Hot Yin Yoga – Benefits and Best Practices

Why hot Yin Yoga

Hot Yin Yoga

Do you love Yin yoga but want to break a sweat at the same time? Then try Hot Yin yoga.

Also know the pros and cons associated with it, and the benefits of this contemporary style of Yoga.

Introduction

Hot Yin yoga is a hybrid between Hot yoga and Yin yoga – two contemporary styles of Yoga with two very different methodologies. However, when combined, it creates a practice that gives you the best of both worlds.

In Hot Yin yoga, the asanas (poses or postures) are held for at least three minutes (similar to Yin yoga) while in a heated room (similar to Hot yoga). Only in Hot Yin Yoga, the room temperature is set at 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is somewhat cooler than the temperatures in a Hot yoga class.

Why Hot Yin Yoga?

Yin yoga is more of a meditative practice. Hot yoga, on the other hand, emphasizes on breaking a sweat, which can be a form of exercise since it is vigorous.

And the physically rigorous practice of Hot yoga has a “yang” element. Therefore Hot yoga gives you a balance of Yin and Yang.

Pros of Hot Yin Yoga

A Balance Between Mental and Physical

Meditation and asanas are just two among the eight limbs of Yoga. If you sit too long in meditation, you wouldn’t be able to apply the knowledge you gain from it in the real world, including movement.

Likewise, if all you focus on is the asana part of Yoga, your body will get stronger and more flexible, but not your mind.

More Intense

Traditionally the body should be cold when practicing Yin yoga. That means you don’t warm up before practicing this style.

The idea behind this is that since the Yin yoga poses are passive, the muscles don’t need a warm-up.

Yet getting into poses such as Salamba Bhujangasana without first warming up the spine can be difficult because spine would still be stiff.

Warming it up first will help elongate the fibers, and while Yin yoga is not supposed to be a relaxing practice, doing the poses with the added warmth as in Hot yoga makes it easier for the muscles to lengthen.

Consequently you can go deeper faster, towards your joints, tendons, and fascia, which is why you hold Yin yoga asanas for a more extended period.

Therefore the practice will be much more intense. As a result you’ll stretch your body more, not just your muscles but also your connective tissues.

Cons of Hot Yin Yoga

Practicing Hot Yin yoga doubles the benefits of each style of Yoga. But at the same time it can also double the risk. Here are some cons of Hot Yin Yoga:

You Can Get Dehydrated

In a regular Hot yoga class, there is the risk of getting dehydrated. While the temperature in a Hot Yin yoga is not relatively high, the risk of dehydration is still there.

To avoid dehydration, drink water before and after the class.

But of course, don’t drink until your stomach is full or you won’t be able to do the forward folding asanas, what more to hold them for at least three minutes. Furthermore, wear light clothes.

Hard to Find a Class

Hot Yin Yoga is relatively new and has not caught on in the market. It might therefore be hard to easily find a studio that offers this style at the present time.  

Too Intense for Some

Both Yin and Hot Yoga are intense in their own ways.

The combination of both can be somewhat harsh, especially for people just starting out on their yoga journey.

On the other hand, the added warmth can make you more flexible. But ideally you should used to the new environment first.

To avoid succumbing to the stress, be gentle with yourself.

Do not go “over the top” with your range of motion, and don’t succumb to the temptation of doing the full expression of the pose right away.

Caution for People with Osteoporosis

Yin and Hot yoga, when practiced separately as different styles of yoga, can be detrimental for people with Osteoporosis.

In the case of Yin yoga, it can be somewhat more difficult.

That’s because Yin asanas are mostly about flexing the spine. When you practice Yin yoga at an elevated temperature, the spinal flexion can increase making it rather more dangerous.

It’s best to check with your doctor first and keep your yoga teacher in the know to reduce the risk. Furthermore, always make sure to hinge from the hips before doing any posture that requires spinal flexion.

