The 5 Benefits of Hot Yoga For Runners
Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a practice of yoga conducted in a humid room, and the studio is typically heated to 105 degrees fahrenheit. Many types of athletes can benefit from hot yoga, especially runners. This article goes over the benefits of hot yoga as well as how to find a studio and top hot yoga mats.
There are several benefits of hot yoga for runners, and it can help runners both physically and mentally. One of the obvious benefits is stretching because running tightens the muscles, whereas stretching loosens it.
Here are five benefits of hot yoga for runners:
1. Heat Tolerance and Acclimation
Hot yoga helps runners build stamina and develop heat tolerance. Controlling breathing is one the major components of any yoga practice and an essential part to develop heat tolerance. Training in hot yoga helps runners develop controlled breathing and pacing in the heat. It mimics the same feeling as a hard interval session because heart rate goes up by 75%.
Heat acclimation is important to runners because heat increases blood flow to ligaments and skeletal muscle. The blood flow allows the body to use to nutrients first before accessing the glucose storage, which leads to the feeling of plateau or “hitting a wall.” Heat acclimation reduces the chances of accessing these storages by 50%.
2. Injury Prevention
Injury prevention is one of the keys to a successful training program with running. Stretching creates some space between the joints, and this space decreases the chance of stiffness. Space happens through blood circulation and heat.
Besides lowering the chance of stiffness, hot yoga makes runners check-in within their bodies. There is a stereotype that runners tend to run through injuries. By incorporating hot yoga into a training routine, runners can self-evaluate to make sure joints and muscles are in working order.
3. Improved Strength
People commonly see yoga as a flexibility routine, but it also strengthens the body in many ways. It boosts glute, pelvic, and hamstring functionality. Runners often forget that upper body and core strength are essential for running, so hot yoga conditions these areas as well. In regards to the most important body part of running, hot yoga makes the feet more stable to land on. Lastly, joints feel more durable.
Breathing is central to any yoga practice, and inhaling and exhaling lead the flow and movements in yoga. This breathing practice can easily transfer into running due to the fact the way a runner breaths dictates the pacing and recovery duration. Having the habit of developing a breathing cadence and using it as a recovery tool helps with strenuous runs.
5. Mental Strength
A Runner’s World article states that mental toughness affects race times by 14%. It doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up.
Hot yoga pushes mental limits. It forces the individual out of his or her comfort zone. Increasing mental toughness is duoable in hot yoga because it is conducted in a safe space with a confident and positive-minded facilitator.
How to Find a Hot Yoga Studio and Get Started
Finding the right hot yoga studio for a particular person may take a little time. Here are some tips and steps to finding the right hot yoga studio.
5 Best Yoga Mats for Hot Yoga
When it comes to practicing hot yoga on a consistent schedule and with motivation, using the right yoga mat goes hand-in-hand as finding the right pair of running shoes. Many companies have their own special features that may work for some, but not for others. Here are the 5 best yoga mats for hot yoga for runners. Below is a quick comparison chart and further information below goes over their overall description and pros/cons from customers.
Peace Hot Yoga Rubber Mat
The Peace yoga mat is constructed for hot yoga. The mat features a microfiber surface that gets stronger as it soaks up moisture and sweat. It is also eco-friendly, PVC free, and recyclable since it is made with natural tree rubber. There are multiple colors and designs to choose from to keep the yogi inspired.
The Peace Hot Yoga mat offers a few benefits. Many yogis state that the mat is comfortable due to the amount of cushioning. It is affordable and can be washed in a washing machine. The mat is ideal for constant sweaters because the fibers get stronger as the hot yoga session progresses. Transitioning from pose to pose is easy because it grips well when there is enough moisture.
- Package Includes: 1 - 3.5mm Rubber Yoga Mat with Tree Design
- Dimensions: 72" x 24" x 3.5mm / Weight: 5 lbs.
- Rubber yoga mat designed for when you get sweaty during Hot Yoga: microfiber grip surface that STRENGTHENS as it SOAKS UP your sweat.
With that being said, it is only good for constant sweaters. One of the instructions is to lightly spray down the mat before use. A common complaint from yogis is they have to continue to spray down the mat between poses, and the moisture evaporates before moving onto the next pose. Knowing this also means the mat is not meant for traditional yoga.
There are some other downside to this mat. One of them is it is not good for traveling due to the weight and bulk. It gives off a chemical-smell no matter how many times it has been washed or aired out, and one customer said “going into child’s pose felt like torture.” Lastly, it collects dust, dirt, and hair.
Gaiam Sol Studio Select
The Sol Studio Select is a top selling product in the Gaiam line. Gaiam advertises this mat as slip and worry-free. The company guarantees the top coat wicks away moisture and gets stronger as class continues. They also make it with rubber-free materials for those with sensitivities to latex. The 8mm of cushioning composes support for joints.
According to customers, the last point in the overall section is supported by their feedback. The amount of cushioning makes it ideal for those with knee issues. It also supports the ankles during balancing poses, and it decreases the chances of feeling wobbly when getting into the poses.
