The benefits of hot yoga you didn’t know about

8 August 2017 by
First published: 19 August 2017

Is it worth the sweat? We reckon so. Check out the benefits of hot yoga you didn’t know about.

Hot yoga and its benefits has been the subject of debate for a long time. With conflicting opinions as to whether it’s actually beneficial to the body, it’s tricky to know whether it is, in fact, worth the sweat. One advocate is Kelly McHugh, founder of Good Yoga Life and Digital Yoga Academy. ‘Hot yoga offers all the same amazing benefits as regular yoga – with a few added extras!’ she tells us. Indeed, another fan, Michele Pernetta who teaches the practice at popular yoga studio Fierce Grace said that many of her students going through the menopause reported feeling the benefits thanks to the hot class, as it reduced hot flushes (ironically), re-balanced hormones and calmed the nervous system. But this isn’t the only surprising benefit of hot yoga. According to Kelly, there are many more…

It gets your heart rate pumping

While some go to yoga to indulge in some quiet time and relaxation, hot yoga ups the tempo. ‘Your heart works the same way doing yoga postures in a heated room as it does when running a mile and you never even leave your mat!’ Kelly explains. ‘A 90-minute class can burn up to 1,000 calories.’ How can this be? ‘When you balance, you have to contract your muscles and that takes some work. Those types of positions will get your heart working harder. When you stretch and compress your internal organs and glands, you also stimulate your metabolism so you can continue burning calories after your class is over!’ says Kelly.

Keeps you looking younger

Did you know hot yoga could also help your skin? ‘Sweating is very cleansing for your body, when you sweat your circulation increases and more blood flows to the surface of your skin to help you cool down,’ explains Kelly. ‘Impurities and toxins are brought to the surface layers of the skin and exit your body through your pores.’ It could work as a hangover cure, too. ‘

Toxic acidity in the body, which is ageing and can be caused by emotional stress, pollution, tobacco, drugs, alcohol and a poor acidic diet, can literally be sweated out in a hot yoga class,’ Kelly says. ‘If this toxic acidity is kept in the body, our skin can age quicker as toxic acidity dehydrates the body and can lead to disease in the body.’

Soothes aches and pains

It may sound counterintuitive – a backbend might sound like the last thing you feel like doing when you’re achy – but hot yoga can, in fact, soothe pain. ‘The thought of bending, stretching, twisting into, and then holding, pretzel-like poses while your joints are inflamed may sound impossible. However, practicing yoga, especially hot yoga, can help heal old injuries and help you to manage existing pain in the body,’ says Kelly. ‘This is especially true for back pain and arthritis sufferers.’

So how does it work? The heat is the key. ‘People find their stiff joints loosen up more easily in hot, steamy conditions, and then benefits can last long after the class is over,’ explains Kelly. What’s more, hot yoga tends to be a lot lower-intensity than regular yoga classes. ‘In a hot yoga class, the postures are often floor based so there’s limited times where pressure will be applied to the hands and wrists,’ continues Kelly. ‘You may spend up to 30 minutes of the class doing poses while sitting, kneeling or lying on the floor.’

Fancy having a go? Remember to always prepare by drinking lots of water before a class. ‘Drink at least a litre of water about one or two hours before your class is due to start so it has time to get into your system and take water with you to sip during your class,’ advises Kelly.