5 Benefits of Hot Yoga For Runners

Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a practice of yoga conducted in a humid room, and the studio is typically heated to 105 degrees fahrenheit. Many types of athletes can benefit from hot yoga, especially runners. This article goes over the benefits of hot yoga as well as how to find a studio and top hot yoga mats.

There are several benefits of hot yoga for runners, and it can help runners both physically and mentally. One of the obvious benefits is stretching because running tightens the muscles, whereas stretching loosens it.

Here are five benefits of hot yoga for runners:

1. Heat Tolerance and Acclimation

Hot yoga helps runners build stamina and develop heat tolerance. Controlling breathing is one the major components of any yoga practice and an essential part to develop heat tolerance.

Training in hot yoga, similar to a hot tub, helps runners develop controlled breathing and pacing in the heat. It mimics the same feeling as a hard interval session because heart rate goes up by 75%.

Heart Rate Increases

Heat acclimation is important to runners because heat increases blood flow to ligaments and skeletal muscle. The blood flow allows the body to use to nutrients first before accessing the glucose storage, which leads to the feeling of plateau or “hitting a wall.” Heat acclimation reduces the chances of accessing these storages by 50%.

2. Injury Prevention

Injury prevention is one of the keys to a successful training program with running. Stretching creates some space between the joints, and this space decreases the chance of stiffness. Space happens through blood circulation and heat.

Besides lowering the chance of stiffness, hot yoga makes runners check-in within their bodies. There is a stereotype that runners tend to run through injuries. By incorporating hot yoga into a training routine, runners can self-evaluate to make sure joints and muscles are in working order.

3. Improved Strength

People commonly see yoga as a flexibility routine, but it also strengthens the body in many ways. It boosts glute, pelvic, and hamstring functionality. Runners often forget that upper body and core strength are essential for running, so hot yoga conditions these areas as well. In regards to the most important body part of running, hot yoga makes the feet more stable to land on. Lastly, joints feel more durable.

4. Breathing

Breathing is central to any yoga practice, and inhaling and exhaling lead the flow and movements in yoga. This breathing practice can easily transfer into running due to the fact the way a runner breaths dictates the pacing and recovery duration. Having the habit of developing a breathing cadence and using it as a recovery tool helps with strenuous runs.

5. Mental Strength

A Runner’s World article states that mental toughness affects race times by 14%. It doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up.

Hot yoga pushes mental limits. It forces the individual out of his or her comfort zone. Increasing mental toughness is duoable in hot yoga because it is conducted in a safe space with a confident and positive-minded facilitator.


How to Find a Hot Yoga Studio and Get Started

Finding the right hot yoga studio for a particular person may take a little time. Here are some tips and steps to finding the right hot yoga studio.

  • Find a studio that is convenient to home or work location with an internet search. Read any customer reviews in order to narrow down choices of studios.
  • Check the studio’s website, social media pages, or calling the studio to get basic information, such as class times, fees, expectations, and what items to bring. Studios typically have community mats, towels, and water fountain. There are studios who also offer some free sessions or huge discounts. If there are more than 1 ideal choice of studio, take advantage of these discounts to get help make a choice.
  • Attire depends on the person. Some people prefer practicing hot yoga in loose fitting clothes, while others prefer form fitting. It is best to wear workout attire that is breathable. Cotton clothing is not ideal for hot yoga (unless you really want the waterworks of sweat).
  • The next tip is to be patient with yourself and pace during hot yoga (like during running). Commonly, it takes up to 4 sessions for someone to get used to hot yoga. It might be suffocating and stifling at first. Some key practices during the first few sessions is to keep calm, relax, and breath. Take little sips of water throughout the session, and take a step out of the room for a breather if needed.

What type of yoga is best for runners?

Vinyasa and power yoga are two of the most effective forms of yoga for runners who want to strengthen their supporting muscles in order to minimize the risk of injury.

Vinyasa yoga is a more athletic style of yoga that uses a faster flow and requires coordination with the breath.

This style of yoga also encourages runners to build strength in their backs and chest to improve posture while running. Since it focuses on continuous movement, vinyasa yoga helps runners learn how to engage certain muscle groups when they need them most so when they are out on a run they can stay balanced during their strides.   

The vinyasa pace works well for new-comers jumping into a more athletic style of yoga since there isn't much holding time involved with poses.

Power Yoga is a more flexible version of vinyasa yoga. Both styles of yoga improve flexibility, endurance, and strength.

Power Yoga is another style of yoga that uses a faster pace with continuous movement to help bring your heart rate up which is beneficial for runners.

The difference between this style and Vinyasa Yoga is there's holding time involved in the poses for power yoga. The extra holding time helps build strength which will be useful for running long distances while also improving stability in runner's hips and back to take pressure off their joints during runs.

Since the holding times are shorter than traditional yoga, many runners find it helpful because they can get into a pose and then take their mind off it while up on an audiobook or podcast

Is it bad to run after hot yoga?

