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What is behind the "Hot Yoga" trend?
There are many different types of yoga. The best known in this country are probably "Hatha Yoga", "Kundalini Yoga" or "Vinyasa Yoga". "Hot yoga", often called "Bikram yoga", is a relatively new trend. Yoga exercises are carried out at a room temperature of 38 to 40 degrees Celsius. Does this yoga style offer special health benefits and who is it suitable for?
Is "hot yoga" healthier?
Yoga helps reduce stress. On the physical level, the exercises are primarily intended to increase flexibility, flexibility and strength. This applies to all types of yoga, including “hot yoga”. The fact that "Hot Yoga" is not carried out at room temperature like other yoga variants, but at a significantly higher room temperature, means that the intensity of the training is also significantly higher.
But from a medical point of view does this result in advantages for the body that go beyond those of the other types of yoga? The renowned Mayo Clinic has recently dealt with this question. The warmth already increases the blood flow to the body even without movement, because the blood vessels dilate at elevated temperatures, the clinic's article says on the subject of "hot yoga".
This also increases the oxygen supply and flexibility of the muscles, which reduces the risk of injuries such as strains. Above all, "hot yoga" can train the cardiovascular system and thereby strengthen it. Dr. Edward Laskowski, deputy head of the sports medicine department at Mayo Clinic, formulates the medical benefits of "hot yoga" as follows:
“Warmth generally widens the blood vessels so that the muscles are supplied with blood. The muscles need blood flow when they work, they need oxygen, which is supplied by the blood. Many people like to exercise in a hot environment because it loosens the muscle. The demands of the poses and also the hot environment in which you find yourself increase the heart rate so that you get cardiovascular or cardiac condition there.
"Hot Yoga" thus extends the health benefits of other yoga styles by the component of cardiovascular training with a lower risk of injury. But the "hot" form of yoga is not suitable for everyone.
Who is "Hot Yoga" suitable for and who is not?
According to Dr. Laskowski is particularly suitable for "hot yoga" for people who like warmth and do not suffer from health restrictions.
Despite the advantages of "hot yoga", it is unfortunately not equally recommendable for all people: Pregnant women, people with heart problems, people who have already had a stroke or are prone to dehydration, and those who do not like or cannot tolerate heat, should be treated as a precaution by a doctor Seek advice before starting a "hot yoga" training.
Background: Yoga is so healthy
Yoga is a millennial holistic practice that is supposed to harmonize body, mind and soul. For a long time, yoga in the western world was dismissed as an esoteric practice by many people. In the meantime, the positive effects of yoga have been medically recognized for years. Various studies have shown that yoga is a good way to combat stress, which can trigger many diseases such as burnout or depression.
But not only the psyche, the body also benefits from regular yoga exercises. Above all, strength, flexibility and mobility are promoted. In 2014, the United Nations even declared June 21 to be the “International Yoga Day” (International Day of Yoga), which has since been celebrated annually worldwide with various activities.
More information about yoga
We have put together detailed information on the healthy practice of yoga for you in our article "Yoga". There you will find many other interesting facts, for example about the origins and spread of yoga. In addition, the best-known yoga styles are presented and the health benefits are examined in more detail. (kh)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Magistra Artium (M.A.) Katja Helbig
- Sparks, Dana: In the Loop: The hot yoga fitness trend you're going to want to try (published February 25th, 2020), Mayo Clinic