As some of you know I’m a yoga teacher in Europe, but I’m doing all my training in the US, and one of the big difference between those two cultures in terms of practicing yoga is the perspiration. When I’m in LA every classes I go to are given in a slightly heated room :usually around 28° Celsius ( it’s not Bikram or hot yoga), and people sweat. Oh yes they do! Even myself who I thought I wasn’t the sweating type, well, when I’m out of those classes, I look like I’m just stepping out of a shower. At first I didn’t like it, I was struggling a little, but then I realise I was a little bit more flexible, and that after a while my skin was glowing (in a good way). Even my best friend who came with me once told me that my skin was way more radiant when I was in LA than home, and the usual cold I use to have every witer simply disappeared.
Where I live and teach there are a lot of different people from all over Europe and Russia, and I don’t know if it’s because they used to live in the cold, or may be they just think sweating is dirty, or may be they don’t want to mess up their make-up, but they always ask for turning the AC on. I always disagree and explain them why. But when I attend classes as a student and someone open the window in winter or turn the AC on, I realize that my muscles are tighter, and I feel like I could hurt myself easily by going deeper in some asanas, and I don’t enjoy the class as much because it’s harder to let go in those conditions.
So let’s talk about the good effects of sweating:
1. SWEATING IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
When you sweat your pores open and release the dirt that’s inside of them. I don’t make up this, ask your dermatologist! Just wash your face after, and your skin will be cleaner than ever.
2. SWEATING DETOXIFIES THE BODY
It flushes the body of substances of alcohol, cholesterol and salt. A study in 2011 found many toxic elements seems to be excreted throught sweat.
3. SWEATING MAKES YOU HAPPIER
Some research has suggested that: “temperature-sensitive neural circuits to specific regions in the brain exist and may play a significant role in controlling mood.”
4. SWEATING PREVENTS COLDS AND OTHER ILLNESS OR INFECTIONS
Some studies suggest that “human perspiration contains a naturally occuring antimicrobial peptide called dermicidin, which has been proven to fight tuberculosis germs and other dangerous pathogens, and viruses, bacteria and funghi.” The natural antibiotic is naturally activated in salty, slightly acidic sweat.
5.SWEATING LOWERS KIDNEY STONE RISK
Some research from the University of Washington found that exercise in the heat makes you sweat out salt and hepls to retain calcium in your bones rather than having them go into the kidneys and urine where stones form. Plus sweating makes you want to drink more which helps in that process too.
6. SWEATING HELPS REDUCE PAIN OFF SORE MUSCLES.
This is because of the production of endorphins that are natural painkillers.
And finally last but not least:
7. PRACTICING IN THE HEAT MAKES YOUR MUSCLES MORE FLEXIBLE WHICH CAN PREVENT INJURIES
Heat warms up the muscles, that makes your body stretch more easily, and can help you prevent injuries such as pulled muscles.
I’m not saying you should practice in a heated room if you don’t want to, what I’m trying to say here, is that practicing yoga in a room not heated is fine, but the benefits of the internal heat created by the yoga practice and the breathing, should not be interrupted by the opening of a window or turning the AC on, IT IS HEALTHY TO WEAT, IT’S NOT DIRTY. Not only it has many many benefits you should consider, but it’s nothing that you can’t get rid off with a simple shower.
Namaste detoxified sweaty readers 😜 , stay tuned for new reflexions inspired by my yoga practice!