. Hot Yoga leads to a profuse sweating and therefore, at the end of a particular routine; you will find the user drenched in immense sweat. Hot Yoga seeks replication of extensive humidity and heat even in the colder climates.
Major forms of Hot Yoga
- Forrest Yoga
- TriBalance Yoga
- Bikram Yoga
- Power Yoga
A style that has been synthesized from the Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga is the main type of Hot Yoga, founded by Bikram Choudhury. All the poses of Bikram Yoga are mainly derived from the ancient Hatha Yoga scripts and are practiced in spaces that contain a temperature of 40 °C and 40% RH. Bikram Yoga is shaped into different yoga styles practiced in humidity and is one of the most practiced yoga in western countries. Each Bikram Yoga class runs for around 90 minutes, containing two immense breathing techniques that help in taking full breath cycles and 26 postures.
Forrest Yoga combines the asanas with the spirituality of Native American style to create a new routine called, "Yoga Sweat Lodge" in a heated room. It is a modern style developed by Ana T. Forrest from the ancient Hatha Yoga. The style entirely focuses on doing and holding poses in a humid environment for extremely long periods of time. Each pose should be repeated for 3-4 times and there are around 20 specific poses accentuating the strength and stretch on the two sides of the body. This yoga builds a connection between the physical activity and emotions which are responsible for the deep stretching without causing trauma.
A broad term used to encompass the types of yoga, Hatha Yoga is translated into 'forceful' in the Sanskrit language originated in Indian origin. Most of the yoga terminology has come from the same. The classes of Modern Hatha are paced with the poses with a less flow and it allows the users to focus on time, relaxation and Pranayama breathing techniques that are taught during the routine.
Tri Balance Yoga
Another form of Yoga as it is, Hot Yoga is warmer than the normal Yoga but has less humid than the Bikram Yoga. During the 20th century, yoga techniques were developed for around six hours in a day until a steady technique is evolved with 26 different poses, unique breathing techniques etc by balancing the three elements of yogic practice.
Derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, this yoga uses extreme heat in order to replicate the conditions of the environment. Mostly practiced in Mysore, this yoga is an amalgamation of both Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga where you use the body's internal heat, flexibility and stamina and as well as the stress inside the body. A typical Power Yoga routine focuses on the customization of teachers and students where the users will be the part of designing one's own sequence.
Hot Yoga for Kids
Starting Yoga for kids doesn't sound like an immense idea. Imagine bringing the kid to the Hot Yoga class? Will they be able to resist all the heat in the room? In case if you don't know, the rooms where the Hot Yoga is practiced are called 'Torture Chambers' where a user is forced to practice the 26 postures for around 90 minutes at 40 degrees. The workout is strenuous, so it is quite natural to feel dizzy and nauseous towards the end.
There has been a situation once when a mother has brought the 4-year kid to the Hot Yoga class in a weekend. At the beginning of the class, the kid started imitating the poses and was trying to catch all the poses but only with a trouble of holding them for longer periods. After 15 minutes into the class, the kid got strained and started playing with the water bottle by drinking and spilling the water, spraying the water on herself and then rolling on the floor around the Yoga towel. After 30 minutes, the kid got entirely bored but because of the limited environment, she started trying the poses all over again after a while.
Even though, her mum has been correcting her; the instructor wanted the kid to learn the poses on her own. But what amused me is how healthy this kid is; to even retain in such humid environment where adults like us are facing hell while performing the poses. Experts recommend that Bikram Yoga or other forms of Hot Yoga are not for children as they react to high temperatures differently than the adults. They have high surface area to the body mass ratio which allows them to absorb extra heat than the adults. Also, the blood volume in kids is lower and therefore, the blood retains heat more easily after being heated up. Lastly, children have a slower sweat rate when compared to adults. As we know that sweating reduces the body temperature; the children are much different from the adults.
Hot Yoga Vs. Cold Weather
A thing to know about the Hot Yoga is that you shouldn't head right outside the chamber after the routine is over. It is important to cool down before you go outside, especially into a chilly atmosphere. In case if you are exposed to cool temperatures effective immediately, your body will slow the circulation rapidly down, constrict the blood vessels and then start tightening the muscles placing you at a bigger risk for muscle pulls, sprains and injuries.
Apart from that, the swings in temperatures weaken the immune system by putting you at risk for colder temperature. This doesn't say that you shouldn't be practicing Hot Yoga in Winter, but only is a cautious warning about the cooling down procedure. In fact, by practicing Hot Yoga in winter, you can dilate the blood vessels, enhance the blood circulation, raise the body's temperature and raise the heart rate as well. Just make sure that you wait for 10 minutes and cool your body down before you expose your body to the cold temperature and also use a warm hat, heavy coat and gloves as well.
