Practicing Hot Yoga in the Winter

Woman doing yoga in studio

Is Hot Yoga on Your Winter Schedule?

Attending hot yoga classes is an excellent way to protect your health and keep your body strong this winter. When you take a hot yoga class, you'll enjoy these benefits:

  • Improved Flexibility, Strength, and Balance. Hot yoga warms cold muscles and joints, enhancing flexibility and strength and making it a little easier to master the more complicated yoga poses. Strong muscles are essential for good balance. When your muscles and joints are strong and limber, you'll have less trouble regaining your balance if you slip on an icy or snow-covered sidewalk.
  • Better Weight Control. Regular hot yoga classes will help you avoid gaining weight during the cold winter months. Classes not only improve flexibility but also offer a good cardio workout. In fact, Colorado State University researchers discovered that men burned about 460 calories and women burned 330 calories during just one hot yoga session. If you usually gain weight over the holidays with winter snacking, hot yoga can help you maintain or lose weight.
  • Reduction in Depression. Depression is more common as the days get shorter, particularly if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In addition to depression, the disorder can cause a few other unpleasant symptoms, including low energy level, overeating, daytime sleepiness, weight gain, and overeating. In a study performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, research subjects who participated in twice-weekly hot yoga sessions reported less depression as well as improved optimism and quality of life.
  • Fewer Aches and Pains. When you're less active, you're more likely to experience aches and pains after a day of shoveling snow, skiing, or shopping. Hot yoga offers an excellent way to keep your muscles and joints limber and avoid injuries caused by stress and strain.
  • Less Stress. Do you feel stressed during the holiday season? Just like other forms of yoga, hot yoga can help you manage stress and anxiety. Yoga keeps the stress hormone cortisol in check and increases the production of serotonin, a hormone that improves your mood and has a calming effect.

Things to Keep in Mind

Although hot yoga offers many benefits, it may take you a little time to adjust to the hot, humid conditions in the yoga studio. Take a break in a cooler room if you begin to feel lightheaded or nauseated. Check with your doctor before you enroll in a hot yoga class if you're pregnant or have low blood sugar, low blood pressure, arthritis, high blood pressure, or heart disease.

If you've been outside in the cold for a while before class, extend your warmup for a few moments. Beginning your yoga session when your muscles and joints are cold may increase your risk of injury.

Extending the length of your cool-down is also important during the winter months. The Yoga Journal notes that sudden exposure to cold temperatures can increase your risk of muscle pulls and other injuries. The Journal recommends waiting 10 to 15 minutes after your class ends to venture outside.

Are you ready to try hot yoga? Contact our studio for information on our hot yoga classes.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic: What Is Hot Yoga?

American Psychological Association: Yoga Effective at Reducing Symptoms of Depression, 8/13/17

Colorado State University: Researcher: Hot Yoga Yields Fitness Benefits, 7/15/14

Healthline: 8 Benefits of Sweating It Out with Hot Yoga, 9/11/19

National Institute of Mental Health: Seasonal Affective Disorder

Yoga Journal: Ask the Expert: Going from Hot Yoga to Cold Weather, 4/12/17