How to Build Heat During Yoga Practice

Invariably when I tell people I'm a yoga instructor, I'll get the "story." The "story" is this person's single foray into the yoga realm. The storyteller chose a hot/warm class as an introduction to yoga and came away disappointed. Reminds me of this commercial.

Hot or warm yoga is onnit as they say. Like Instagram, it is so hawt right now to do a sweaty, "detox" in a room that could be up to 105 degrees F and between 50-60% humidity.

Many people fall in love with Bikram style practices for the perceived detox and water loss. In my personal practice, I have been in my share of hot rooms. My initial introduction to yoga was at a warm Vinyasa Flow style studio.

Want to sweat during your yoga practice? You don't need a hot and/or humid room to do this. All you need is your breath, body and repetition.

Detox to Retox Whether you get a real "detox" from sweating is debatable. Drinking the required amount of water for your body each day naturally will do this. Eating a balanced healthy, whole diet will do this as well. If you physically exert yourself, is hot or warm yoga the answer for achieving the perceived benefit of fluid loss and detoxification?

You will lose alot of fluid in these classes from sweating and breathing. But you must hydrate prior to class to ensure you counter the fluid loss. Not hydrating properly for these types of classes can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

So, if you hydrate properly for a hot class, then you will aid your body's natural detoxification process, which you can do without the hot class. Then, you attend the hot class, but any fluid you lose you must replace to rehydrate your body to a safe and healthy level. So, you can expect a minimal net gain or loss of fluid. Get it.

Heat Up from Within Hot or warm yoga is not for everyone. It can be a challenge performing asana in this environment, especially for a new yogi. However, getting warm does help you open up in asana practice, but you can do this without a hot/warm room.

A safer tried and true way of building heat or warming up is through the practice of Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). They are a complete practice. You can just perform Sun Salutations as your physical practice and receive benefits, including getting the sweat you want and expanding your body from head to toe.

Mindful breathing helps build heat, too. Using your deep breathing while sitting in a meditative state warms the body. Synchronizing your movement with deep yogic breathing adds to the buildup.

Start your practice with focused breathing and meditation. From there, take a slow integrative build up with poses on the mat like Cat and Cow. Then perform five to ten Sun Salutation A sequences (Surya Namaskar A). At the end of this practice, expect to sweat.

Want to build even more heat? Perform a series of three to five Sun Salutation B sequences (Surya Namaskar B) after your Sun Salutation A series. Try this routine and discover what type of fire you can light from within.

How-To: Sun Salutations These are staple poses in sequences every yogi must have in their physical practice. Do them slow. Do them fast. However you choose to practice, do three to five of each in succession as you link your inhalations and exhalations to each movement.

Sun Salutation A

Sun Salutation B

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