Local yoga enthusiasts are loving the heat this summer.
It is all due to a hot yoga rage that’s been heating up Brantford since Manifest Yoga opened its doors last November.
Even on the hottest days in July, when Ontario was registering record-setting temperatures and people were seeking relief at area pools and air-conditioned buildings, yoga students were flocking to classes where temperatures soared up to 114 degrees.
According to Jennie Boone, 40, owner of Manifest Yoga, the sweltering heat helps yoga participants intensify their workout rather than detract from it.
“I think the appeal is that they sort of get that first half-hour that it generally takes for your body to warm up out of the way quickly,” Boone said. “For those that are either very active or extremely active like athletes, these kind of people have a really hard time stretching their muscles. With hot yoga, they don’t have to spend the first half-hour warming up.”
Hot yoga incorporates many traditional yoga poses in a studio that is heated to about 108 degrees F. The heat is said to help relax and stretch muscles quicker to enhance the workout.
Benefits include greater flexibility and range of motion, weight loss and increased stamina.
The hot temperatures also make people sweat more, which helps release toxins and speed up metabolism to burn fat more effectively.
Through various yoga poses, students work on balance, strength and flexibility. The yoga moves are said to benefit the body from head to toe, inside and out. Breathing is a major factor in a person’s ability to achieve and hold poses.
The workout is modified slightly because of the heat. Inversions like headstands or handstands are replaced by other poses that are equally effective on circulatory and lymphatic systems.
“We do take extra precautions here and there but we don’t dumb down the class,” Boone said. “People don’t want to go easy, they want a good workout.”
Greater elasticity of tissue and muscles due to hot yoga helps eliminate injury in other sports or workout routines.
“This style tends to get more men out because the heat allows them to open up easier,” Boone said. “Muscle, by definition, is short so (hot yoga) is a big rage in professional sports right now. We’re seeing a lot more hockey players and football players using this to help reduce injury.”
Hot yoga helps strengthen and tone the body, but it also helps clear the mind and alleviate stress.
“You definitely gain more muscle strength, especially in Vinyasa yoga where you are constantly flowing in and out of poses,” Boone said. “Vinyasa is a series of movements that has push ups involved so you develop a lot of upper body strength.
“I really like that you get in there and you switch off in a way. If you really connect with the breathing, it’s an amazing experience. You leave with a calmer personality, a less reactive person. It helps you just kind of slow down.”
While Boone admits hot yoga is not for everyone, she encourages people to give it a try. People should eat properly and drink lots of water throughout the day prior to attending class.
Visit www.manifestyoga.ca for more information.