Hot Yoga is not so hot…

I’ve always been very intrigued by why Hot Yoga is so popular. What is it that drives people to practice in a room that feels more like a sauna? And even if I was always convinced that this practice is not good for your body, I decided to try it myself.  I arrived a bit early, and as many people often do before any Yoga class I began to do a bit of warming up and meditation to set my mind and body ready for the practice, but found the temperature so disturbingly high that I had to wait outside the room. Then I noticed that most of the people arrived just in time to sit and start the class (no wonder!).  The beginning of the class was fine, a nice centering followed by a few Sun Salutations.  But the moment the rhythm of the class started to pick up and we began flowing with the Vinyasa, I was about to faint. I kept on drinking water as recommended, but no matter how hard I tried to keep my self conscious I had to bring myself into Child’s pose very often to avoid collapsing.
I’ve heard many explanations from the people that love this practice about the reasons behind Hot Yoga and its benefits. I’ve been told that the heat in the room tries to replicate the high summer temperatures in India and that this heat enhances flexibility protecting people from injuries, that the sweating helps eliminate toxins and that it increases calories expenditure with the consequent chance of loosing weight.
For what I know, Yoga principles encourage practicing in shaded and well ventilated places, and even if India can reach very high temperatures, it is very different to practice in an open aerated space, sometimes with fans or even air-con, than in an artificially heated sealed room.
I actually think that you are able to achieve all of this creating natural heat in your body by gradually increasing both your heart beat and the circulation in your system. I don’t believe there is a need to accelerate the heating process by subjecting the body to such a harsh environment.
Maybe it is a practice that is not suitable for all the dosha types?  I don’t really have the answer to this.  I just can’t understand how a practice where people faint can be good for you.  It reminds me of the plastic sweat suits people used to wear in the 80s for running, causing extreme sweating and dehydration.  I even think the flexibility factor that is enhanced with the heat can cause serious injuries in the muscles and the connective tissue.
Is it about feeding swollen Yoga egos where a practice with no sweat feels like nothing? Is it just a matter of taste? Is it real conviction?  Even if I try my best to elaborate all the theories about Hot Yoga, I can’t seem to agree completely with them.
Well, after giving it a chance, I can only say that to me, Hot Yoga is not so hot!

Leave your thought