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Microsoft Word - THE HOT REALITY OF HOT YOGA-10

THE HOT REALITY OF







HOT YOGA



















































What Science & Medicine Reveal about


Hot Yoga and the Health & Fitness


Benefits for Designing a Healthy


Lifestyle

Troy Fabien PTA






The information in “THE HOT REALITY OF HOT YOGA” and its supporting resources is
meant to serve as a comprehensive collection of strategies that the author has researched.
Summaries, strategies, tips, and tricks are only recommendations and reading this book

will not guarantee your results will exactly mirror that of the author’s.

The author has made all reasonable efforts to provide current and accurate information.
The author and his associates will not be held liable for any unintentional errors or

omissions, and are not meant to be a substitute for medical advice.

The material includes information from third parties. These comprise of opinions

expressed by their owners. As such, the author does not assume responsibility or liability
for any third-party material or opinions.

The publication of third-party material does not constitute the author’s guarantee of any

information, products, services, or opinions contained within. Use of third-party material
does not guarantee that your results will mirror our results. Publication of such third-party
material is merely a recommendation and expression of the author’s own opinion of that
material.


This book is a copyright ©2018 by Troy Fabien with all rights reserved. It is illegal to
redistribute, copy, or create derivative works from this book in whole or in parts. No part
may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form whatsoever without the written
expressed and signed permission from the author.

Table of Contents



Preface ...................................................................................................................................................... 5


Introduction .......................................................................................................................................... 11

Chapter 1 History of Bikram/Hot Yoga ....................................................................................... 17


Chapter 2 The Sweet Science of Harnessing the Energy Within ......................................... 21


Chapter 3 Unlocking & Revealing The Yoga Brain................................................................... 26

Chapter 4 The Medicine of Hot yoga vs. The Toxicity of Big Pharma ................................ 39


Chapter 5 Losing Weight & Derailing the Train to Obesity Land ....................................... 63


Chapter 6 Sweat-Smile-Repeat: Your Sweat, Your Skin, & Your Immune System ........ 70

Chapter 7 Hot yoga: The Ferrari That is Your Metabolism ................................................... 94


Chapter 8 The Mind-Gut & Influencing Healthy Digestion ................................................... 99


Chapter 9 Improving Cardio-Respiratory Health: Expelling the Lion’s Breath ......... 107

Chapter 10 Flexibility & The Positive Impact on the Body’s Joints ................................ 113


Chapter 11 Why Fitness, Hot yoga, & Good Posture Go Hand in Hand .......................... 125


Chapter 12 Make Hydration Your Priority .............................................................................. 140


Chapter 13 The 26 Foundational Postures of Bikram/Hot yoga ..................................... 148

Chapter 14 The Elephant in The Room: Yoga Injuries and How To Prevent It ........... 208


Chapter 15 The 10 Health & Wellness Pillars ........................................................................ 305


Chapter 16 Hygienic Etiquette & Health-Keeping Rules .................................................... 317

Chapter 17 Popular Diets Worth Exploring for Great Health ........................................... 335


Chapter 18 All Good Things… ..................................................................................................... 367


Frequently Asked Questions ........................................................................................................ 369

Index ..................................................................................................................................................... 372


Resources ............................................................................................................................................ 376

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A




Preface




When I first began my hot yoga practice back in May of 2013, I had no idea what I was in

store for. I conducted no prior research on the discipline nor did I understand its origin or
how it could impact my life. For me, it started solely out of curiosity and a desire to
positively influence my health and fitness. Like many people, I wasn't too sure where to
start, or what best fitness activity suited me, my personality, or my fitness goals. As a
somewhat shy guy, I never saw myself as someone who would actively and regularly

engage in hot yoga in a group setting. Not only because I never saw myself as a person who
carried yoga mats out of the trunk of my car, but hot yoga as a discipline wasn't a practice
that I could ever envision myself doing, let alone see it improve my overall fitness and
health. But I did, and it has.


Before I started down this road, I experimented. I tried working out on my own by joining a
“Crunch” gym and applying for a short-term membership with them to focus on strength
and conditioning. That didn't last long. Between bench presses and hip-hop dance classes, I
soon became bored and uninspired. Then I stumbled across a local yoga studio Agni Miami.

