It's no secret that I'm always cold. Summer is my season, and I can think of nothing more delightful than basking in the sun by a pool for hours reading. Sadly, with three boys under 8, I don't really have much time for that these days! Luckily, in my own yoga practice, I try to attend heated studios as much as possible. I love yoga and practice when and where I can, but flowing in the heat is hands down my favorite! When I mention this, I usually get major side eye from most folks -- but there is a long list of health and wellness benefits that come from practicing in a heated room.
One of the big wins from practicing yoga in a heated studio, is that your body warms up faster. Not only is this beneficial when moving through various yoga poses, but it also helps to prevent injury. Although it's important to take caution when trying new poses, practicing in heat has greatly helped me to increase my flexibility and confidence.
Practicing in heat also increases our pulse rate and metabolism which leads to calorie burn, better circulation and blood flow to the limbs. Given that most of us spend an awful lot of time sitting throughout the day, these benefits can be critical to wake up the body and keep blood flowing at any age.
Hot yoga also builds muscle tone, and serves as a powerful source of detox for all of those toxins that we build up on a daily basis. Think benefits of sauna, while also improving overall strength -- both physical and mental. The endorphin rush and feeling of satisfaction that comes after a 60 or 90 minute practice in the heat is well worth any discomfort that may come up during class.
I practice Vinyasa, which is more of a flow of poses rather than Bikram, which is a specific set of 26 postures developed by Bikram Choudhury and derived from Hatha yoga. Regardless of the weather outside, I definitely recommend doing a bit of research to find a studio in your area. Once you start practicing yoga this way you may never go back!