What is infrared heat and why in a yoga studio?
Ask the experts: Nicole Cyrille
E-RYT 500 & Certified Yoga Therapist
Yoga Harmony Studio
Nicole is the owner of Yoga Harmony and began to deepen her practice when she was diagnosed with Charcott-Marie-Tooth. Doctors told her she would only continue to grow weaker, but yoga has kept her body and mind strong. Nicole brings a sense of possibility and inspiration to every class she teaches.
What is Hot Yoga with Infrared heat?
Hot yoga raises your pulse and dilates surface vessels from the internal organs. Repeated practice decreases blood pressure by enhancing elasticity of arteries, removing toxins from the kidneys, and reducing excessive sympathetic nervous system activity. A combination of lower heart rate and improved oxygenation to the body (both benefits of yoga) results in higher cardiovascular endurance and stamina. During a 90 minutes class, you'll hear your body talk... body talk.
Infrared radiation is simply electromagnetic radiation with a lower frequency than visible light. Heat energy is often transferred in the form of infrared radiation.
Infrared heat offers a more natural form of heat for the body as the infrared waves are the same as those given from the sun. The infrared waves penetrate the muscle tissue and produce a (healthy) stress response within the muscle that mimics moderate exercise.
Further health benefits of practicing yoga in the heat are the release of toxins through sweat (our natural cooling system), and decreased joint stiffness and pain.
Studies conducted by Dr. Chris Minson, environmental physiologist at the University of Oregon, have shown an increased cardiovascular capacity after exercising in this type of heat, and muscular structural repair after the muscles were placed under the infrared heaters. Infrared heaters will heat the surfaces of a yoga room and the people inside first, and then the air temperature will increase, which allow to acclimate gradually. Beginners or people with heart conditions need to approach heated yoga practices cautiously, just as for saunas. So listen to your body while on the mat and seek the teacher’s advice.
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