As rule of thumb, running after Hot Yoga is good for the body in moderation. Hot yoga rooms tend to humid and hot and hot Yoga is designed to improve posture and overall muscle strength.

Where you should be precautious is cooling your body down after running. Running after Hot Yoga is good for your overall health, but you should wait at least 30 minutes before exercising after a hot yoga session.


5 Best Yoga Mats for Hot Yoga for Runners

When it comes to practicing hot yoga on a consistent schedule and with motivation, using the right yoga mat goes hand-in-hand as finding the right pair of running shoes. Many companies have their own special features that may work for some, but not for others.

Here are the 5 best yoga mats for hot yoga for runners. Below is a quick comparison chart and further information below goes over their overall description.

Peace Hot Yoga Rubber Mat

The Peace yoga mat is constructed for hot yoga. The mat features a microfiber surface that gets stronger as it soaks up moisture and sweat. It is also eco-friendly, PVC free, and recyclable since it is made with natural tree rubber.

There are multiple colors and designs to choose from to keep the yogi inspired.

The Peace Hot Yoga mat offers a few benefits. Many yogis state that the mat is comfortable due to the amount of cushioning.

It is affordable and can be washed in a washing machine. The mat is ideal for constant sweaters because the fibers get stronger as the hot yoga session progresses. 

Transitioning from pose to pose is easy because it grips well when there is enough moisture.

Peace Yoga Microfiber Top Hot Yoga Mat Tree
122 Reviews
Peace Yoga Microfiber Top Hot Yoga Mat Tree
  • Package Includes: 1 - 3.5mm Rubber Yoga Mat with Tree Design
  • Dimensions: 72" x 24" x 3.5mm / Weight: 5 lbs.
  • Rubber yoga mat designed for when you get sweaty during Hot Yoga: microfiber grip surface that STRENGTHENS as it SOAKS UP your sweat.

With that being said, it is only good for constant sweaters. One of the instructions is to lightly spray down the mat before use.

A common complaint from yogis is they have to continue to spray down the mat between poses, and the moisture evaporates before moving onto the next pose. Knowing this also means the mat is not meant for traditional yoga.

There are some other downside to this mat.

One of them is it is not good for traveling due to the weight and bulk. It gives off a chemical-smell no matter how many times it has been washed or aired out, and one customer said “going into child’s pose felt like torture.” Lastly, it collects dust, dirt, and hair.


Gaiam Sol Studio Select

The Sol Studio Select is a top selling product in the Gaiam line. Gaiam advertises this mat as slip and worry-free. The company guarantees the top coat wicks away moisture and gets stronger as class continues. They also make it with rubber-free materials for those with sensitivities to latex. The 8mm of cushioning composes support for joints.

The amount of cushioning makes it ideal for those with knee issues. It also supports the ankles during balancing poses, and it decreases the chances of feeling wobbly when getting into the poses.

Here are other positive comments about the mat:

  • Excellent performance even when dry
  • It grips well and does not make one slide during certain poses
  • It requires basic cleaning
  • It does not omit unpleasant odors
Gaiam Yoga Mat - Premium 5mm Dry-Grip Thick Non Slip Exercise & Fitness Mat for Hot Yoga, Pilates & Floor Workouts (68'L x 24'W x 5mm) - Purple
1,394 Reviews
Gaiam Yoga Mat - Premium 5mm Dry-Grip Thick Non Slip Exercise & Fitness Mat for Hot Yoga, Pilates & Floor Workouts (68"L x 24"W x 5mm) - Purple
  • EXTRA THICK YOGA MAT: Lightweight PVC backing, durable and extra-thick for additional cushioning
  • CLOSED CELL CONSTRUCTION: Mat works to seal out germs, odor and bacteria
  • GREAT FOR HOT YOGA: Stay-dry top coat wicks away moisture for ultimate grip

Matymats Non Slip TPE Yoga Mat 

The Non Slip TPE mat features high-elasticity for resilience, which is needed in hot yoga. Matymats constructed this mat with safety and support to help the yogi stay focused through practice.

This mat has two layers with two toned coloring, and each layer has its own purpose. The top layer has sticky, high-performance grip, whereas the bottom layer helps the mat stay in place with anti-skid feature.

The materials Matymats used for this are eco-friendly and avirulent insipidity considering PVC and rubber are common materials for yoga mats. Their mats require basic cleaning and does not omit an odor or smell.

