The expats behind Hot Yoga Eindhoven, Natasha Gunn (British) and Hans Jakusch (German) offer five good reasons to start practicing yoga, in the heat.
Yoga, more than anything, is an experience. You need to do it to find out how and where it affects your health and life in general. But reading is a start for many people, and starting is the point. Here are several good reasons to start practicing yoga and why some studios are turning up the heat.
1. Breathing. With yoga practice you start training yourself to use the breath in a different way. Yoga breathing calms the mind while increasing the oxygen supply to our body. In higher temperatures, the heart works harder, flushing more oxygenated blood through the body. We learn quickly how to use the breath in a calming way to manage our hot yoga practice. By having more control over how we move and react to stimuli, both inside and out, we learn to direct our own lives and destiny.
2. Being in the present. Staying in the present is connected to our breathing, and learning to be where we are now. By practicing yoga we learn to be in the present moment and do the best that we can from what we have now. Especially in a hot room, you learn that how you are in your practice is more important than how far you go.
3. Health benefits. Practicing postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation, have scientifically proven health benefits on both our bodies and minds. Practicing yoga postures regularly makes the body healthier as you work on the inside as well as the outside of the body. Yoga practice works on the internal organs as well as muscles, connective tissues and joints. Practicing yoga in the heat reduces risk of injury because the body relaxes; in a classical hot yoga class, the room is specially heated to between 38 and 40 degrees. Relaxation of the muscles and tissues not only promotes the range of movement but allows us, safely, to go deeper into the poses. The heat also works the heart harder, promoting venous return and increasing the oxygen supply to every part of the body. This promotes faster healing of injuries making hot yoga popular with sports people.
4. Postural benefits. Traditional hot yoga practice is a form of hatha yoga where the body is moved through a series of postures in a logical progressive order to give a total body workout, both inside and out. Postures are held to allow the body to reap the full benefits of each pose and create stability, flexibility and strength. Regular practice will work on correcting what is needed: straighten droopy shoulder, tone flabby bellies, arch up flat feet. As your spine strengthens and your balance recalibrates, literally, things start to fall into place. But it takes practice. As the body opens, so does the mind.
5. Finding inner peace. Meditation can be practiced when sitting, standing and moving. During a yoga class, the effects of moving mindfully with the breath are similar to the effects experienced from sitting meditation. By practicing yoga in the heat, you quickly learn there is no room for anything else but focus on your practice. You learn to start from calm and end in calm. Every movement becomes mindful.
Hot Yoga Eindhoven offers classical Hot Yoga, Vinyasa flow yoga and Yin yoga. All the yoga classes are in English. Check here for more details.