At the time, it was called Bikram Yoga but had since changed its name. Blindly signing up
for a class, not knowing what to expect from the experience, I struggled the first few times I
practiced. One of the biggest challenges aside from the executing the postures was trying to
do so in the heat. But, once I moved past my challenges and initial insecurities, I found hot

yoga to offer a fitness and health option that best suited my overall fitness, health and
lifestyle goals. I knew then that things would never be the same for me.































P R E F A C E 5

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



After slimming down from being slightly overweight and realizing how fitter, healthier and
more energetic I looked and felt after months of consistently practicing hot yoga, that I was
on to something. After hearing certain instructors chime in on some of the health benefits

afforded hot yoga practitioners, my curiosity had been peaked even further. I wanted to
research the validity of these claims being made. I wanted to prove, or dispel these
assertions made by certain instructors for my own peace of mind regarding the health
benefits surrounding this practice so that I could confidently and comfortably convey the
facts to the many instructors and practitioners who’ve committed their lives to this

practice not only in the studios that I attend, but all over the world, while dispelling the
exaggerated claims. For me, as I’m sure for many others, facts matter. And as a responsible
medical practitioner, one of the many goals of this book is to not only separate fact from
wishful thinking, but highlight and illuminate what is evidenced to be medical and scientific
revelations outlined detailing all the extraordinary values afforded all hot yoga

practitioners.

Aside from the easier arguments that could be made regarding one’s ability to increase

flexibility, muscle tone and balance practicing hot yoga, I wanted to explore and research
some of the other speculative discussions spoken of amongst practitioners such as joint
pain elimination, weight loss, improved cardio-respiratory circulation, reduced
hypertension, enhanced mood, clarity of thoughts, and much more. These claims in my
estimations could only be thoroughly investigated by meticulous research thru science and
medicine. But has scientific and medical research conducted proven or debunked any of

these assertions? To my surprise, research regarding hot yoga by medical scientist in fact
have and with some surprising results. This is what led to the inspiration of this book. This
practice found me at a time in my life when I was seeking not only a new challenge in my
life but a newer and more transformative sense of self. What it has given me in return is

priceless.

























P R E F A C E 6

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



To this day, I continually practice hot yoga and have integrated several other heat-inspired
fitness disciplines which include strength and conditioning activities, High Intensity
Interval Training (HIIT), hot Pilates and Vinyasa. But not everyone is fortunate enough to

find exercise activities they appreciate enough to practice consistently if the goal is to reach
and maintain optimal health and fitness. Whether this is due to boredom or lack of
motivation is another discussion. Every year, many of us are continuously reduced to
making stale and empty New Year's resolutions that routinely become unsustainable. What
“The Hot Reality of Hot Yoga” aims to accomplish is metaphorically place hot yoga under a

microscope to scientifically and medically unveil the curtains behind the visceral practice
and add context to some of the misconceptions associated with this moving meditation. In
addition, “The Hot Reality of Hot Yoga” is designed to give you a blueprint into this global
practice as it attempts to inspire, inform and motivate you into doing much more for your
overall well-being than you can ever imagine. Once achieved, I believe you’ll obtain a

newfound and greater appreciation for this sometimes misunderstood practice.

The final goal of this book is to take what some may otherwise consider a boring subject

science and transform the topic into a compelling and interesting conversation piece for
any novice to absorb, understand and enjoy that’s not only informative, but transformative
with a call to action attached. I strongly believe that there is a synergy and harmony
between the well-spring of science, mind-body and spirit which are inextricably connected
and functions in unison with the natural law of the universe to nourish us with energy and
emotionally balance us while becoming in tune with our body. Each, by way of science and

medicine collectively works to reveal an underlying foundational principle as to not only
reveal who we are, but more importantly what we are capable of becoming. Furthermore,
emphasizing the many overlooked benefits neither spoken of nor readily known in
mainstream media or even amongst the yoga community that prides itself in this

rewarding practice is a priority for me.

























