We all know someone who swears by yoga. Perhaps half their Instagram feed is them executing perfect handstands or pretzel-like contortions (#bodygoals) or they continually invite you to join them for a class without actually telling you what to expect.
Let’s face it, we’d kill for a body like theirs and seeing their gorgeous, lean, flexible forms makes us wanna get out of bed and say hello to our new fitness obsession. But we’re also pretty sure it took them months of practice and probably a few face plants to get there. But darn it if we don’t want to know everything about hot yoga so we can be fitness goddesses some day anyway. Because hot yoga is “waaaay better than regular yoga”, don’t you know. But what do you need to know before you can start bending like a pretzel in a heated studio?
We took matters into our own hands and asked the experts at Harlow Hot Pilates and Yoga to spill the beans. You’re welcome.
1. It’s great for your skin
Come for the hot yoga, stay for the bonus skin treatment! Sweating it out in a hot yoga class that features Far Infra-Red technology class can increase your skin’s elasticity and rebuild weakened connective tissue to reduce the appearance of cellulite. It’s like a super-effective skin cleansing treatment that gets rid of toxins and flushes out any dry or dead skin cells you might have. Facial AND yoga class? Count us in!
2. It’s the secret cheat sheet for flexibility
Hot yoga studios have been shown to significantly increase the range of flexibility of the participant. Why? Because heat brings more blood to the muscles and makes them more stretchy. No one wants to admit they take a shortcut here and there, but you’re working (and sweating) your butt off for this benefit, so we say #sorrynotsorry – the secret’s out!
3. It’s actually quite challenging
In a hot yoga class you might laugh awkwardly at yourself, become a little shaky holding a pose or even shed a little tear and not completely know why. For the most part, that means you’re doing it right. You’re well on your way to becoming a magical hot yoga unicorn.
4. You’ll actually enjoy sweating
In hot yoga, you'll start to appreciate and embrace becoming a hot mess. Sweating is a way of releasing. Prepare to sweat in places you never even knew you COULD sweat and to be at peace with yourself – say goodbye to stress, your emotions and your body's inner toxins. But make sure you bring a sturdy hair tie – ain’t nobody got time fo’ wet hair going rogue all over your face.
5. Using a block, strap or prop doesn’t mean you’re cheating
In yoga, the instructor will tell you to listen to your body. And if your body is screaming out for a block, strap or prop to help you in any of the poses, it’s perfectly fine – and even encouraged – to use them. No two people are the same in flexibility, endurance or strength so a prop may be the key to mastering the pose to the best of your ability.
6. Not everyone knows all the terms at first… or even a year in
The jargon can go in one sweaty ear and out the other in a hot yoga class, but you DON’T need to know all the terms. The instructors will be kind enough to demonstrate the poses and correct your stance if you look lost. Your body will speak the language of fitness better than you, and that’s all you need!
7. The heat is super healthy
We already know the Far Infra-Red heat used in particular Hot Yoga studios can increase flexibility and improve your skin’s appearance, but research also points to a bundle of other wonderful health benefits. Far Infra-Red heating helps boost metabolism, detoxifies the body, increases energy, reduces muscle and joint pain and aids faster recovery times. The heat really puts your ordinary workout onto a whole other level for your overall health.
8. You'll learn to let it go
It's hot. But you're going to let it go, let it go, don't hold you back anymorrrrrre. We've already mentioned that sweat will help release your emotions and stress and that includes becoming aware of any thoughts that don’t serve you. If you think "I can't do this" or "I look like an idiot", just take a deep breath and let that self-judgement melt away, leaving room for a more positive you. A hot yoga or Pilates studio is one of the few places you can go and be accepted no matter what your experience, weird noises or sweat levels, because everyone is in the same boat. Three cheers for camaraderie!
9. You’ll fall in love
The ONE thing our mates did tell us was “You’ll want to go again and again” but we never totally understood until we took a class for ourselves. After a couple of classes, you’ll stop thinking of them as “that yoga-obsessed friend” and start looking at them as a fellow fitness sister. And we’ll secretly be practising our headstands in a safe no face-plant environment.
If you’re looking to give Hot Yoga a try or to intensify your practice with Hot Pilates, Harlow offer a range of classes in specialised Far Infra-Red heating that will suit any hot Pilates or yoga palette.
Harlow Hot Pilates and Yoga
Newstead Studio: 4/5 Byres St, Newstead
Milton Studio: 25 Finchley St, Milton
P 07 3145 0060