Matymats Non Slip Yoga Mat with Adjustable Strap 1/4 “ Thick High Density Portable Workout Mat for Yoga, Exercise, Fitness, Pilate (72x24”, Black)
167 Reviews
Matymats Non Slip Yoga Mat with Adjustable Strap 1/4 “ Thick High Density Portable Workout Mat for Yoga, Exercise, Fitness, Pilate (72x24”, Black)
  • NON SLIP YOGA MAT: Compared with other cheap foam yoga mat, our anti slip yoga mat made of premium TPE upgrade material, which is lightweight, durable and long-lasting use. The non slip yoga mats have double-sided 3D texture surface that it can prevent you from sliding on the ground during exercise when heats up and keep you motivated and focused.
  • YOGA MAT WITH STRAP: Our lightweight yoga mat with a practical yoga carrying strap, it is convenient for you to do exercise in anywhere and anytime. In addition, after doing practices, you can roll up it and it won’t take up your home much space.
  • NO MORE PAIN: With high density and comfortable thickness, this yoga mat offers ultimate Comfort support on your wrists, ankles, knees, eblows and more sensitive body parts. It will improve pleasure yoga exercise experience during yoga practice.

It is well-cushioned and supports joints and muscles. I love the grip of the mat, and one yogi said she can hold planks twice as long. It takes in moisture and sweat without releasing a distracting smell and does not slip.

The only area Matymat can improve is the design. Many yogis said the lack of design makes it uninspiring.


Aurorae Synergy 2 in 1 Yoga Mat

The Aurorae Synergy 2-in-1 Yoga Mat is the 1st product of its kind. Aurorae’s lush non-slip towels is bonded with a bonded stitch border to a 5mm PER yoga mat. Aurora promises no odor, slipping, or bunching of the towel during a hot yoga session.

Also, the grip of the mat gets better as it absorbs sweat and moisture.

As with any other hot yoga mat, it is recommended to spray down the mat in order to activate grip to prevent dry hands and feet from slipping.

The grip stays consistent throughout the hot yoga session since the grip gets stronger with sweat.

Sale
AURORAE Synergy 2in1 Yoga Mat with integrated Non Slip Microfiber Towel. No Slipping No Bunching/Odor Patent Protected
1,598 Reviews
AURORAE Synergy 2in1 Yoga Mat with integrated Non Slip Microfiber Towel. No Slipping No Bunching/Odor Patent Protected
  • The Synergy Hot Yoga Mat is Aurorae’s most recent development and is US Patent Protected due to its unique design and manufacturing. As a special hot/active yoga mat, Synergy combines the best of both worlds all wrapped in one unique yoga mat.
  • You’ll experience no more slipping or bunching of your towel as you move on top of your mat. The wetter this mat gets the better the grip as Towel and mat are bonded together
  • 1st product of its kind that bonds our 5mm patented PER yoga mat as the bottom surface with our lush, non-slip microfiber towel as the top surface.

It has excellent cushioning, which makes poses on the hands or knees easier to do, and it gives extra support for balance poses. The mat is durable, and a customer said it lasted up to 3 years.

There are some cons for the mat. One main complaint is the cleaning is a lengthy process, and too much maintenance for a mat.

It does have a shorter width than other hot yoga mats.


Heathyoga Eco-Friendly Non Slip Mat

Eco-friendly is the first feature Heathyoga put on the top of their list for this mat. The mat is made with materials free of PVC, latex, and non-toxic, harmful chemicals. The next feature is its body alignment system.

The alignment lines on the mat not only keeps the body in proper alignment; it helps the yogi stay focused on the practice at hand.

 Heathyoga pledges a comfortable experience with its 6mm thickness, and the double layer has superior grip on both sides. The mat is ideal for all yogis because of its extra large length.

Yogis agree with Heathyoga in regards to their features.

This mat is super lightweight and comfortable. The mat has great padding and density to help support knees and elbows through poses.

It is easy to travel with due to the included carrying strap.

Sale
Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip Yoga Mat, Body Alignment System, SGS Certified TPE Material - Textured Non Slip Surface and Optimal Cushioning,72'x 26' Thickness 1/4'
9,090 Reviews
Heathyoga Eco Friendly Non Slip Yoga Mat, Body Alignment System, SGS Certified TPE Material - Textured Non Slip Surface and Optimal Cushioning,72"x 26" Thickness 1/4"
  • New Eco Friendly Material – More expensive but worth it. TPE is the latest technological improvement to the traditional yoga mats. No latex, no PVC, or any heavy metal. Our mats are made of SGS certified TPE material which is non-slip, odor-less and excellent in cushioning, unlike those cheap & traditional non-green PVC, NBR or EVA yoga mats. They are truly eco-friendly, healthy.
  • Body Alignment System: The alignment lines help you to focus and adjust your hands and feet to the accurate position, and keep body in proper alignment.
  • Perfect Performance –6mm in thickness offers the most comfortable experience for all level yogis. Double layer structure design provides optimal grip, excellent cushioning and double-sided non-slip texture, best suitable to practice many forms of Yoga.

On the other hand, some yogis disagree with some features. The main con of the mat is that it slips all over the place, and the top layer gets too slippery for some poses. Another con is the quality of materials and construction.

There are a handful of comments stating the mat misshapes after a few months, and the mat has not been exposed to sunlight for long periods


RELATED POSTS

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2022-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API