Why Hot Yoga?

Today, the benefits of yoga have grabbed the attention of many Americans looking for supplemental activities to physical therapy and recreation.  The increase in popularity has made it seem as though almost every street corner is home to a new studio.  While this is a wonderful direction to head, with yoga being good and available for EVERYONE, much of what is offered today is diluted and far from the beneficial, traditional yoga roots. 

With the considerable amount of growth over the years, some of the purity of yoga has been lost.  Many teachers become “certified” with very little training and begin sequencing postures and instructing at big-box yoga studios.  The original yoga sages studied the discipline for many years before sequencing positions and recommending postures for different diseases and human ailments.  There is a level of respect and credibility that must be given to the original sequences, so when you encounter new styles of yoga, it is best to know why and what you are being offered.

There are several types of yoga with tremendous following and history.  Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga are just a few of the more popular.  It is still possible to follow the strict education by some of the masters of these types of yoga, but, for the masses, this is rarely protocol.  While adaptive and mainstream studios are popular, it is worth your effort to consider the roots of your yoga studio and the classes that are being offered.

YogaFUZN La Jolla (formerly known as Bikram Yoga La Jolla) has been practicing hot yoga for over 15 years, offering the original series 26&2 (Bikram Yoga), which is hatha yoga, practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and at 40% humidity. 

Over the years, we have grown and evolved.  While the accommodations have changed, the basic yoga series has not changed by design.  Practicing yoga in a heated room has proven to be helpful for many different ailments, human suffering conditions and diseases.  Adding heat to the practice helps to move the body more easily and allows the participant to receive a deeper, safer stretch.  The simple fact is, muscles are more inclined to respond when warm.  This is especially helpful for aging participants and those who suffer from inflammatory diseases, including arthritis. 

Another added advantage of a hot room, is creating the perfect climate for sweating.  Our body’s natural way to eliminate toxins, and keep us cool, is achieved by sweating.  The more easily we sweat and the more we perspire, the better.  After participating in a few hot yoga classes, you will notice how quickly the body begins to sweat, keeping your skin both clean and supple.   Sweating with proper hydration is an excellent way to keep our bodies clean, from the inside out.

With all of the established benefits of increased sweating, some still don’t “prefer” the heat.  This is where the fundamentals of a strong mental practice come into play.  Many people prefer to be in a comfortable, cooler climate rather than one that can sometimes be overwhelmingly. Therein lies the very reason hot yoga can be so incredibly beneficial.  We oftentimes do not “like” to do certain things, even when those things are good for us.  Overcoming mental obstacles is the very heart and soul of yoga.  You learn through practice to create a better form of yourself.  It is not easy, but it is very simple.  The human mind has the ability to complicate anything and everything, and it always will.  When you practice hot yoga, you learn to overcome obstacles, things that actually hold you back in real life.  These obstacles become your lessons, the very essence of your practice, to see your true self more clearly and keep moving no matter the challenge.. 

Where spiritual advantages of hot yoga may not be of interest to some, the sequence of postures was designed to uplift both mind and body.  The stimulation of our internal organs through simple movement, basic compressions and twists is like a massage for our systems.  It is very basic and simple yet profound in its effects.  Yoga is a form of physical therapy and the practitioner is its own best teacher.  We simply teach ourselves and learn more about who that is, after all, yoga is the awareness of self. 

As we learn more about this relationship with self, or awareness, we realize how important it is to keep moving.

We invite you to move and sweat with us at YogaFUZN La Jolla.

Colleen Bourgeois