Asanas in the Fridge: A Peek into Cold Yoga

They say that the health benefits associated with cold yoga are much more than those that you gain during a hot yoga class. But didn’t they also say that sweating is basically fat crying?
Asanas in the Fridge: A Peek into Cold Yoga

We should’ve already gotten used to crazy new yoga trends popping up, knocking out existing ones, questioning all we believed in for so long… Well, cold yoga apparently is one of these new kids on the block, and science is actually backing it up.

It all started in New York, at a fitness studio named Brrrn. They offer three types of classes, among which is one centered on yoga, but also on increasing strength and mobility… practiced at 16 degrees Celsius. Sounds cold? Well, other classes at this place are conducted at as low as 7 degrees Celsius as well.


But Why Cold Yoga? What Is Wrong with Room Temperature?

Well, according to science, there are many benefits to working out at such low temperatures. According to one of the co-founders of Brrrn, Jimmy T. Martin, “There’s a sweet spot temperature called mild cold stress where you can really take advantage of some of the physiological benefits, specifically between 40 and 64 degrees [Fahrenheit].”

Professionals say it’s actually very logical: while we always think of fat as “burning” in the heat, we do not consider that our bodies are always working to maintain the right body temperature. So, the colder your surroundings, the more our while system will take on to keep the right heat in. As Kristin Stanford PhD said, “It does this by burning energy to maintain heat production, meaning it could be burning more calories at the same time.” Sounds completely logical, right?

Another thing: don’t you usually feel that in the summer you move slower, every movement gets a bit harder? Guess what – there is an explanation for this, too! In a study conducted at more than one marathons (among them, Boston and New York), it was found that warm weather impacted the runners’ performance by a significant level: if the temperature increased from 5 degrees Celsius to 25, the participants all became a lot slower. If we consider this, then Martin’s phrase that claims, “heat discourages movement, while cold temperatures encourage movement,” is quite spot on.



Debunking the Sweat Myth

I don’t know about you, but when I go for a Bikram yoga class or sit in a sauna, I always picture the fat in my body leaving magically through all the sweat. Sorry to burst your bubble – fat leaves your body mostly through your lungs and only 16% exits through bodily fluids, like sweat. So, for example, at a hot yoga class, you sweat like a piggy because your core temperature climbs up and your body uses sweat to try and cool it back down again.

Imagine other sports where your temperature doesn’t increase, like swimming: you still use a lot of energy (I mean, how hungry are you after each swim session?!) and burn a lot of fat, but since the water surrounding you keeps you cool, you don’t sweat – there is no need for it. So, keep this in mind: sweating does not equal losing fat!


So, Hot Yoga is a Goner?

That sounds a bit too dramatic, especially since we all love to go for a session here and there at the best yoga studios in Budapest, but there has been a study where they found that Bikram yoga does not have any positive (or negative) effect on vascular health. In any case, do not turn away from it completely – practicing yoga in such heat does have its benefits!

How was our first Bikram yoga experience? Check it out here!


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