Practicing hot yoga has always been one of my favorite ways to maintain my physical health and mental well-being. Hot yoga alone is wonderful however, when you combine the practice with far infrared sauna therapy it combines the best of both practices; a heated therapeutic sauna and deep stretching produced by hot yoga. Both combine to promote heavy sweating and subsequent flushing of the maximum amount of toxins from the body. The infrared heat allows more flexibility to perform yoga poses which allows for a deeper stretch and greater range of motion.
In an infrared hot yoga sauna the infrared light is absorbed by your muscles and soft tissue. In a pure hot yoga room only the air is hot, heating only the outside of your body. This results in a higher core temperature and deeper stretch.
Those who are devoted to the practice say Hot Yoga has all kinds of benefits. The one most often claimed is detoxification. This occurs as heavy sweating is said to help flush toxins from the skin and boost internal organ function. The heat also allows you to go a little more deeply (and safely) into the postures.
Heat elevates heart rate and intensifies your workout. Hot yoga combined with far infrared therapy is for those who want to develop strength, flexibility and tone along with detoxifying and a cardiovascular workout. If you’ve ever used a hot pack to either warm up sore muscles or relieve pain then you know how well heat works. This happens as heat increases the blood flow to sore muscle tissue thereby reducing stiffness and assisting in pain relief.
Infrared heat is a form of energy that allows you to warm your body efficiently as it penetrates into your tissues far more effectively than any other type of heat.
For decades studies have demonstrated far infrared saunas aid in the relief of pain especially when related to muscles, joints, tissues and skin. When nerve endings are relieved of pain, muscles cease to spasm and the body can ease into pain relief and relax into the healing process. Because of this, performing hot yoga poses while inside a infrared sauna assures I am getting superior flexibly and range of motion without causing harm to my muscles and joints (as with any form of stretching, make sure you work up to certain stretches and don’t over do it).
Below are some tips on preparing for a Hot Yoga session in your hot yoga infrared sauna. This includes being prepared with things like extra water, towels and patience. It’s very important to hydrate prior to your hot yoga session and equally important to remain hydrated throughout your session. Afterwards, make sure to eat some fruit to re-establish your electrolytes. Last, be patient with yourself – remember there is no pressure and it’s extremely important to take it slow in your stretches. Do the best you can without going overboard. If you begin to feel pain stop and take it slower next time.
You can expect many benefits from combining your infrared sauna with hot yoga. As Pilates says ‘You are only as old as your spine is flexible.’
• Flexibility – The penetrating heat allows your body greater and more efficient flexibility. Added flexibility is a great benefit especially for older people.
• Cardio – Hot yoga combined with infrared heat is excellent for your heart. As you pose and contract muscles you burn a great deal of calories while stimulating your metabolism and cardiovascular system.
• Strength – Spinal, muscle and core strength is improved and you will use many of your muscles you never knew existed! A strong core also protects your spine and improves your posture.
• Detoxification – The best way to rid the toxins out of your body is by sweating them out. Your kidneys, liver and other organs are a great way of detoxifying your body, but there are other toxins that are best removed through the skin. This is why a deep sweat in an infrared sauna is so great. The body has millions of minuscule sweat glands which get infused with fluid that arrives via the blood stream. These glands release that fluid into these glands then to the skin’s surface, removing any heavy metals and toxins carried by the blood stream.
• Breathing – Heat makes your heart rate increase and as a result, breathe more deeply. This is a good thing as you receive a passive aerobic exercise. You simply will have no choice but to learn more controlled breathing and focus on the rhythm of your breath.
• Determination and Focus – Hot yoga requires a focus on a specific routine. As you exercise this routine, controlled and advanced focus and determination is learned and can be utilized within your daily life. A lot of the time we forget to breathe. Hot yoga makes you remember it is to just breathe. You will be much less stressed throughout your day if you focus on your breath.
• Therapy – Hot yoga promotes healing on so many levels; pain relief, reduction in symptoms from illnesses such as asthma, high blood pressure, detoxification, weight loss and even diabetes. It also aids in reducing depression, stress and arthritis.
There are so many ways to enjoy your Far Infrared sauna and one of the healthiest and most challenging is to add a hot yoga routine to your daily sessions. The stretching and improvement in balance are great for your body and nothing relieves stress quite like a routine yoga practice. Combining the benefits of far infrared with hot yoga produces a great aerobic workout that results in weight loss and deep relaxation. The heated environment achieves positive changes quickly in your body as you leave the fight or flight mode and enter the parasympathetic relaxation mode.
If you already practice yoga I would really suggest considering hot yoga as a new way of benefiting your body. Combining both far infrared sauna therapy with your poses will increase core body temperature, improve mobility and add tremendous health benefits! Remember, heat your body, not the air. Personally, I simply enjoy saving time and money on traveling to a gym or paying for classes when I already possess an infrared sauna. My sauna is equipped with a removable bench and the floor is covered in a comfortable yoga mat. I literally have all I need to practice hot yoga right in my own home.