Yoga in the Summer: Hot or Not?
No one can deny the comfort of walking into a hot yoga room during the dark frigidity of winter. The heated practice not only warms the body but it helps keep one’s inner flame burning brightly. Heated yoga keeps the body supple and fluid during the cold months and helps to counteract mild depression and has loads of other health benefits. Basically, it’s always 90° and sunny inside HYL’s yoga studio.
After those seemingly endless months of wicked early sunsets, wild East Coast winds and Nor’easters, comes the first warm day of the year. Those days start to appear in succession and then all of a sudden it’s 90 degrees in Boston! It might seem like the logical time to abandon your heated yoga practice. Below are several reasons that will make you think twice.
Note: Health Yoga Life’s instructors carefully monitor the heat inside and outside the class room. Adjustments to the heat are made for every individual class and some of our classes are not heated at all!
1. Practising yoga in a heated room can help you acclimate to the summer weather. The body becomes better at cooling itself. The dog days of summer will be easier to bear since you are used to heat and humidity. When others are complaining of the swelter, you’ll be more comfortable and likely breaking more of a sweat. The fitter you are, the faster you sweat as your body develops more sweat glands. Who knew that sweating constituted bragging rights?! You will also secrete fewer electrolytes in your sweat, as more of it is absorbed by the body. To maintain electrolyte balance, be sure to drink an electrolyte-enhanced beverage before and after class. To replenish electrolytes try Ultima powder or Nuun tablets. We sell them at Health Yoga Life! Just put them in water and you are good to go.
2. Sometimes the extreme weather of summer is matched by extreme activity. You might find yourself eating or drinking a little too much at that barbecue, wedding or pool party. Balance yourself out by detoxing in a hot yoga class. By sweating, you flush out the toxins, keeping your internal organs functioning well and helping your skin retain a healthy glow. You may also partake in extreme sports during the summertime, making you more susceptible to injury. Keeping up your heated yoga practice will allow your muscles to stretch deeply. And let’s face it – who really stretches properly before and after going for a jog? Yoga will help you maintain flexibility, strength and mobility, enhancing your performance during other physical activity. Half-marathon? Go get ‘em tiger – but book-end it with a date on your yoga mat.
3. Have you ever had one of those summers that just flew by? All of a sudden it’s September and you have that bitter-sweet feeling? Keeping up your hot yoga practice will help you to slow down and stay present. Training yourself to breathe deeply will have a balancing and calming effect on your nervous system. We are bombarded by a constant stream of stimuli in our modern lives with our smart phones, Facebook, email, twitter and Skype pulling us off center. Every moment of our day can be spent “multi-tasking” or in others words – thinking and doing multiple things at once, sacrificing present moment awareness. It is detrimental to the body and mind to stay constantly in a hyper-alert state. Yoga helps to kick start the relaxation response. By truly calming down from the inside out we find an improvement in overall health – physically, mentally and emotionally.
A new study from investigators at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) finds that elicitation of the relaxation response — a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing and prayer — produces immediate changes in the expression of genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism and insulin secretion. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501193204.htm)
Confirmation from science is validating but can’t hold a candle to the way you feel after emerging from savasana. Experience the benefits for yourself and make this your best summer yet. Join us for yoga class at Health Yoga Life!
So, the moral of the story is even though your friends might think you’re crazy, keep yoga on your schedule for the summer! See you on your mat.