5 Reasons to Practice Yoga and Work Out in the Heat
bodē nyc owner, Jen Lobo, has loved the heat since she stepped into her first Bikram Yoga class back in San Francisco in 1996. As an athlete and avid marathon runner at the time (and not naturally flexible), she quickly realized the benefits of stretching and sweating in a heated environment and was able to gain a lot of flexibility in her first month. Marathon times and recovery time improved drastically and Jen was able to enjoy sports like soccer, tennis, skiing with no soreness after! Lobo, now in her 50s, attributes her continuation of her sports regimen to heated yoga.
Here are Jen's top reasons to give the heat a try (even if you consider yourself a "non-heat person")...and take at least 3 classes to start to feel the physical and mental benefits:
- Get flexible. By warming the muscles and the tendons in a heated environment, you are able to stretch more safely. Stretching when your muscles are warm improves flexibility in your muscles and increases range of motion in your joints. A 2013 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that after just two months hot yoga participants had better flexibility in their shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings compared to the control group.
- Get the glow. Sweating improves circulation and boosts the delivery of oxygen-rich blood to your skin cells, providing you with a post-yoga glow. Exercise-induced sweating has been shown to actually reverse signs of aging at the cellular level. Benefits include increased collagen production, enhanced hydration, and reduced sagging, all of which contribute to healthier, more youthful looking skin. We always recommend a hot yoga class before a hot date!
- Increase your lung capacity. Contrary to what some people might think, practicing yoga in a hot room can actually improve your lung capacity. The breathing exercises in hot yoga help train your lungs to retain more air. Deeper breaths force your lungs to expand more than usual, which allows for increased oxygen flow to the bloodstream and vital organs. Breathing deeper is essential for stress-relief and relaxation and once you master the breathwork the class becomes a true moving meditation.
- Get a cardiovascular workout and burn calories. In our original hot yoga class (also known as Bikram style yoga), holding different yoga poses in high heat can give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more challenging workout than doing the same poses in a lower temperature. This “hatha” practice means we hit a pose, hold that pose, then rest in between, and the on/off nature of the class works in much the same way as interval training. The heat adds a cardiovascular aspect because it increases the heart rate more than in a non-heated room, meaning you burn more calories while strengthening your heart health.
- Good for all ages. Our Original Hot Yoga classes were designed to be a beginner’s sequence, which means it works for yogis of all levels and abilities. This is a practice that will grow with you and change as your body changes. Struggling with an injury? The sequence is there to support your recovery. Using it as a complement to a broader workout routine? The yoga works brilliantly as a cross-training regimen. Aging out of the rigorous, high-impact exercises you did in your younger days? This is a series that can carry you safely into retirement and beyond. We may not like to think of getting older, but it happens to all of us. And the need for physical exercise does not disappear; in fact, most experts agree that the need for exercise becomes even more pressing as we age. This is a routine you can do safely for all the rest of your days.
About bode nyc
Established in 1999, bodē nyc is Manhattan's original hot yoga studio. bodē nyc offers an array of hot classes including original hot yoga (aka Bikram yoga), Hot Vinyasa Flow, Hot Yin and Hot Interval Training, taught by some of the most experienced and compassionate teachers in the city. In NYC? Schedule your next class today at their Flatiron or Upper East Side location.