Hot yoga has been a growing trend in recent years so there are more and more opportunities out there for you to check out hot yoga in its different forms. Some people swear by its effects, but if you're still in the 'Hot yoga, what's that?' stage, read on.
Team ELLEFit went down to the brand new Third Space hot yoga studio to be taught by master trainer David Lefebvre Sell. We asked him some burning questions on how to get started.
Can anyone practice hot yoga?
Yoga really is for everyone. Hot yoga has become a trend of late, but it is really the growth of yoga in general that is impressive. I am seeing more people turn up to my classes every week, especially men. There are many aspects of yoga that are an antidote to modern life: for people who lead busy, stressful lives, it offers balance and time out as well as huge benefits for people who train hard.
How does the heat help?
Hot yoga allows people to experience a slightly more intense practice than a regular class. It’s aimed at people who want to progress with their strength and flexibility. Our juniper log studio is heated to around 32 degrees, so it is pleasantly warm rather than stifflingly hot. The warmth allows the body to move a little more deeply into postures. Working in a heated room also elevates the heart rate and makes the body work harder. For many, just being in a hot room feels good, they actually like the sensation of sweating. I realise it’s not for everyone, but lots of people feel elated afterwards.
How does hot yoga differ from Bikram?
A Bikram yoga class is typically much hotter - around 40 degrees - and the sequence is the made up of same 26 gruelling postures. We focus on making the experience more palatable. Our instructors offer a different sequence each time, based on the Vinyasa flow postures. We believe our method offers a more balanced and pleasurable workout than Bikram.
What are the physical benefits of hot yoga?
Hot yoga, like all yoga, helps increase body strength and flexibility. However the heat is also known to aid relaxation, improve breathing (which helps conditions like asthma) and focus the mind, developing better mental concentration.
Any tips for first timers?
Immerse yourself wholeheartedly in the experience. I see so many people fidgeting with their towels, sipping on water every five minutes or adjusting their costumes. The trick is to empty your mind and to focus on your body. Many find the sensation of heat a nurturing experience. Try and embrace that.
Third Space is the first London gym to open a dedicated hot yoga studio, master trainer David Lefebvre Sell has been teaching Hatha and Power yoga since 1999. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, David is also a qualified psychotherapist. He offers counselling in Greenwich and Central London.