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Breathe, stretch, shake, and try out these popular hot yoga practices.

Because a hot girl summer might call for some hot yoga

Breathe, stretch, shake, and let it go. Summer is coming. Or whatever Mase said. Do you even know who Mase is? Am I showing my age? I digress. If you follow our blog, you know that we can hardly contain our excitement about the hottest season of the year! Our summer-ready preparation involves 30-day diets and high-intensity workouts that promise results within six weeks. What about yours?

One of the things that I’m most excited about is the number of concerts, festivals, and hiking trips I will attend. I may be young, but I'm ready to belt songs along with my faves, dance like Cash Money Records is taking over (again), and indulge in more food and drinks than I would ever recommend you to eat. The thought of this packed schedule makes me feel exhausted and sweaty already. On the topic of sweating, have you ever tried hot yoga? If your schedule will be anything like mine, this stretching exercise will help your body recover after overindulging.

What is hot yoga?

Hot yoga is high-intensity yoga performed in a warm and humid studio. It’s like performing yoga outdoors in The Bahamas on a balmy day where the wind feels more like a car muffler releasing exhaust than natural air-conditioning. There are different hot yoga practices. The type you choose depends on your preferences, health concerns, and even limitations. Hot yoga is not for everyone as it may cause heat-related illnesses. Before you try hot yoga, do your research or consult your physician especially if you are pregnant, have heart disease, or have a low tolerance for heat.

Three popular hot yoga practices

Ashtanga yoga

Compared to other yoga practices, ashtanga is more athletic. This practice is popular in Western culture and rooted in Vinyasa. Yoga Basics describes Vinyasa yoga as continuous or dynamic movements between yoga poses. Vinyasa yoga increases your heart rate and can improve your flexibility, strength, and stability. Like all yoga practices, Vinyasa can help you become more calmed and focused.

Although Ashtanga is rooted in Vinyasa yoga, the athleticism of this practice derives itself from Hatha yoga. There are six series or levels with a fixed order of postures. The practice usually begins with Sun Salutation A or Surya Namaskar A and Sun Salutation B. Repeat these salutations five times, then follow with other standing poses, and a set of seated poses.

Benefits of ashtanga yoga

Although we list Ashtanga as a hot yoga practice, technically, it isn’t. At least not compared to Bikram yoga. The reason that Ashtanga yoga is considered a sweatier yoga practice is because of the intensity of the six multi-step. As mentioned, all yoga practices help you to become more calmed and focused. Because this practice uses your entire body, you can expect to increase balance, flexibility, stability, and strength. With practice, your breathing and endurance will also improve. Ashtanga yoga may also:

  • Aid in weight loss

  • Ease joint pain

  • Promote healthier, mindful eating habits

We found a beginner-level 45-minute class that you can try if you are interested in this sweaty yoga. Check it out below.

Bikram yoga

The most popular hot yoga practice is Bikram yoga. This practice was founded by Bikram Choudhury back in the 70s and surged in the U.S. during the early 2010s. It is a patented practice that consists of 26 poses completed in sequence over 90 minutes. Like Ashtanga yoga, Bikram poses or asanas derive from Hatha yoga. However, this practice improves oxygenation throughout your body. It moves oxygenated blood to every fiber and organ of your body.

During Bikram yoga, the room is 105°F or 41°C. Typically, a Bikram yoga studio is carpeted to trap heat and enhance the sweaty experience. As with any other hot yoga practice, some of the potential dangers of Bikram yoga include heat-related illnesses, dehydration, nausea, and extreme fatigue. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis, consult your physician before trying Bikram yoga.

Benefits of Bikram yoga

Although many propose that sweating flushes out toxins from your body, this is a myth. According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, sweat is not made up of toxins. It is 99% water combined with a small amount of salt, proteins, carbohydrates, and urea. In other words, there are no toxins in sweat. However, as you do Bikram yoga, sweating is especially beneficial because it helps your body cool down and regulates its temperature. As you practice, blood circulation will give your skin that healthy glow that makes you appear cherubic. Don’t we all want that?

Not unlike Ashtanga yoga, Bikram yoga may:

  • Aid in weight loss

  • Ease joint pain

  • Improve your mood

  • Increase flexibility

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Sharpen your mind

Check out this 30-minute Bikram yoga beginner/all-level class that we found.

Vinyasa yoga

Life is easier when you go with the flow. Yet, a lot of us don’t have personalities that allow that to happen, so we practice Vinyasa yoga instead! This practice is known as flow yoga because it consists of you stringing together postures seamlessly using breath. Unlike Ashtanga and Bikram yoga which have set sequences or asanas, Vinyasa is more flexible. Pun intended. It offers a variety of poses - no two Vinyasa yoga classes are ever alike.

Benefits of Vinyasa yoga

Because this practice is all about flexibility and flow, you are less likely to retain motion injuries from repeating the same things every day. Vinyasa yoga can be dynamic and intense, or soft and restorative. If you practice hot vinyasa yoga, then the practice is more likely to be dynamic and intense. This practice feeds off your feelings, promoting movement that works for where you are mentally or emotionally, progressing as the class continues. With this free nature, you can expect:

  • Improved mood

  • Increased flexibility

  • Mental clarity

  • Restored balance

Flow into this 60-minute beginner class at the start or end of your day.

Whichever hot yoga practice you choose, remember to do what is best for you and your body. Because yoga is a full-body workout, consult with your physician or a health professional before practicing if you struggle with pre-existing conditions or illnesses. Even after summer is past, continue to choose a practice that aligns with the life that you envision for yourself. After all, wellness is a lifestyle.

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