Pura Vida Hot Yoga is a series of fluid and static yoga poses that stretches, strengthens, and tones the muscles while protecting the spine and calming the mind. While there are a series of poses and movements, each class may be slightly different and have its own style.
Hot yoga classes are taught in heated room that reaches a maximum of 95F (35C). Most of the hot yoga studios discussed in the media heat their rooms to from 105F-115F. We intentionally limit our classes to 95F because that temperature still produces the same feeling of a hot room without the added strain on respiration. It also replicates a more natural experience for Canadians who could see a hot summer’s day at the same temperature.
How is the Room Heated?
The heat is created using Far-Infrared heat panels that are permanently installed in the ceiling of the room. The panels are controlled by a thermostat to keep the temperature of the room constant.
What is Infrared Heat?
Radiant heat is simply a form of energy that heats objects directly, without having to heat the surrounding air.
Infrared energy penetrates tissues to a depth of over one inch. Its energy output is tuned to correspond closely to the body’s own radiant energy so that body tissues absorb close to 93 percent of the infrared waves that reach the skin. A conventional sauna, in comparison, must rely on an indirect means of heat to produce its heating effect on the body (convection – air currents, and conduction – direct skin contact with hot air). An infrared heater heats only 20 percent of the air, leaving over 80 percent of the heat available to directly heat the body. Thus, an infrared heated sauna can warm its users to a greater depth and with more efficiency than a conventional sauna.
Is it Safe?
Our body tissues normally produce infrared energy for warmth and tissue repair. Tissue production of infrared energy is associated with a variety of healing responses. At times, the infrared energy in our tissues may require a boost to a higher level to ensure the fullest healing possible for tissue repair. Body tissues that need an infrared boost selectively absorb infrared rays; after boosting a tissue’s infrared energy, the remaining rays pass onward harmlessly.
The Swedish National Institute of Radiation Protection has concluded that infrared heat is not dangerous. Japanese researchers have reported that infrared radiant heat antidotes the negative effects of toxic electromagnetic sources.
How is it different from a Sauna?
Infrared energy operates at significantly cooler temperatures than traditional saunas. The lower heat is safer for those concerned with cardiovascular risk factors that might be adversely affected by high temperatures encountered in more traditional saunas.
Infrared heat may also induce up to two to three times the volume of sweat produced in a traditional sauna to improve the detoxification process. However, you will want to ensure that you consume water before and after classes to remain hydrated.
German researchers have reported beneficial effects from hour-long whole-body infrared exposure in two groups of hypertensive patients studied in 1989, including a 24-hour long increase in peripheral blood flow and decrease in high blood pressure. One issue for traditional sauna users has been breathing exceptionally hot air. Unlike traditional saunas, which require a closed atmosphere to maintain the levels of heat required for therapeutic results, Infrared heat can be used at cooler temperatures.
Reduce Body Fat
The combination of heat and strengthening poses serves to tone your muscles and release body fat. Many people leave class feeling like they have had a good workout and can feel the work their muscles have done in class the following day.
As an added bonus, after being in the hot room it is similar to being outside on a hot day and you may find that your appetite is a little bit less and you are craving cooler foods such as salads and lighter meals.
The feeling of a hot room (especially during the cold Canadian winter) causes many people to instantly relax. Our lights remain dim and the warm is nice and cozy causing you to just unwind on the mat.
As we move through the postures of yoga, we keep you focused on your body rather than your thoughts and worries which helps to promote a consistent place of peace in your mind both during and after class.
Increases extensibility of collagen tissues
Tissues heated to 45 degrees Celsius and then stretched exhibit a non-elastic residual elongation of about 0.5 to 0.9 percent that persists after the stretch is removed. This effect does not occur in these same tissues when stretched at normal tissue temperatures. Therefore, 20 stretching sessions can produce a 10-18%increase in length of tissues heated and stretched. Stretching of tissue in the presence of heat would be especially valuable in working with ligaments, joint capsules, tendons, fasciae, and synovium that have become scarred, thickened, or contracted. Such stretching at 45 degrees Celsius causes much less weakening in stretched tissues for a given elongation than a similar elongation produces at normal tissue temperatures.
Experiments have clearly shown that low-force stretching could produce significant residual elongation when heat is applied together with stretching or range-of-motion exercises, which is much safer than stretching tissues at normal tissue temperatures.
Decreases joint stiffness
There is a 20% decrease in rheumatoid finger joint stiffness at 45 degrees Celsius(112 degrees Fahrenheit) as compared to 33 degrees Celsius (92 degrees Fahrenheit), which correlates perfectly to both subjective and objective observation of stiffness. Speculation has it that any stiffened joint and thickened connective tissues may respond in a similar fashion.
Relieves muscle spasm.
Muscle spasms have long been observed to be reduced through the use of heat, be they secondary to underlying skeletal, joint, or neuropathological conditions. This result is possibly produced by the combined effect of heat on both primary and secondary afferent nerves from spindle cells and from its effects on Golgi tendon organs. Results produced demonstrate their peak effect within the therapeutic temperature range obtainable with radiant heat.
Check out some of these other studies that have examined the safety, benefits, and outcomes of individuals who practice hot yoga compared to unheated yoga practices.
A study of males and females between 19-44 were asked to complete a traditional yoga class and a heated yoga class to measure the changes in core body temperature and heart rate between the two. The results found that the core body temperature of participants actually rose more in the unheated class than the heated class! Heart rates were also comparable between the two suggesting that hot yoga was equally as safe as regular yoga.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the short-term physical fitness effects of hot yoga. Results found that those participating in hot yoga showed increased lifting strength, substantial increase in low back and hamstring flexibility, increased shoulder flexibility, and decreased body fat compared to the control group.