Numerous international studies have shown that sweating once a day can do wonders for your immune system by stimulating your metabolism, your cardiovascular system, and your lymphatic system. Although it’s Fall and we encourage you to enjoy an apple-a-day, this is also a great time to consider the benefits of integrating a yoga practice into your routine. As the kids seem to be bringing home new germs every day and the weather is changing, we need to be proactive with our health.
A good yoga practice can help. When you’re properly hydrated, the sweat released during a hot yoga routine can bring these health benefits.
- Burn fat. A properly heated yoga room can get your blood pumping in high gear. While your metabolism is the engine of your working body, your yoga class doesn’t have to be a “Power” or “Super Flow”. Those are great if you’re looking for high intensity and the benefits of a great sweat, but maybe those aren’t for you. (After all, it’s a yoga class, not an oil change.) No matter what class you choose, don’t over-exert yourself. If your brain is happy, your body can also enjoy the positive benefits of a good sweat.
- Balance hormones. One myth about hot yoga is that it has to be this high intensity sweat session like a practice session for the Olympic wrestling team. It doesn’t have to be that way. Sweating during yoga should work together to activate your body’s natural response to relax and recover. Breaking a sweat in your yoga practice helps release your happy hormones – like endorphins, serotonin, & dopamine – and relieves anxiety & depression by lowering the stress hormones – like cortisol.
- Boost your immune system. A yoga class with an active & restorative sequence promotes more movement that you might realize. A proper yoga sequence increases lymphatic circulation. Unlike our cardiovascular systems, our lymphatic systems do not have a heart to pump it, its movement depends on the motions of your muscles and joints. The lymphatic system works with the cardiovascular system to return body fluids to the blood. This means better immune system health.
In all cases, be mindful. In order to actually enjoy these, along with a number of other health benefits of practicing yoga, you don’t want to overdo it. Be aware of your limits, and practice to your own health. It’s not a competition, and the most important thing is to show up.