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Heating Up Your BodyThe newest fad in fitness: hot yoga
Jeong Joon-oh  |
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승인 2009.09.22  21:00:22
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YOGA MAY seem like a new style of exercise for many people, but it is actually a physical and mental discipline that began 3,000 years ago in India. The word “yoga,” in Sanskrit (one of the ancient languages of India), means to “yoke,” or unite, the mind, body, and spirit. While yoga is now a very well known form of exercise, what is this new type of yoga called hot yoga? Most of us may think that hot yoga is just doing yoga in a heated room, however there is more to what hot yoga is and what it can do for your body.

                                                           Hot yoga and its benefits
   Every now and then when you walk around in Seoul and you look at fitness center posters, there are always a few that advertise something called hot yoga. But what exactly does this “hot” yoga program entail, and why is it so popular? Bikram, or hot yoga, is a series of yoga poses done in heated rooms usually maintained at a temperature of approximately 40 degrees Celsius. Yoga at this temperature promotes profuse sweating, which is believed to help rid the body of toxins. It also keeps the body warm, and therefore more flexible. Hot yoga works toward wellness, restoration and rejuvenation. The heated studio facilitates deeper stretching, prevents injuries, and relieves stress and tension. Hot yoga was designed to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joint, and organ of the body. Participants are guided through a series of 26 postures during which the heart, lungs, and circulation, muscles, brain activity, and mental capacity are all affected.
   There are two branches of exercises that these 26 poses fall under: they are *asanas* (postures) and *pranayma* (breathing exercises). Both of these rely on each other to deliver positive results. According to Bikram Choudhury, the creator of hot yoga, many people only use up to 50 percent of their lung capacity, and just like any muscle, the lungs must be stretched in order to (through practice) withstand holding more oxygen. When one is practicing *pranayama*, she or he will eventually be able to enhance oxygen conversion and absorption, as well as improve blood circulation.

                                                         To whom hot yoga is recommended
   This program is open to all people who want to have a healthier lifestyle and who want to obtain the body they always dreamed of. However, this program is especially recommended to those who have poor posture or want to lose weight. For example, people who carry their heavy bags on one side can make their shoulder bones uneven, which yoga positions can correct. In addition, doing hot yoga is great exercise and burns about 400 to 600 calories per session. Since the room is heated, one’s body will start to sweat, letting the body burn fat while toning the muscles of the body at the same time. 

   It is not safe to attend this program without having eaten anything within two hours before class. If you are prone to anemia, it is vital that you tell the instructor so that he or she can give you extra care. Also it is handy to bring your own water bottle so that you can keep yourself hydrated in the heat at all times. Above all, this program is not to show off your skill but to improve your health and posture. 

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   After understanding how beneficial hot yoga can be, don’t you think it is time to heat things up and attend a program yourself? Get those yoga mats ready and sign up for a program so you can see your body twist in ways you never thought it could.

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