As a follow up to last week’s blog ‘Earn the Heat!’ I thought I might offer some more insight on what temperature is appropriate to practice intense forms of yoga. Last week I mentioned, “I offer power yoga workouts here at Breathe Into Motion Yoga Studios that are super sweat-inducing. These classes are practiced in temperatures somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (24 and 26.5 degrees Celsius). Sweat is easily evaporated at this temperature and the body core can be cooled with blood circulation. The risk of heat related illness is very low and the chance of ligament laxity is greatly reduced.”
The idea of what constitutes appropriate temperature to practice yoga is not some arbitrary thought I came up with. Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is considered to be the most intense traditional yoga style. Danny Paradise and Angela Jamison are iconic Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teachers, and we have been blessed to have them here as guests at the studio. There were no requests by them to heat the studio, but instead we practiced in room temperature.
Gregor Maehle has written a book called ‘Ashtanga Yoga, Practice and Philosophy.’ In his book he states, “Care needs to be taken not to overheat if one is engaging in strenuous practice in a hot environment. As with any type of engine, so also with the human body: overheating is not good.” This statement resonates with me as I would not have wished to attempt practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Danny or Angela in 105 degree Fahrenheit heat.
The BIM Power Yoga I teach here at the studio has been influenced from experiences I have had practicing with Danny, Angela, David Williams, David Swenson, Eoin Finn, Nicky Doane and other iconic teachers I’ve had the good fortune to meet. It can’t be overstated that not one of these yoga teachers required the room to be heated. BIM Power Yoga in many ways is inspired through Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga techniques, but BIM Power Yoga also includes a lot of calisthenics. There are plenty of sweaty practitioners reaching for towels during class.
In Maehle’s book he goes on to say, “A temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit would be ideal for practice, with a range of 15 degrees below and above that is still possible...” This would put the highest practice temperature recommended by Maehle at 83 degrees, which is a bit warm for our students here practicing BIM Power Yoga. Certainly well below the temperatures at studios offering hot yoga!
There are times while practicing BIM yoga in Levels 4 & 5, which are Power Classes where the mat becomes slick from perspiration making some transitions more like having some fun on a slip and slide. We relish in our earned body heat, and enjoy an extraordinary workout. Sometimes I like to call our BIM Power Yoga by its nickname, ‘Hot Enough Yoga.’