Here are other positive comments about the mat:
- EXTRA THICK YOGA MAT: Firm, protective 8mm mat offers the highest level of cushioning
- ALL NATURAL: Extra-thick, 100% natural rubber yoga mat
- GROUNDED FOUNDATION: Structured core for balanced resilience
There are areas customers feel there should be more improvements. It does not last long, and a customer states the top layer peeled after 3 months of use. The top layer absorbs too much heat to the point it makes the skin uncomfortable.
Matymats Non Slip TPE Yoga Mat
The Non Slip TPE mat features high-elasticity for resilience, which is needed in hot yoga. Matymats constructed this mat with safety and support to help the yogi stay focused through practice. This mat has two layers with two toned coloring, and each layer has its own purpose. The top layer has sticky, high-performance grip, whereas the bottom layer helps the mat stay in place with anti-skid feature.
The materials Matymats used for this are eco-friendly and avirulent insipidity considering PVC and rubber are common materials for yoga mats. Their mats require basic cleaning and does not omit an odor or smell.
- DIMENSIONS (LENGTH×WIDTH×THICKNESS): 1830×610×6mm / 72''×24''×0.236''; NET WEIGHT: 1kg / 2.2 lbs
- MATYMATS YOGA MAT IS MADE OF THERMAL PLASTIC ELASTOMER (TPE), a newly developed and patented material that is hypoallergenic, 100% PVC free and contains no latex, rubber or toxins, WITH NO SMELL. Much lighter to carry than mats of other types of material.
- MATYMATS YOGA MAT SAVES YOUR TIME AND MONEY - A LITTLE MORE EXPENSIVE, MUCH BETTER! Matymats features and only manufactures top quality Yoga mat with excellent cushioning, high elasticity and resilience. Each mat is of double layers in unique texture designs.
Customers love this mat for number of reasons. The top comment is it’s well-cushioned and supports joints and muscles. Customer also admire the grip of the mat, and one yogi said she can hold planks twice as long. It takes in moisture and sweat without releasing a distracting smell and does not slip.
The only area Matymat can improve is the design. Many yogis said the lack of design makes it uninspiring.
Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1 Yoga Mat
The Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1 Yoga Mat is the 1st product of its kind. Aurorae’s lush non-slip towels is bonded with a bonded stitch border to a 5mm PER yoga mat. Aurora promises no odor, slipping, or bunching of the towel during a hot yoga session. Also, the grip of the mat gets better as it absorbs sweat and moisture.
As with any other hot yoga mat, it is recommended to spray down the mat in order to activate grip to prevent dry hands and feet from slipping. Customers claim that one of the positives is they only had to spray down the mat in the beginning of the class unlike other hot yoga mats where customers had to spray it down multiple times. The grip stays consistent throughout the hot yoga session since the grip gets stronger with sweat according to customers.
- The Synergy Hot Yoga Mat is Aurorae's most recent development and is US Patent Protected due to its unique design and manufacturing. As a special hot/active yoga mat, Synergy combines the best of both worlds all wrapped in one unique yoga mat.
- You'll experience no more slipping or bunching of your towel as you move on top of your mat. The wetter this mat gets the better the grip as Towel and mat are bonded together
- 1st product of its kind that bonds our 5mm patented PER yoga mat as the bottom surface with our lush, non-slip microfiber towel as the top surface.
There are other positive comments regarding this yoga may. It has excellent cushioning, which makes poses on the hands or knees easier to do, and it gives extra support for balance poses. The mat is durable, and a customer said it lasted up to 3 years.
There are some cons for the mat. One main complaint is the cleaning is a lengthy process, and some customers find that as too much maintenance for a mat. It does have a shorter width than other hot yoga mats. A few customers disagree with the promise of no bunching, for they have experienced this with their Aurora mat.
Heathyoga Eco-Friendly Non Slip Mat
Eco-friendly is the first feature Heathyoga put on the top of their list for this mat. The mat is made with materials free of PVC, latex, and non-toxic, harmful chemicals. The next feature is its body alignment system. The alignment lines on the mat not only keeps the body in proper alignment; it helps the yogi stay focused on the practice at hand. Heathyoga pledges a comfortable experience with its 6mm thickness, and the double layer has superior grip on both sides. The mat is ideal for all yogis because of its extra large length.
Yogis agree with Heathyoga in regards to their features. Many customers said the mat is super lightweight and comfortable. The mat has great padding and density to help support knees and elbows through poses. Many like the size, and that it can be used by multiple people. It is easy to travel with due to the included carrying strap.
On the other hand, some yogis disagree with some features. The main con of the mat is that it slips all over the place, and the top layer gets too slippery for some poses. Another con is the quality of materials and construction. There are a handful of comments stating the mat misshapes after a few months, and the mat has not been exposed to sunlight for long periods
As you can see there are some tremendous benefits of hot yoga for runners.
Last update on 2018-12-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API