Got Winter Blues? Try Hot Yoga

As snow covers many parts of the country, motivation to work out may start to dwindle.

It can be frustrating when the weather prevents you from enjoying the outdoors. But, some indoor workouts are excellent for your body and mind.

Hot yoga, brought from India to the United States in the 1970s, uses heat and humidity to create a unique workout experience that brings a great deal of benefits—especially when it's colder outside.

Traveling yoga teacher, Charmie Stryker, says hot yoga can improve flexibility, help your body rid itself of toxins, and give your brain a boost.

More: Hot Yoga Myths Debunked

Improved Flexibility

"When in a warm room, your body directs circulation to your muscles and skin in its natural process to cool itself, increasing circulation to the muscle tissues which allows the body to be more flexible," Stryker says. "When practiced correctly, warming up the muscles can prevent the chance of injury by reducing internal friction."

The flexibility of your body during hot yoga can be hard to achieve in a cooler environment. Being familiar with your body's limits is important to prevent pulling muscles during this practice.

More: New to Yoga? 4 Poses to Get You Started

Detox

When it's cold outside, it can be harder to work up a sweat.

"Sweating plays a beneficial role in our active lifestyles," Stryker says. "Warm rooms can increase your energy output, which results in raising your heart rate and metabolism."

Increased energy in the heat is what leads to sweat. This sweat helps your body rid itself of toxins that can be harmful to your system, such as alcohol and cholesterol. This detox is aided by drinking a lot of water to assist your body in the process.

More: Yoga Flow to Cleanse Your Body

Mental Stamina

Just like a hot shower on a cold night can help clear your head, working out in a hot room or relaxing in a sauna can be beneficial during winter weather.

"Once you allow your body to acclimate to the heat, you will feel the benefits of the heat relaxing your body, improving your breath (specifically beneficial for asthma) and centering your mind," Stryker says. "The conditioning your mind receives will have you walking away from your yoga class with noticeably reduced anxiety and stress."

Focus is an added benefit of yoga. Still, be mindful when or if you need to take a break at any point during the class.

More: 4 Yoga Poses to Lose Love Handles

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About the Author

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta (formerly Erickson) is a national writer and fitness enthusiast based in Austin, Texas. Her writing appears in Women's Running, Women's Adventure, Competitor and more. Ashley is a proud alumna of the University of California, San Diego. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and @ashley_lauretta.

Ashley Lauretta (formerly Erickson) is a national writer and fitness enthusiast based in Austin, Texas. Her writing appears in Women's Running, Women's Adventure, Competitor and more. Ashley is a proud alumna of the University of California, San Diego. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and @ashley_lauretta.

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