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hot yoga|practicing hot yoga|Vinyasa pose

Yoga And Meditation

A Beginners Guide to Hot Yoga

Being an adaptive approach to better health and a better life, yoga has flourished into a multifaceted practice with a variety of yoga styles each with a specific set of practices and benefits. One of the most popular today is the grand variety of Hot Yoga that applies heat and humidity to improve the experience.

practicing hot yoga All You Need To Know About Hot Yoga

The physical practice and the entire yoga tradition is fraught with many misconceptions. Keeping an open mind and flexible body will allow an aspiring yogi to get the most from the endless benefits available. One common misconception is that Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga are one and the same.

Bikram Yoga, which includes a specific number of postures and breathing exercises performed in a room heated to 104°F, is only one of several hot yoga styles. 1 Some others include Moksha, Hot Vinyasa, Barkan Method and Baptiste Power, while they all share the principles of warmth and humidity to improve yoga experience, some of their fundamental approaches are different.

In Bikram Yoga, the emphasis is placed on consistency and proper execution and all sessions will include a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises no matter where you practice. 2 A Bikram Yoga session in New York City and Buenos Aires will progress in the exact same way each time. It is the belief that consistency allows the individual to properly measure their results.

There is more variety in other hot yoga styles like Barkan and Bikram that encourage more individuality in their sessions. Barkan Yoga adheres to the increased temperatures for similar benefits and experience as Bikram Yoga (see Benefits of Hot Yoga below) with temperatures at a lower 95°F, but teachers are allowed to use what techniques and method they find most suitable.

Baptiste Power also looks for a more dynamic and engaging class through the introduction of elements the instructor may see fit to apply. The flow of a Baptiste Power session will follow the Vinyasa style and uses a slightly lower temperature of about 85°F.

Vinyasa pose The Benefits and Risks of Hot Yoga

The idea of using heated studios and elevated humidity levels is also applied to other forms of Yoga such as Hatha and Vinyasa. The principals of Hot Yoga suggest that these conditions enhance and enrich yoga practice with:

-Optimized muscle action (improved strength, control, and flexibility)

-An enhanced capacity for weight loss

-Warmth soothes muscles and makes the practice more relaxing

-Emotionally balancing

-Relieves tension and pain in lower back and joints

Enhancing Hot Yoga with Essential Oils

The warmth and humidity make hot yoga the enhanced experience it is and can actually be enhanced with the addition of aromatic essential oils. While this is best achieved under the instruction of a qualified aromatherapist, there are also many pre-blended selections that can be used to affect your mental and physical state. 3 Lavender blends have soothing, calming effects and others like citrus essences can be more stimulating and energizing.

This practice, aptly called “Yog-Aroma”, is gaining traction for its capacity to support physical and mental balance. Try diffusing your favorite blends in your yoga studio or living room before your hot yoga practice.

There is also a fine selection of pre-blended personal essential oils diffusers available at The Active blend is perfect for invigorating the body and mind for a healthy hot yoga session.

Photo credits: zjuzjaka/, DRTravelPhotoandVideo/, MR.SOMKIAT BOONSING/

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