Yoga has been an important part of my life for the past 3 years now. I began regularly in October of 2010 and have been hooked ever since. Although I have been practising several times a week (most weeks) I am still a beginner, all things considered. There is so much to learn and so much to discover. It truly is a lifelong practice, and I think it’s amazing.
How I feel when I come out of class truly is something special, a natural high that I will admit is a little addictive. I am so thankful for everything that yoga has brought to my life and want to share what I believe to be the benefits of a regular yoga practice based on my personal experience.
Note: Although I have practiced at many studios around the city, most of my practice has been at Moksha Yoga NDG and Moksha Yoga Montreal which is HOT YOGA. Most of the benefits listed below apply to both hot yoga as well as yoga practiced in a non heated room. However I do believe that some of the benefits are enhanced due to the heat.
The hot room is not for everyone. You have to try it to know, and be sure to listen to your body and be hydrated.
Another important note is that to truly experience these benefits one must give yoga a chance. I did not experience all these things the first few times I practiced in the hot room. It takes time. So, if you are interested in any of these benefits, be patient and stick with it.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
1. Increases strength
There are most definitely different types of strength. Yoga will not make you buff like a bodybuilder, but a regular practice will develop a balanced level of strength. Strength that goes beyond the ability to do more, and leaves you feeling great. Developing both the upper and lower body, and always working the core to find stability within strength.
2. Increases flexibility
A lot of people think that only flexible people can do yoga; and it’s likely true that flexibility is above average in most yoga studios, but those people are more flexible because of their practice, meaning you have to start somewhere! Using inflexibility as an excuse not to do yoga is as silly as using hunger as an excuse not to eat!
3. Helps weight loss – natural weight
The intensified cardiovascular benefit of practicing in the heat increases the weight loss that can come directly from a yoga practice, but perhaps more significant is the shift in motivation that often occurs when people develop a regular yoga practice and start to want to eat healthier foods. Over time the physical effect of the exercise and the effect of healthier choices can lead to significant weight loss for some practitioners.
4. Increases energy
No matter how tired and lethargic I feel when I go into a yoga class I come out feeling energized, ready to tackle any task. And if it was a night class and that task happens to be going home to sleep, I wake up ready for the day!
5. Improves mood
Feeling down? Yoga is an excellent way to boost your mood and put a smile on your face. Ideally the yoga studio you practice at is also a great community which can help bring good vibes into your life and can support you when you need it.
6. Detoxifies the body
One of the benefits of hot yoga is the detoxifying effect sweating has. It feels so good to sweat out of every pore of your body. You come out feeling clean and refreshed. It’s like pressing a reset button. Even in unheated practice some poses facilitate the body’s natural detoxification process.
7. Releases stress
Whatever issues you are dealing with at work, at home, or any other area of your life, you will feel better about them after sweating it out in the hot room. It helps put things in perspective as well as allows you to clear your mind to help you find your next step.
8. Sparks creativity
Creativity cannot be forced, but it can be cultured by finding a connection to your breath and to any deeper meaning you might find there, and that energy works to help you align with that place that the creative spark comes from!
9. Increases productivity
Everyone is different, but for me post yoga is a great time to get that work done that I have been putting off. I am, of course, writing this article during what I like to call a ‘post yoga high’ – razor sharp clarity combined with a high level of motivation and confidence make post yoga an incredibly productive time for me. Maybe the same would be true for you, try it out and get to work.
10. Develops mindfulness
Living in the moment is something all of us can get better at. Appreciating what is going on right now, and not worrying about the past or the future. Yoga helps us practice this present state of mind.
11. Increases self-esteem
Yoga makes you feel good, in many ways. I think I have made that clear by now. This means feeling great about yourself. Taking care of your body, mind and soul all at once by practicing hot yoga does wonders for how you feel about yourself and life in general.
12. Community and networking
Yoga studios are often very warm and welcoming communities filled with an array of people from many walks of life. When such a diverse group of people all come together in one place to move with breath, together, it creates an incredibly positive and powerful energy. Exploring community is one of the best side benefits of a regular yoga practice.
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