P R E F A C E 7

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



My motivation in undertaking the gratifying challenge of writing a book of this magnitude
is to able to give you a fresh and unique perspective to not only fitness minded individuals
and current yoga practitioners, but also to also enlighten a close minded segment of the

population reluctant to explore hot yoga for any number of reasons. Part of the role that I
hope this book plays is to open the eyes of the many closed minded individuals that would
otherwise benefit from such a practice. There seems to be a disconnect within the
mainstream think tank between what the holistic hot yoga enthusiasts believe regarding
the spiritual and physical healing that the practice provides and what the skeptic outsider

assumes who doesn’t seem to grasp what hot yoga is or represents, but more importantly,
why many of us gravitate to it. For those of us that do practice hot yoga, the validity that the
scientific and medical establishment provides regarding prevailing topics that we yogis
suspected to be true will be substantiated. This book hopes to bridge between the worlds
between the optimist and the pragmatist.


As a regular hot yoga practitioner and Christian, I recognize, respect, and appreciate the
spiritual foundation with respect to the mind-body-spirit connection that yoga was built

on, cultivating and embracing a spirit of mindfulness, self-awareness, and positivity, as
most I believe would. But even for those potential hot yoga practitioners who don’t
participate for those mental and spiritual pursuits, one can still greatly benefit from this
practice while still taking advantage of this time-tested discipline. As a medical practitioner
with a physical therapy and rehab fitness background, there is no denying the exceptional
health and fitness benefits reaped by hot yoga practitioners. This perspective will be

further explored and supported in the coming chapters by evidence published in scientific
and medical journals, with research studies conducted by professors and graduates from
prestigious universities and institutions around the world.


I must admit that my physical fitness, health and mental focus are a primary focus and
motivation in my practice. There is nothing wrong in acknowledging that your personal
motivation and reasons behind your practice will differ from person to person. But it’s
refreshing to know what the physical and health benefits are that the hot yoga practice

affords us all. Many already do, while enjoying its spiritual facets. However, if I could
emphasize and highlight its fitness and health benefits to a broader audience of readers, it
could not only expand its appeal, but also make for a more compelling case to explore and
possibly make hot yoga a part of people’s health and fitness routine of choice.











P R E F A C E 8

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



Another aim of this book is to present to non-yoga participants that hot yoga is in fact a
viable practice that they can comfortably participate in for the many other reasons that will
be carefully outlined in the forthcoming chapters. In addition, the yoga family in general is

a welcoming community with no judgments. Additionally, hot yoga practitioners come
from all walks of life, made up of a cross section of people who work as waitresses, chefs,
doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, pro athletes, engineers and all sorts of
entrepreneurs. For those of you that are on the fence about this fascinating but challenging
practice, my hope is that after reading this book, it will open your eyes to the possibilities

that potentially await you and will serve as a possible call to action.

For me, it has always been about seeing a clearer and bigger picture. I know personally
what self-doubt looks like and to question your own abilities. But I’ve also grown more

confident in the practice and have tasted success. I’ve recently completed a personal goal
involving a 45 day non-stop hot yoga challenge. I’ve been able to demonstrate to myself
that with a bit of persistence and consistency, I can achieve any goal that I set out. And this
practice can help you cultivate and achieve that mindset for you as well outside of this

practice. Optimal health, fitness, and mindfulness are all within your grasp. It all begins
with the 1 step.
st
The foundational principles of Bikram yoga and its 26 asanas (postures) and Vinyasa are

featured and discussed in detail in the later chapters of this book. This by no means
endorses these disciplines over the other popular yoga disciplines such as Hatha, Ashtanga,
or Yin Yoga. In fact, some of these disciplines are regularly practiced in 105 degree heat
induced studios to obtain heat related health benefits. It just simply reflects careful
research conducted as a hot yoga practitioner supporting and asserting clinical research

and documentation collectively gathered to present to you. The Vinyasa postures will be
highlighted in Chapter 13 to emphasize strengthening to enhance your foundational hot
yoga practice. Bikram postures of hot yoga will be the primary discipline of this book with
every hot yoga reference mentioned attributed to Bikram’s foundational postures. All of
these yoga variations mentioned are branches that all flow from the same moving

meditation tree, each generating its own harmonic energy. One of the most significant
advantages that Bikram/hot yoga offers its practitioners over other yoga disciplines is
“heat” which will be discussed and explained in further detail.


The emphasis on poses and positions may differ between instructors and studios, but the
foundational principles and poses remain the same. Take solace in the fact that whatever
studio or gym you attend, regardless of the poses and/or “experience,” the same
fundamentals are the same.



