SAFETY TIPS/INFRARED HEAT
STAYING SAFE IN HOT YOGA
- Be safe. Decide if it’s right for you. Hot yoga is unsafe for anyone who is pregnant, a child, over the age of 60 (without a regular yoga practice), or suffering from medical conditions that would make it unsafe to exercise. If you have diabetes, any issues with high or low blood pressure, or are prone to dizzy spells, choose another type of yoga class.
- Go au natural. Though it seems counterintuitive to shower before a workout, I often rinse off before yoga practice to remove any lotions or oils that will make my skin even more slippery once my body starts to sweat. There’s nothing more frustrating than finally nailing an arm balance, only to slide right out of it because of lotioned-up skin! (Also: skip the scents. The only thing worse than being stuck on a mat next to a stinky person is practicing on a mat next to a person who’s drenched in perfume or cologne. Reapply deodorant before class if you’re self-conscious, but skip the perfume, the smell of which can be overwhelming in heated, humid rooms.)
- Invest in a chamois or a yoga towel. All that sweat turns your usually sticky yoga mat into a slip-and-slide. While you can use a regular towel (try a beach towel for maximum coverage), if you practice regularly, consider investing in a yoga towel, which is made of microfibers that absorb moisture and become grippy when wet. (I especially like Manduka towels, which last for years and are worth every penny.) Some, such as YogiToes, also have silicone beads for added stickiness. A travel yoga mat, such as those from Gaiam, also works well as a mat cover. If you tend to sweat profusely, Manduka makes yoga “rugs,” too. Take a hand towel, too, if your studio doesn’t provide them. In addition to mopping sweaty brows, a quick swipe of the towel up and down your limbs can make many poses more manageable.
- Respect your edge. In yoga, we encourage our students to relax and let their bodies ease into a pose. When our muscles are warm, it’s easier to stretch them, which means that suddenly body parts find it a little easier to say “How do ya do?” Knees meet nose, fingertips touch toes, and arms clasp behind the back with more ease when you’re warm. Whether you’re trying to bind in twisting pose or just reach a centimeter farther in a forward fold, don’t push too hard. Move slowly and mindfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while! Never stretch to the point of pain–and never bounce as you stretch.
- Take a rest. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or otherwise ill at any point during the practice, take a break. Sit down on your mat, go into child’s pose, or step out of the room. (Note: Some teachers lock the door or refuse to let students leave the room after class has begun. While it is not good manners to saunter in and out of a yoga studio during class, when you’re sick or really need to use the bathroom, it’s fine to leave–just be discreet. Sure, you might let a little heat escape the room, but passing out in the middle of tree pose would surely cause a bigger interruption!)
- Drink up. In yoga, we traditionally drink water before and especially after a class. The traditional belief is that our yoga practice builds heat, and water extinguishes it. Some hot yoga classes have designated water breaks, and I’ve heard stories of yoga teachers who scold students for even looking at their water bottles during class. While you might not want to chug water after every sun salutation, a few sips of water as needed are fine. Save the water guzzling for after class, if only because you’ll feel uncomfortable trying to twist and stretch with a belly of water. And trying to practice yoga with a full bladder? Uncomfortable! Drink one to two cups of water 30 to 60 minutes before practice, then…
- Keep drinking. You lose as much as 32 ounces of water for every 60 minutes of exercise. Immediately after exercise, drink at least twice that much–especially if you’ve not been drinking much water during your yoga practice. If your practice lasted more than an hour, consider consuming a sports drink in addition to regular water to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes. NOTE: If you feel lightheaded or uncoordinated (more than usual!) or have muscle cramps, consider these to be signs of dehydration. (Learn more about water needs during exercise.)
- Eat right. As with any physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating right to help you perform your best. While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is recommended, you might want to allow two hours between any snacks and four meals between any heavy meals and your yoga practice. If you thought practicing with a belly full of water was uncomfortable, try practicing with a belly full of food. Ugh! And if you can, save foods that are spicy or those that tend to give you gas or cause bloating for after class. You’ll want to eat a snack or meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice.
- Listen to your body. Only you know how far you can comfortably push your body. Listen to those signs that your body offers you. Don’t feel the need to “keep going” in a pose if the intro level is enough of a stretch and challenge for you. Your yoga practice is yours and yours alone. Quiet the ego–that little voice that tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury–and just breathe and enjoy being where you are now.
- Dress for it. Hot yoga is not the time to be modest. No one is there to judge you, and no one looks his or her best when dripping in sweat. Wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Some people prefer to wear pants or capris so they absorb the sweat and keep it off your mat; I would much rather have the sweat on my mat than have sweaty clothes covering any more of my body than is necessary! Tank tops are a great choice, as they allow for better range of motion and generally stay in place better than a T-shirt. I highly advise you against wearing regular cotton clothing. Once drenched in sweat, it will feel heavy and clammy against your skin. A moisture-wicking headband (I likeBondi Bands) is a must for keeping sweat from dripping in your eyes. That’s a surefire way to break your concentration!
