Since I began teaching Hot Yoga in 2002, I’ve been asked about the heat.
Why the heat?
Does it have to be this hot?
What’s up with the heat?
The heat is a tool we use to facilitate therapy.
At Queen City we have a state-of-the-art heating system. We pull fresh air in, heat it, and then distribute it evenly throughout the room. We use an exhaust fan to pull out humidity and CO2 when needed. This way, we create a “Hot Room” to passively warm your body and stimulate vasodilation versus hanging heaters above your head that heat objects (like bodies and water bottles) and destroy tissue and corneas.
Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels. The muscles in the blood vessels relax and widen, thus creating less resistance. This increases blood flow, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and increases circulation. Increased circulation gets blood to areas quickly and helps remove waste just as fast. All of this optimizes your body’s function. We’ve got therapy folks!
When your body’s functions are optimal, everything is easier. Muscle contraction, balance and focus increase because trying to get all systems to fall into a succinct rhythm doesn’t distract your body. Imagine how difficult it is for the band to stay together when the drummer’s beat is erratic and the bass player is 2 measures ahead. There is no way the guitarist can even attempt to solo over that mess.
In this heat, the body also experiences the slightest stage of hyperthermia; internal body temperature raises about .5 to 1.5 degrees. It’s just enough to stimulate the increase of your “happy hormones”; dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. Oxytocin provides feelings of love and trust, which is why relationships boost our happiness. Dopamine is a “pleasure” hormone and is stimulated when we strive towards a goal. It helps motivate us to take action to achieve the goal so we can experience the pleasure of the reward. Serotonin boosts our mood and makes us more agreeable and sociable. Lack of it can cause irritability and depression. Endorphins block pain. They are the body’s natural painkillers.
Adjusting to the Hot Room can take time for us Vermonters. We aren’t used to the heat. That’s where your body’s natural cooling system comes in. Thermoregulation helps your body maintain a normal core temperature by cooling it down. Since your blood vessels are already dilated this assists the body’s process. Since we have an exhaust fan in the room, we pull out the humidity and that allows your body to release excess heat. The more you practice you’ll find your body is ready for the Hot Rom and responds quickly. You begin to sweat sooner, are less flushed in the face and don’t feel physically hot.
The heat is used as a tool to facilitate therapy and transformation. It is not a weapon and is never abused. We take our therapy and professionalism seriously at Queen City. Every teacher is trained to run the heat, even though it’s quite simple to manage it with a heating system that was expertly designed by a Mechanical Engineer.
Enjoy your time in the Hot Room as you naturally soak up the therapy!