But I’m Not Flexible!

If you don’t feel your body is flexible, hot yoga is definitely what you need to be doing. Why? It’s simple. Hot yoga will improve your flexibility. Being flexible will keep you fit and healthy and significantly reduce your risk of injuries.

Flexibility refers to the range of movement you have at your joints, where two or more bones meet. Flexibility varies and is specific to your body composition, depending on all sorts of things like gender, the length of your muscles, the length of your arms and legs, and the amount and type of exercise you do.

There are two types of flexibility – static and dynamic. Static is limited by the structure of your bones and muscles and can be influenced by the size of the muscle and your muscle tone. Dynamic flexibility is the range of movement you can achieve when you are moving.

You may have different levels of flexibility at different joints: some people have great range of movement in their spine but limited flexibility in their ankles or shoulder joints, or vice versa. The key thing is to understand your strengths and the areas you need to improve.

Poor flexibility can increase your chances of being injured and that is why it is so important to work on this aspect of fitness as part of your exercise routine. Ironically, being too flexible can also increase your chances of injury.

Finding a great yoga teacher can help to make sure you are doing the right postures for your body. Your teacher can help you improve or maintain your flexibility in a safe and effective way. Practise regularly and you will soon see the benefits.

So the next time you hear yourself saying “I’m not flexible enough for yoga”, rephrase it to “I really need to find a great yoga teacher”. I firmly believe you won’t regret it!

As we always advise, please make sure you ask your health care professionals before you take up any new types of exercise.

Harmonize Your Thoughts

“Yoga not only allows you to learn to control your breathing, but it ultimately enhances your abilities to harmonize your thoughts and enhances your inner beauty.”
Debasish Mridha

Find a space where you can find balance and inner harmony. For us that’s in a hot yoga studio but for you – who knows! Explore until you find that place where the world passes by peacefully and you can just enjoy a moment of stillness, at one with yourself and your surroundings.

Harmony

 

Yoga for your Heart Health

Not only is the exercise good for mind, and uplifting to the soul, it’s also extremely beneficial to the body.

Your heart has a demanding job to do, physically: to keep working tirelessly to supply your working muscles with oxygen and nutrients by keeping a steady supply of blood circulating round the body. How does it do that? Well, the heart is made up of a special type of muscle called cardiac muscle: an involuntary muscle that keeps working without you having to tell it to, unlike your skeletal muscles.

The cardiac muscle is supplied with oxygen and nutrients by the coronary arteries, and the blood vessels are surrounded by smooth muscle fibres of varying thicknesses.

The left side of your heart deals with oxygen rich blood, while the right side of your heart deals with deoxygenated blood, sending it back to the lungs to pick up more supplies.

During a yoga session your heart will need to supply the muscles with enough oxygen to allow you to work. The intensity of your workout determines how hard the heart needs to work to supply much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Just like all muscles, as you work them, they get more efficient and more able to perform their job effectively.

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme. Yoga or any other activity should never be a substitute for consulting your health practitioner. 

Why does Hot Yoga Have Us Jumping for Joy?

What is is that leaves us feeling like we could jump for joy after a hot yoga session? Is it something about out style of hot yoga or do all people who practice hot yoga feel the same?

It could be the release of those feel good hormones endorphins that interact with our brains, lifting the way we feel. Endorphins not only help reduce our perception of pain but also give an energy boost which can leave us feeling really positive, enjoying a natural buzz from our exertions.

If you prefer to think it is something more than the chemical reactions going on inside our bodies, you could attribute it to the social, welcoming atmosphere found in many, friendly hot yoga studios across the UK and around the world. Yoga practitioners tend to be positive people, ready to help, support and celebrate their achievements together.

Some people tell us that the relaxation phase of yoga sessions give them deep feelings of happiness, related to an emotional release. Precious time spent listening to our bodies, just letting go, concentrating on the here and now, and feeling grateful for what we have and what we can do.

