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Hot Yoga for Health

by Juliana Olmstead

Hot yoga combines heat, breathing exercises and yoga poses to give students an amazing all-in-one wellness treatment. The body’s primary detox organs are the kidneys and liver, but the skin is the largest organ in the human body. When we sweat, toxins are able to leave the body through the skin, which gives the kidneys and liver a break. Sweat has actually been used as a treatment for chronic kidney failure, because the toxins that would normally be filtered through the kidneys can be expelled through the skin instead.

Individuals taking a hot yoga class for the first time might notice their sweat is a little bit stinky. After practicing consistently, that smell will disappear as any substances that were stored in the body (especially in the fatty tissues) are expelled along with the sweat. Sweating is also an effective way to clean out the pores. Just be sure to rinse off after each class so the toxins sweated out don’t get reabsorbed back into the skin.

In addition to the physical detox, yoga facilitates an emotional release, too. The connective tissues in the body, called fascia, tend to hold onto tension and stress. Elevated temperature lets the fascia around the muscle relax as they are stretched in class, helping the body to let go of any “issues in the tissues.” Heat therapy is also known to boost one’s mood, and has been used as an experimental treatment for depression. The heat combined with the breathing and the yoga exercises is a perfect formula for better mental health.

Be sure to come well hydrated to a hot yoga class, focus on breathing normally throughout the class, and replace fluids and electrolytes after every session. After just a few classes, students feel happier and healthier.

Juliana Olmstead is owner of Rhode Island Hot Yoga with two locations at 36 Gooding Ave., Bristol, and 166 Valley St., Ste. 201, Providence. For more information and class schedules, call 401-217-9010 or visit RhodeIslandHotYoga.com.