Prominent Hot Yoga Poses
Half Moon 1
Start with placing your feet together with no space between them. Shift your body weight in the direction of the heels. Now, move the body square to the front while you keep the shoulders and hips faced forward. Lengthen the arm up (any arm) and start moving over to the other side without twisting the arm. Keep your gaze focused on your forehead and start taking full breath cycles. Repeat the pose on the other side and start repeating the entire Yoga posture for 2-3 times.
Half Moon 2
Just like in Half Moon 1, place the two feet together and do the same as shifting the body weight towards the heels. Move the entire body square towards the front by facing the shoulders and hips forward. Lengthen up by straightening the spine and move over to the side without any bending and twisting. Put the arms straight and make sure that both of your hands are clasped. Point the chin up and far away from the chest. The arms should be touching the years in the position, and the hands should be making a prayer grip with both the thumbs crossed. Interlace the rest of the fingers and release the index fingers while you gaze at the forehead and take full breath cycles.
Hands to Feet Pose
Again place the feet together at the same place in a straight position. Now start bending the hips, hips alone not the waist forward. The stomach should be touching your thighs, and the chest should be resting on the knees. If you can't keep the knees straight, you can always bend them anyways. Keep the arms around the lower legs and while standing on the fingers, try to grab the heels with the hands. Make sure that your shoulders are away from the ears. Focus entirely on the point between the legs and take full breath cycles.
Stand straight and cross the arms by crossing both the elbows and the wrists. By placing the arms together, keep the fingers straight or either interlace them based on your convenience. Now, cross the legs by making a cross at the thigh level and also by crossing the calf muscles. Put a foot forward and then wrap the other foot around the calf of this foot and point the toes down by bending the knee. Stand in this position while keeping the entire upper body straight. Take few breath cycles before you change the leg.
Standing Knee to Head
Put the foot forward, any of the foot; while you keep the leg straight. Make sure that your shoulders are at the chin level in a square position. Interlace all the ten fingers of both the hands by placing them under the right foot. Now, keep your right tight, very parallel to the ground surface. Make sure that the bottom of your elbows are touching the sides of the calf muscles while you gaze at the ground. Repeat the pose with the other foot this time and breath throughout the pose.
Balancing Stick Pose
Place your left foot or right foot forward while pointing the toes forward. Keep the leg straight. Now take the other leg and face the hip down while pointing the toes of the leg down. Interlace the fingers of the arms and touch your ears with the arms. The entire body coming from the head to the toes of the leg that is lifted should be in a parallel line with the ground surface. Repeat it with other leg while you take longer breaths.
Keep your legs apart at a distance of 1 meter between both while your heels are placed on the same line. Now turn the right toes to 90º and then say your left toes to around 30º. Keeping your right knee bent, stack the knee over the right ankle and keep the thigh parallel to the ground surface while you lengthen the spine. The palms should be facing the side wall with the arms straight and up. The elbow should be touching the inner side of the knee at the starting level and the chin should be towards the left shoulder.
Half Hero Stretch
Keep the right leg straight and make sure that the knee and the toes are pointed up. Bend the left knee and the foot right next to the same side of the hip while you keep the toes towards the back. Put the heel straight and while your thighs are touching each other, move the torso the square and lower it over the right leg. Place the hands on the floor on either side of the right leg. Repeat the pose with the other leg after taking full breath cycles.
Table Top Pose
Place the hands with the straight arms under your shoulders making a perpendicular line to the floor. By keeping a feet width between the hips, bend any of the knee with toes pointing forward and the feet parallel to the ground surface. Make sure that the knees and shoulders are in the same line and just when they are together, rotate the thighs inward by keeping the toes and shoulders in same line.
This pose requires core strength as it is all about placing the entire weight of the body on the bone. Sit on the sitting bones, not the tail bone alone. After making sure you have placed the weight on the right bone, straighten the spine by bending both the knees and shines, placing them in parallel line with straight legs. Point the toes downward and level the legs with the eyes by placing the shoulders down in the back. While keeping the abdomen engaged, tighten your chest by moving the arms parallel to the shins and pointing the fingers forward with palms facing each other.
Wrapping up, practicing Hot Yoga in an extremely high temperature room increases the metabolic rate and also the pulse rate of the human being by dilating the blood vessels and achieving more flexibility by burning major calories. By this, the circulation is increased in the blood flow of legs and limbs.
Hot Yoga is amazing for sweating like a fiend and is amusing for losing few pounds off the body. Like other yogas, it will tone the muscles by enhancing the lymphatic system and by flushing the toxins out of the body. It also helps in achieving the equanamity by avoiding obstacles and by reducing the adversity. Hot Yoga is beyond the stress relieving and by hiking the confidence levels up. The rush of endorphin you get after being done with a 90 minute session will leave all healthy and strong.