Getting Started

Before starting your Hot Yin yoga practice, be clear on your expectations to avoid risks and have a great practice.

What To Expect from Your First Hot Yin Yoga Class?

It’s Going to Be somewhat Uncomfortable

Sweating and staying still at the same time can be rather uncomfortable. Since you are not only stretching the muscles but also the ligaments, joints, and more, you are sure to feel discomfort.

You don’t really stretch or lengthen these parts of the body regularly. Hence, you may feel discomfort when you do.

You Might Feel Dizzy and Nauseated

Yoga can make you feel dizzy and nauseous as you move from one pose to another. However in a Hot Yin yoga class this is not the case since you are staying in a passive pose for a few minutes. Instead, it could be the higher room temperature.

According to Roger Cole, Ph. D, “in a room that’s hotter than your body temperature, you give off heat by sweating (a lot). And while that certainly cools you off, it also reduces the fluid volume in the body, lowering blood pressure further, making dizziness more likely.”

To avoid this, stay hydrated throughout the whole class. Furthermore lay down or come to the Child’s pose as soon as you feel dizzy.

It’s Not a Workout

A typical Hot yoga class can be considered a workout. But a Hot Yin yoga class is not.

You will not be actively moving from one posture to another to make you burn more calories. It’s still a meditative practice – a work “in”, as some say!

It’s Not Restorative

While a Hot Yin yoga class is not as exhausting as Hot Yoga or Vinyasa, it is not restorative.

Instead Hot Yin yoga gives gentle stress to your ligaments and connective tissues to lengthen them. On the other hand, restorative yoga supports your body to allow it to relax.

Preparation for Your First Hot Yin Yoga

Doing any movement practice always comes with an inherent risk.

To avoid the risks that come from practicing Hot Yin yoga, here are some things you should do before, during and after:

Be Well Hydrated

Drink water before, during, and after the Hot Yin yoga class. But make sure you don’t drink too much at one go. Or you’ll find it uncomfortable to fold when your stomach is full and hold poses, when you feel like peeing.

Don’t Come with a Full Stomach

As a rule of thumb don’t have a heavy meal three to four hours before any movement practice, such as Hot Yin yoga. However, drink water if you feel hungry during class, or if you feel dizzy. If this happens too often, take a light snack one to two hours before your class.

Take along a Yoga and Face Towel

A yoga and face towel will come in handy during your Hot Yin yoga class. Your mat might become slippery as you practice. Use a towel over it to avoid slipping. The face towel is for your face and body.

Don’t Push Yourself to the Edge

The muscles need to relax in Yin yoga, hot or cold.

Avoid going “over the top” in achieving your full range of motion or you could hurt yourself in the process.

As soon as you feel a natural resistance, take a pause. Then as you continue holding the posture, you will feel you have more space in your body to go deeper. Once you feel this by all means, go deeper.

Allow for Rebound Time

Rebound time in Yin yoga is the time when you transition to another pose through a Savasana, or Corpse pose.

Doing a rebound is important, especially when you start to feel dizzy or nauseous. This is the time when the connective tissues re-hydrate, which they need to after being put through gentle stress.

Bottom Line

Hot Yin yoga gives you the benefits of the two styles of yoga it is derived from. But these benefits also come with their set of risks. Therefore, you should prepare for both styles when practicing Hot Yin.

Do you want to deepen your practice and expand your knowledge of Yin Yoga to share it with more people? Then, sign up for our Online Yin Yoga Teacher Training Course. A thoroughly comprehensive course which guides you with video material to avoid any confusion whatsoever.

1 sources
  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/expert-answers/hot-yoga/faq-20058057
Meera Watts
Meera Watts is the owner and founder of Siddhi Yoga. She is known around the world for her thought leadership in the wellness industry and was also recognized as a Top 20 International Yoga Blogger. Her writing on holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and other international magazines. Meera is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, though now she focuses primarily on leading Siddhi Yoga, blogging and spending time with her family in Singapore.

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