By: Stepfanie Romine
INFRARED HEAT USED IN OUR STUDIO
Read more: http://www.ehow.com/about_6529090_definition-infrared-heating.html#ixzz2uIrkTnAt
There is extensive research about the benefits of infrared heat from reputable sources (that can be found in any search of medical journals/basic internet search)_but we want to make sure our students are also aware of any dangers associated with it (listed below). Mainly the student needs to be aware of their hydration level before taking any hot yoga class, not just one that uses far infrared technology.
Any dangers of the infrared sauna are not related to the IR rays themselves. Far infrared rays do not carry the dangers that we associate with ultraviolet rays or x-rays.
• Overheating (heat exhaustion and heat stroke)
• Using the sauna while drinking or after drinking alcohol
• Depleting your electrolytes or minerals through sweating
• The effects of mobilized toxins
Some Benefits of Infrared:
Increased and Improved Circulation
When you heat your body, your heart rate increases. This slightly increased heart rate induced by the heating of your tissues increases blood flow throughout the body improving your overall circulation. Improved circulation leads to a myriad of benefits for your body that may include fewer aches and pains, fewer muscle cramps, better assimilation of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the foods you eat, and an overall feeling of well being.
Improved Skin Tone, Texture and Appearance
Increased circulation and regular removal of toxins gives your skin a richer, creamier, softer, and smoother tone and texture. Increased heating and perspiration through better circulation pulls the toxins from the body through the skin. Heat enlarges the skin pores allowing for easily removal of dirt and sweat. Body cells heal faster and function better. Washing away the resultant perspiration leaves the skin clean and rejuvenated (Black, 2007).
After the benefits of toxin removal, increased circulation, and better skin tone, acne will improve or even be eliminated for good. The gentle heating of your skin with an infrared sauna opens your pores and helps your skin release dirt and grime.
Speed Healing of Cuts and Bruises
Cuts and bruises heal quicker after dead skin cells are sloughed off and toxins removed from your body. Increased circulation helps remove the trapped blood left behind in bruised areas.
Helps Healing of Infection Sites for Diabetes
Insulin dependent diabetics puncture themselves many times throughout the course of a day. The sites often become bulged or hardened from the accumulation of white blood cells going to the site to heal. It is almost as if each small injection site becomes a scarred area of the skin. When the skin is heated and circulation improves to these areas, they heal quicker and the skin retains its smooth appearance and feel. Improved circulation also helps the body assimilate and process insulin more effectively helping diabetics have more regular blood sugar levels.
Augment Weight Loss
Removing harmful substances through perspiration, increasing your heart rate, which results in greater circulation, all help your body strive to reach its highest potential. You can enhance your weight loss efforts through healthy living, exercise, and removal of toxins. Research demonstrates that the resultant perspiration from an infrared sauna session contains 90% toxins, and not just water loss. Some studies liken 30 minutes of sauna usage to 30 minutes of average aerobic exercise. Sauna usage does not replace exercise efforts; however, it does greatly augment your existing routines.
Ease Aching Muscles
The warmth of the sauna eases tense aching muscles and the pain of arthritis, bursitis, Fibromyalgia, or injury. This enhanced relaxation and well being lasts well past the sauna use and helps you have a deeper, more restful sleep.
Enhance Heart Function
Infrared saunas are becoming one of the most efficient ways to help heart patients improve their heart function after a serious heart attack. The gentle heating and consequent heart rate increase allows these patients to begin healing quicker. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported in their August 1981 issue: “Regular use of a sauna may impart a similar stress on the cardiovascular system, and its regular use may be as effective as a means of cardiovascular conditioning and burning of calories as regular exercise” (quoted in Flickstein, 2000). While Flickstein (2000) goes on to describe the benefits of far-infrared sauna use on cardiovascular conditioning during the 1980s (NASA) and early 1990s, it is important to remember that while cardiovascular strengthening does occur from infrared sauna usage, it does not replace physical muscular exercise. It is helpful in maintaining conditioning in short periods following an injury or illness, or as reported by Flickstein (2000), for astronauts in space that cannot exercise. Far-infrared sauna therapy is an excellent compliment to a well-established physical exercise programme.
Taking a short time away from the cares of the world in an infrared sauna can help reduce your daily stress. This time allows your body to begin to function properly and your mind to relax from the stress and strains of your daily life. It provides a quiet, reflective time for you, or a relaxing social environment for you and one or two others (depending upon the size of your sauna).
Biro, S., Masuda, A., Kihara, T., Tei, C. (2003). Clinical Implications of Thermal Therapy in Lifestyle-Related Diseases. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, pp. 1245-1249. Exp. Biol. Med. 2003;228:1245-1249.
Francis, R., Cotton, K. (2002). Never be sick again. Health Communication, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, USA.
Hannuksela, M.L., Ellahham, S. 2001. Benefits and Risks of Sauna Bathing. American Journal of Medicine, 2001, Feb 1:110(2):118-26.
Leppaeluoto, J. (1988). Human Thermoregulation in Sauna. Annals of Clinical Research. Vol. 20 (4), pp. 240-3