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What are the benefits of hot yoga? While there's not a huge amount of scientific research exploring the question, several studies have been.
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A great thing with yoga - a great thing with human capacity - is the reality can be much greater than what we initially imagination. I got to thinking about this following many talks with people about hot yoga. There are a few fables going around here! As with most yoga, I think the fables aren't helpful to people; yoga is much stronger without them. Of course, if you love hot yoga, that's great! Do what you enjoy doing. At the same time, it's useful to unravel some myths, so we can understand what we're doing, and find our own way to what we need.

The mythology around hot yoga expounds on the benefits of being in a heated room. Among many things, it says that being in a hot room increases metabolism, makes blood vessels flexible, improves circulation, eliminates toxins, stimulates T-cell production, and bolsters immunity.

Joking aside, these are all great outcomes that people can give themselves through a variety of approaches. But none of them is linked to a heated room. As with many fables, there is often some path to the truth. Let's unravel these hot yoga fables, and find the real causes of the good health we want.

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Your metabolism is boosted by a hot room. To the extent that our metabolism is tied to temperature at all, it's body temp not room temp. Regardless of room temp, your body temp remains constant. In fact, your body is very good at maintaining this constant internal temperature, so all your systems keep working optimally. That's why we sweat and surface vessels dilate when it's hot; our body is working to keep our temp at a nice constant working level.

This metabolism-boosting fable probably wants us to believe that if we need to lose weight, walking into a hot room is the way to go. For people who really need to lose weight, this is unfortunately misguided and just not helpful. Of course, the weight loss we're looking for isn't water weight from sweating and dehydrating! Walking into a hot room doesn't raise metabolism. In some ways, external heat encourages our bodies to slow down, actually reducing our own fires as part of the constant-temp balancing act our bodies perform so well.

By contrast, our fires burn a little brighter when it's cold including the shivering response , as our bodies work to keep our temp from dropping.

What does boost metabolism is working our muscles. So if you're doing that in hot yoga, or any yoga at all, great!

How Hot Yoga Fits Into the Yoga World

But if you're walking into a hot room and doing less than you'd do elsewhere - because all that heat puts you in shutdown mode - you'll likely get less of what you're looking for in hot yoga. If you want to lose weight, get moving! If you like it hot, great.

The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations

If that slows you down and leads you to work less with your body, lose the hot room and just move. Circulation and flexibility are improved by a hot room. These may have some tie to temperature, along with more significant factors in your brain and diet. But on the temp front, the real factor here is warmth you create by working your muscles. So once again we find it's not the hot room; it's what you do with your body to create your own heat and kick-start your own systems. And stay easy while you work. Create your own heat by moving, and see how that works for your muscles. If your mind is tense, it signals your body to stay in defense mode.

You'll be tense no matter how hot you are and how much stretching you do. Try eating good, real foods see Michael Pollan , do what relaxes you, and let it go! Toxins are eliminated by a hot room. We do have some dirt in our pores, so sweat may work that out. But your sweat glands are not part of your body's primary and very capable detox system: Your body works together as one cohesive system, and your skin is of course an important part of that system.

But if you're looking to detox , don't think that sweat will do the trick! Drink plenty of water, breathe deep, eat good foods.

Benefits of Bikram Yoga HD

Detox programs are very popular these days. Rather than stay on the toxin-detox seesaw, take a lesson from your body as it does all this work to stay optimal all the time! Do what you can to keep your intake a good healthy constant.

Better Sleep

Immunity and T-cell production are improved by a hot room. Your body raises your internal temperature - which you'll feel in a fever - when it needs to. An infection is spotted, and we go into emergency combat mode. Systems get to work - including your T-cells - that attack, isolate, and eliminate. Our bodies are amazing! Of course, we wouldn't want our body to have a fever - to be in emergency mode - when there's no emergency.

Luckily, our bodies are pretty good at doing what they need to do.

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Our temperature is constant to maintain optimal normal operating conditions. It goes up as needed to combat infections. The style of yoga for beginners is matter of personal choice, philosophy, goals and your very own physical condition. The benefits of yoga, regardless of style, are real. Each style requires varying degrees of physical ability.

Some forms emphasize the spiritual, others place their emphasis on breathing exercises and yet others emphasize the yoga poses themselves. And yes, there are those that utilize some combination of the three.


Hot yoga adds a new element to this. Practicing yoga in a room that is heated up to above your body temperature does not only make you sweat. It gives you an entirely new experience and shows you how your muscles and circulation react to an environment that you would normally not choose for working out.

Be warned Hot yoga can be addicting, and that is not only due to its many benefits. Yoga is a unique form of exercise that bears little resemblance to the Western concept of exercise. Western exercises consist of running, weight lifting, push-ups, jumping jacks and the like. Hot Yoga is beyond that. There are basically two significant factors differentiating hot yoga from other variations of the Hatha yoga discipline.

Human research study explores effects of hot yoga

The high temperature in which the asanas and breathing exercises are performed reduces the likelihood of injury. Like other types of yoga that focus on breathing exercises, hot yoga advances lung capacity through breathing pranayamas. You can almost feel it while you're doing it. Hot yoga is excellent for your circulation It is a great cardiovascular workout. This effect has been known for a long time. Exercising in a hot environment improves your immune system and elevates the body's regenerative capacity.

You will notice that you are able to bend further and stretch better when you do hot yoga. This causes the muscles to get used to being "used. Hot yoga supports weight-loss even more than regular yoga because you are sweating a LOT. Hot yoga addresses all aspects of physical fitness including muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and weight loss.

While certainly not the easiest yoga path to follow, it is a great style of yoga for the beginner and the guru. The most unique benefits of hot yoga are detoxification cleansing and reduced injuries due to the greater flexibility of the body in a hot environment.