Yoga is one of the most popular workouts of the day - but it's definitely one of the best! There are many types of Yoga to choose from, including:
- Power Yoga and Astanga Yoga -- These types of Yoga focus more on the exercise aspect, and the classes cycle through the poses more quickly.
- Kundalini Yoga -- This Yoga focuses on your core, specifically the Root Chakra.
- Hatha Yoga -- With slow, gentle movements, this is one of the best types of Yoga for de-stressing!
Bikram Yoga - also known as Hot Yoga - is a form of Yoga that has become hugely popular. With its 26 poses and a room heated to over 100 F, you're guaranteed to sweat it out!
Why Hot Yoga?
The purpose of Bikram Yoga is to sweat all of the junk out of your body. The 26 poses stretch and tone your muscles, and they compress your organs. Basically, the poses squeeze your liver, kidneys, and other abdominal organs to flush all of the junk out - effectively "rinsing" them. With the heat causing you to sweat like you're in a sauna, you can bet all of the toxins are headed out your pores!
Did you know that Yoga can boost your memory, mental health, and concentration - even with just 20 minutes a day? A study at the University of Illinois showed that Yoga worked better at boosting brain potential than jogging and walking.
It Is Dangerous…
The drawback is that Hot Yoga can be more dangerous than regular Yoga, for a few reasons:
You are able to stretch more. The heat speeds up your metabolism, and your muscles can stretch more. However, there is a very real possibility that you'll stretch it too much, which can lead to potentially serious muscle damage (think torn muscle tissue: ouch!).
You're working your knees and hips very hard. A lot of the poses involve serious leg working, which can place a lot of pressure on your knees. If you exert too much pressure for too long, you can damage your kneecap. You also assume poses that twist your hip joints - often to the extreme.
The sweat literally pours off your body. If you sweat too much, you can flush good minerals out of your body along with the toxins. This can lead to dehydration, which in turn can lead to fainting - and even death if you're not careful!
There's a lot of competition. As with any other class, many people get into the stretches - trying to compete with the others to see who can push themselves harder. This can lead to injuries - as all competition usually does.
Doctors have just one warning for you: BE CAREFUL WITH BIKRAM YOGA.
If you have high blood pressure, smoke, or are overweight, it's safest to avoid Bikram Yoga.
How to Practice Bikram Yoga Safely
So, how can you practice this incredibly sweaty type of Yoga safely?
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Prepare to drink water after the class, and hydrate your body no more than 60 minutes before class if you want to survive.
Listen to your body. Don't try to push yourself too hard, as that can lead to injuries, strains, and sprains. If your body protests, don't push it harder. Find that edge, and hold your pose there. If your body complains, take a break and rest.
Gear up the right way.You want to wear little more than Yoga pants, a tank top, and any clothes that fit snugly. Clothes that hang loose will collect sweat, and they'll trap heat. Wash off any oils that will make your skin slippery when wet.
If you're going to sweat, it's important that you do so safely!