Running and Hot Yoga: Perfect Companions

There’s something special about long distance runners. 

Runners have a unique ability to see beyond the first few miles of physical discomfort to meet their ultimate goal; crossing the finish line. 

Similar to runners, there’s something special about those who practice hot yoga. Now, we’re talking hot yoga. Yoga practiced in a 105 degree fahrenheit room with 40% humidity for sixty to ninety minutes at a time. These yogis challenge themselves to bend, stretch, and breathe in extreme conditions.

What is most fascinating is the striking similarity between the two groups. Both finish their sport with sweat and a smile. 

While the two activities are quite different they couldn’t be a more perfect pair. The combination of yoga and running together can transform your physical body and mental game in unbelievable ways.


Endurance

The physical strength and endurance it takes to withstand 105 degree heat is a great test for any athlete. Combine the elements of the room with the mental challenge of breathing through the discomfort and you have the perfect test for endurance. The body is typically much stronger and more resilient than we give it credit for. Those who try hot yoga for the first time will definitely attest to that. After class most students feel a sense of elation as they re-hydrate and go about their day. 


Indy Mini Marathon runner and hot yogini, Taffanee Keys, remembers her first class like it was yesterday.

“When I first walked into the room, I thought it was like being in New Orleans in July at the hottest point of the day. Like New Orleans, all I wanted to do was to escape and find a place with the coldest air-conditioning. However, after a few minutes, I noticed that I began to sweat and my body started to adapt to the heat. My goal was to stay in the room and I managed to accomplish that task by concentrating on the words of the instructor and paying attention to my practice.” 


Keys has been practicing at The Hot Room since November 2014 and has noticed incredible results in endurance performance. 


“For me Bikram yoga has increased my endurance both physically and mentally. While I have engaged in other types of strength training that focuses on increasing my physicality, Bikram has built my mental stamina which is key for endurance runners. Like Bikram, running is a mental sport; the body is incredible and can go long distances when properly trained, it is the mind that allows me, as an endurance runner, to maintain the course and not give up. Bikram helps to train the mind. It has helped me realize both my mental and physical limits and to find strength to stretch beyond them. As a result, I completed my first ultra-distance race in January without any major injuries.”


2. Breath

Yoga without breath is like peanut butter and jelly without the peanut butter. It’s just not yoga. Running without breath is impossible. It would be the same as running without legs. The breath instruction in yoga will transform your running experience. You will notice a complete mind-body connection that comes from the deliberate instruction to breathe in and out of specific postures. You will notice your body responds with new vitality when the breath is truly connected to the movement. 

“I’ve developed greater flexibility in my entire body.  I have also garnered greater lung capacity, managing the ability to breathe with great ease while running in single digit temperatures and in the extreme heat.”


3. Body Awareness and Injury Prevention


The Sanskrit meaning of the word “yoga” is union. It is derived from the sanskrit root
“Yuj” meaning to join, but also to control or disciplinate. In simple terms, it means you must be completely connected between body and mind. Pushing yourself beyond your physical limits in the practice is quite literally not yoga. A successful practitioner honors where there body is in each practice and takes rest when it is needed. 


“Prior to Bikram, I often suffered from running overuse injuries which included IT band issues, popliteus tendinitis, and Achilles tendonitis; these injuries often kept me benched so to speak. I have found that Bikram targets and aids in the healing of all my problem areas which also includes my hamstrings, knees, lower back, and calves. Once I incorporated Bikram into my training schedule, I have been healthy both physically and mentally and can bounce back easily after running long distances.” 


If you feel ready to add hot yoga as part of your training we would love for you to experience The Hot Room. Here’s Taffanee’s tips for a successful first class!


Get to class early. You want to be close to the door to ensure you feel the air ventilating throughout the room
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Proper hydration is key to be able to endure 104-108 degree temperatures with 40% humidity.
Do not eat a heavy meal 2 hours before you arrive. The key is to keep all nutrition inside your body.
Wear comfortable dry-fit clothing; shorts and a tank are sufficient. Nobody cares what you look like, comfort is the word.
Stay mentally and physically in the room. This is time you carved out for yourself. Leave all the worries of the world outside. 

We commend all our runners on their hard work and training.  Bring your race bib into one of our studios and receive a free class on us!



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