No matter what it is, and whether we can truly analyse the root causes or not, this post is a celebration of the joy hot yoga can bring. If you feel it too, please let us know!

Hot Yoga and Diabetes

An increasing number of people with diabetes are turning to yoga in an effort to keep their condition under control and improve their overall quality of life.

So what is diabetes? Diabetes is caused when either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells in your body become resistant to insulin. Insulin does the important role of regulating the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood, making sure there is not too much or too little. Insulin acts like a key to unlock cells and allow glucose in so it can be stored until it is needed.

Today’s lifestyles mean that more and more people are at risk of becoming diabetic at some point in their lives unless they take action by changing their lifestyles.

Around 90% of diabetic people have type 2 diabetes. There is a growing body of research which says exercise and changes to diet can significantly improve and even reverse the effects of this type of diabetes. Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson is one of several public figures who have recently claimed they have managed to reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes through weight loss, exercise and diet.

If you’re trying to avoid becoming diabetic, or need to find a way to manage type 2 diabetes, hot yoga is a great way to exercise, increase your insulin sensitivity and help to stabilise your blood sugars whilst you work. Always listen to your body and to your health care professionals who will advise you about the best way to manage your health condition.

10% of diabetics have type 1 diabetes which is controlled through insulin injections. We’ll write about this in a later post as there are some important things to think about in relation to type 1 diabetes and hot yoga.

Energy Within, Energy Without

Yoga is invigoration in relaxation. Freedom in routine. Confidence through self-control. Energy within and energy without.”
Ymber Delecto

At first reading, parts of this favourite quote seem paradoxical. When you have a busy life, it may seem difficult to take time out, even for an activity you really love, such as yoga. Investing time in your physical and mental health pays dividends in the long run. A hot yoga session will reinvigorate mind, body and soul, allowing you to get back to your day with renewed spirit.

Often we see people coming to class on their way home from work or after a busy day with their energy depleted, mentally balancing a list of jobs still to be done. It gives us a real buzz to see the same people leaving our studio after their session with happy faces and a new-found energy.

Like pressing a reset button, we firmly believe that yoga really can help give the people who take time out to practice it more zest for life. Their yoga mat becomes a sanctuary: a space where they can abandon the pressures of everyday life and concentrate on the here and now.

You’re only as young as your spine is flexible!

“Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.”
– Bob Harper

What better way to look after your spine than to enjoy a session in our hot yoga studio? Making sure your muscles and joints can perform at their best will help you look after your back.

The vertebral column is  made up of 33 bones stacked on top of each other with bony prominences to allow for the attachment of the back muscles. One of its jobs is to protect the spinal cord which transmits the nerve impulses to muscles, prompting them to contract and move.

There are five regions of the vertebral column with different jobs to do, all working in harmony to keep us fit and flexible:

  • Cervical – these vertebrae support the head
  • Thoracic – these allow for the attachment of the ribs
  • Lumbar – this is your lower back
  • Sacral – these are very strong bones fused together to support the weight of the upper body
  • Coccyx – this is a small, triangular bone at the bottom of the spine

The vertebral column has a natural curve to it. Any imbalance in the muscles or  postural problems that cause this natural curve to go out of shape can cause problems, such as pain or a loss of movement.

Our everyday lives can place stress on our vertebral column, for instance, if we sit hunched over a computer for long periods of time. Yoga can help to reduce the effects of our busy lives, by allowing us time to concentrate on our posture and on getting our muscles perfectly balanced.

 

Please consult your doctor before making changes to your lifestyle such as going on a diet or embarking on an exercise programme.

Sanctuary for the Soul

When life gets busy or stressful take control with yoga. The space on your mat is the perfect space to leave all your worries and concentrate on yourself and your practice.

It’s a kind of sanctuary for the soul, a place where the answers can come and you can invest time and energy into your mind and body. Yoga can literally transform your body. Tight, tense muscles relax in the gorgeous heat of the hot yoga studio and busy, clouded minds find peace and stillness in the relaxation.