P R E F A C E 9

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



I truly believe that most people are living only 10% of their capabilities. My mission is to
empower, and infuse confidence in your life and personal goals by giving you the facts and
time tested tools, and strategies in regaining agency over your mind, body, emotion and

health and to show up for yourself. Be the gift to the world that you truly are so that you
can share your gifts and talents to the world, because the world needs you now more than
ever before.


As I invite all to explore hot yoga as the exceptional discipline that it is, I ask that you to do
so with an open mind, whatever your opinion, motivation or goals are. I can't thank Agni
Studio enough for helping guide my practice over the years, and the countless other
instructors who’ve sharpened my discipline. To the hot yoga instructors who selflessly and
positively impact lives throughout the world, I dedicate this book to you. If you’re seeking a

positive transformation to your well-being, hot yoga is truly a game changer.























































P R E F A C E 1 0

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A




Introduction












































“To Keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise, we
shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

~ Buddha





























I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 1

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



With eyes closed, visualize a stream of people casually entering what may look like a fitness
studio, gym/loft, or retail storefront with a yoga mat in one hand and a gym bag on the
opposite shoulder. The attire of choice is leggings, spandex, shorts, or some branded

apparel. They all sign into classes while either exchange pleasantries with colleagues,
associates, and/or instructor as they silently walk into class unhampered. With everyone
settled, picture your yoga instructor casually yet convincingly ushering and leading a class
full of relaxed but focused individuals, into a quiet state while directing yogis as they
undergo yoga postures all in unison. This virtuoso guides the ever- attentive yogis into an

array of guided moving meditative poses as everyone practices deep breathing techniques
while contracting various muscle groups for optimal expression. Upon completion of either
a 60-90 minute class of resembling the oceanic ebb and flow of a well-choreographed
performance of synchronized bodies effortlessly bending, stretching, reaching and holding
in a heated room of approximately 105° F. With a collective breath, the class ends with

“Namaste”. Then towels are picked up, faces are dried off, mats are rolled up from the floor,
then people go about the rest of their day. Now open your eyes. Welcome to the world of
Bikram Yoga, otherwise known as hot yoga.
















































I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 2

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



This ceremony is played out by thousands every day from morning, noon, afternoon, and
evening, all over the world. Everywhere from the metropolitan cities of New York, Los
Angeles, and Miami, to towns such as Chattanooga Tennessee, to remote villages like

Phuket Thailand or even to the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya in groups of 2 people to 50 or
more. From Tinsel town to Texas, hot yoga is a burgeoning practice that is seeing increased
attendance in studios all over the globe. Regardless of the size of the class you attend, the
postures are performed the same, but the practice is still uniquely your own. Seasoned
practitioner and hot yoga instructor Courtney Connolly says, “The practice has centered

me, made me more patient, focused and present.” So, if you're ready, let's go on this journey
together.

Are you considering a low-impact aerobic practice that offers high-impact health and

fitness results with focus, precision, and balance at its core, with little stress to the joints?
Or are you considering a high intensive fitness activity geared towards strength and
conditioning? Interested in a workout that will help you master your focus while attaining a
perfect posture? Want to discover benefits not readily found in other practices such as the

natural release beneficial hormones from various organs of your body? Do you desire to be
centered and approach everyday life with a degree of calmness while ridding yourself of all
the busy thoughts in your head? Do you seek a natural way to gaining the perfect body and
health? Are you ready to explore what all the noise is regarding this compelling practice?
Then you are primed to take the next step.


I wish a book like this were available to me when I first started on my hot yoga journey, as
sort of a “survivors guide” to all things hot yoga and health. It certainly would have made
my yoga fitness journey smoother, more informative, and much more enjoyable and would

have certainly shortened my learning curve. So here we are. Hot yoga is viewed by many
outsiders as an exclusive and cultish group of hippy renegade women and men whom are
already fit and flexible and occasionally get together to perform a secret ceremony and
their magic mat. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The hot yoga community is
very inclusive and embraces all, female, male, young, old, lesbian, straight, gay, rich or poor,

from all races and ethnicities and walks of life.

If you're a seasoned practitioner, you'll find this book to provide you with additional

insight, tips, and tools to help you improve your overall physiology, mood, health and
fitness.









