by Liza Janda E-RYT, RPYT
Give me 70 Degrees Fahrenheit!
I love San Diego for its temperate climate. So why in the world would I go practice hot yoga in 105 degrees? I remember hot summer days in Baltimore, MD. I think the words that comes to mind are “oppressive heat”. With no air conditioning you just prayed the heat wave would come to an end with a major downpour. We couldn’t wait to feel the cool breeze after the rain.
Keep Your Sweat to Yourself!
Is there nothing worse than having that big dude on the mat next to you dripping with sweat and flinging his disgusting, dripping diaphoresis (aka sweat-yes I used the thesaurus) down on me? Yuck! Keep it to yourself buddy!
Inhale and Exhale In A Hot Room, With Sweaty People, and No Ventilation?
A hot yoga room sounds like a great place for mold and other unpleasant things to grow. What about the woman who obviously has a cold? She’s blowing her nose and coughing. I guess she thinks she’s detoxing. She’s detoxing all over the other 29 people in the room! Let’s see…we’ve got 20-30 people sweating in a room spreading bacteria, viruses they don’t know they have yet, and mold spores. Hmmm. No thank you.
Is She Sharing Virus With Me?
Well, not to blow up your belief system, but the only way your body can eliminate toxins is through the kidneys, the liver, and the digestive tract. You are actually dehydrating your body in a hot yoga class. Dehydration causes increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, and lack of energy. The worse part is that you’re not even burning more calories!
The Point of Sweating is to Cool Your Body!
That sweat covering your body is meant to help you maintain a healthy body temperature. Your increased body temperature tells your brain to sweat, so that your body can become cool and keep your internal organs at a healthy temperature. Your body can’t cool itself in this hot yoga room. It’s too hot!
By increasing your body temperature in a hot yoga class, you are warming up not only your muscles and internal organs, but also your ligaments and tendons. Your ligaments and tendons are meant to stabilize your joints. They are not meant to stretch like muscles are. When ligaments stretch they don’t go back the way they were. Because you can stretch further in a hot yoga class, it doesn’t mean you should. You are definitely increasing your chances of stretching too far and causing injuries. Deal with inflammation, rest, and recovery Or resist the urge to push past your limits.
No Mirrors Please
So many women struggle with body image. Having to look at yourself in the mirror to see if you’re executing a pose correctly is a recipe for self-consciousness, self-hatred, self-destructiveness. Ugh! One of the things I love about yoga is learning how to feel the pose in your body. With the help of a good teacher, you can know with your eyes closed if the pose is right. You don’t need a mirror. Body awareness is one of the best benefits of practicing yoga. Besides, I thought I looked pretty good in my Lululemon yoga pants but that 20 year old in her shorts is…well, you know….Reality check anyone?
No Spirituality Just Physicality
At the beginning of a yoga class, many teachers will prompt you to think of your intention for your class. I get the feeling hot yoga is all about physical. The intention is to move, sweat, burn calories, stretch. There is nothing wrong with that, and maybe it’s a good place to start. But the last thing I want to do at the end of a 90 minutes hot yoga class is to sit still in the oppressively hot room, covered in my sweat, and possibly the sweat of others to find my quiet meditation time. Yuck! Breathing that air in and out? It’s just not going to happen. I want to get home and in to the shower ASAP!
Those are my reasons. But the hot yoga business is thriving, so I’m probably in the minority. I encourage you to shop around, ask questions about your teachers’ training and experience. Most of all go find a yoga class, any class, or teacher that helps you to feel good, quiet your mind, listen to your body. If it makes you happy, that’s the right class for you.