Written by Marcus Rummery
Hot yoga does things for you no other exercise can do: restructuring the muscular skeletal system and tourniqueting the joints and organs. The conditions (heat and humidity=humidex) make the body more malleable or changeable while the asanas open the rib cage and generally counteract the effects of time and gravity on the spine and the posture. This happens in other yoga too, it just doesn’t work nearly as well. Further, the heat accelerates the heart, thins the blood and dilates the capillaries, while the asanas squeeze the joints and organs, flushing them with oxygen and nutrients.
As much as strength and endurance are crucial to fitness, flexibility is often overlooked, and the high humidex makes the muscles and connective tissue more supple and safer to stretch, resulting in healthy joint capsules, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Balance is something that deteriorates quickly with age, and Hot Prana has several challenging balancing sequences that will have you laughing as you sweat. Hot yoga is particularly good for the heart, combining lots of variation in mechanical position in the asanas and lots of different intensities. In Hot Prana I bring in lots of upper body strengthening, great music, poetry, philosophy and even a dharma talk at the beginning to get you focused.
Two studies looked at sauna use and respiratory infection and found that sauna users (3-4 times a week) had half the rate of infection as non-sauna using controls. When infected, the body produces pyrogens (fire-origin) to heat the body to kill invaders. In any case, I find personally I get sick less the more I practice, but the high humidity weighs down the aerosol droplets, making hot yoga environments safer anyway.
A special mention has to be made about hot yoga and depression - a few studies have borne out the claim that hot yoga helps. Nothing makes you feel as good as Hot Prana does - and if you don't believe me, just go ahead and try it!
Marcus is an instructor at The Yoga Bar, a local studio offering a variety of classes from High Intensity classes to build your stamina to Deep relaxation and Stretch classes that help you to keep your mind calm and body nourished.
Starting out as a comic and musician Marcus moved to Vancouver in 2001 to pursue a career in media, instead, later that same year, he discovered yoga. Marcus created Hot Prana in 2014 and started playing guitar and singing Johnny Cash for live music yin (Cool Qi) a year later. After teaching hot yoga for over twenty years, Marcus is now pursuing a master's degree in Clinical Counseling and hopes to integrate his yoga, fitness, and life-coaching into his psychotherapy practice.