12 Beautiful Yoga Poses
SWEAT AND DETOXIFICATION The skin, the body’s largest organ, eliminates toxins through perspiration. The function of sweat is to cool the body through evaporation. Hot yoga practitioners purport that perspiration removes waste from the body on a surface level through the pores and on a deeper organic level by carrying waste away from the kidneys and liver. Sweating has also been found to stimulate the metabolism and immune system.
FOCUS AND BREATH As the body works to stay cool, the mind must focus in a challenging environment. As in all forms of yoga, hot yoga puts emphasis on deep breathing to increase the flow of prana or vital life. The breath connects the body to the mind and carries the practitioner through the poses. Deep breathing helps to calm the body and mind and circulates fresh oxygen throughout the body.
FLEXIBILITY Stretching warm muscles is more effective and lets the practitioner get deeper into poses. Because stretching is an effective way to increase flexibility, hot yoga can help improve one’s range of motion, prevent injuries in exercise, and help a person heal from previous injuries.
WEIGHT MANAGEMENT Many people seeking to manage their weight practice hot yoga because it addresses several aspects of weight loss and maintenance, including exercise, stress reduction, and thyroid stimulation.
STRESS RELIEF Exercise, deep breathing and meditation have been shown to reduce stress levels, and hot yoga combines all three. The mind’s effort to focus on the poses in a hot environment distracts from stressors. Lower stress levels allow for better, easier sleep, which improves the immune system, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and improves mood.
IMMUNE SYSTEM Raising one’s core temperature increases white blood cell production that defends against viruses and bacteria. The body also produces more interferon, which increases the production of antibodies. Stress is known to weaken the immune system, so activities that reduce stress also reduce susceptibility to illness.
ACHES, INJURIES AND ARTHRITIS Many joints, especially the vertebrae, stop lubricating as efficiently when a person enters their thirties. Yoga promotes joint lubrication which can alleviate general feelings of stiffness and discomfort in the spine, knees, hips and shoulders, feet and hands. INCREASED PERFORMANCE Many athletes take up hot yoga to improve performance in other activities. Well-stretched muscles and joints in proper alignment have better range of motion and are less prone to injury. The breath control of yoga also improves performance in cardiovascular and anaerobic activities.