I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 3

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



This book is for the novice as well as the seasoned practitioner. For the novice practitioner,
these pages will introduce you not only to the 26 postures (asanas) of Bikram/hot yoga and
prepare you for this new environment you'll be entering, but will outline steps and serve as

a guiding lighthouse for your new practice by explaining and interpreting strategies to help
you get the most from your practice. This will include in the beginning, slowly improving
your mood, decreasing your stress levels, toning your body, and better connecting you with
yourself, thus gaining you more self-awareness as you advance in your practice. And let's
face it, in this current accelerated environment; we can all use a mood adjustment. In

addition, recognize this practice as a suitable fitness regimen that can either be your
primary go-to practice, or integrate it with an existing exercise discipline or sports activity
that you regularly engage in to enhance your existing discipline. Or if you’re just trying to
generally improve your overall health alleviating a sedentary lifestyle by participating in a
low impact highly effective physical fitness activity, this practice is for you.


For the seasoned practitioner, not only will you feel validated for your commitment to the
practice. You’ll be able to incorporate best practices and integrate new strategies into your

practice and overall lifestyle while gaining a greater appreciation for your discipline
Bikram/hot yoga. My goal is to offer you fresh new insight into this beautiful yet
challenging discipline from a foundation of a better functioning and fit mind and body.
There's a saying about results; you get out what you put into it, which could be said for
many things in life. It’s no different with the practice of hot yoga.


Although hot yoga can be practiced individually or in a group setting, I strongly believe
there is a greater benefit to be obtained when practicing hot yoga within the group
dynamic, because we are social human creatures, and a group setting is primarily how this

discipline is performed. Also, other reasons vary for why group settings are the ideal
environment in practicing hot yoga including better direction and correction by a certified
yoga instructor, stronger visual cues guidance and guidance from other practitioners, as
well as increased motivation from other yogis sharing their energy and positive influence.
These interconnected dynamics assist in accelerating your hot yoga journey.


If you haven't lived under a rock for the last 20-30 years, chances are you've either:


 heard or seen yoga in some shape or form whether live, online, or on TV
 have been invited by a friend or stranger to attend a class
 have been curious, but had many questions about this intriguing exercise/workout

discipline
 dismissed the idea of ever practicing some form of yoga for whatever reason



I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 4

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



Again, I consider hot yoga a physical workout just as much as a mental and spiritual
discipline. You'll understand why in the upcoming chapters. But there is a certainly larger
psychological benefit at your disposal overlooked with the practice of hot yoga. It subtly

teaches us to be comfortable in our own skin while challenging us to be better versions of
ourselves. This practice accomplishes this without expressing it.


This once quiet and reclusive practice tucked away in the remote villages of India has
enjoyed mainstream status around the world for some time now and continues to grow in
popularity. Some may continue to view yoga participants, as rebels in society who are part
of some cultish practice wanting to break from traditional norms while throwing rotten
eggs at the status quo. I can tell you, from having practiced, mingled, and befriended many
who practice hot yoga like myself, that couldn't be further from the truth. Marketing and

sales executive Melissa Glazier who's been practicing Bikram since 2012 says “The practice
has allowed me to become more disciplined, which has not only helped me in my practice
but in all areas of my life.”


As American society continues its downward spiral into a state of unhealthiness, it can
genuinely benefit from a healthy dose of hot yoga to help reverse this dangerous course.
Viewing all the offerings in the current fitness landscape, what do you see? You see an array
of fascinating and unique experiential activities to participate in. Some are trendy, while

others have stood the test of time and scrutiny, with most, if not all promising the surest
way from everything to the healthiest heart, to the leanest and most sculpted body on
planet earth. Other themed fitness workouts boast of boosting our self-confidence, or even
promise us the roadmap to the fountain of youth. You may even see offerings from studios
or gyms promising to deliver simple fun and friendly stress-free workouts away from life's

everyday hustle and grind designed to relieve those daily stresses. Whatever your
motivation, and regardless of your fitness or flexibility level, now is the time to explore and
take a peek behind the hot yoga curtain either as a viable alternative or supplement to your
routine. You may just surprise yourself.


The combination of internally generating heat from physical activity and externally
generated heat from the studio heat pumps can potentially lead to heat exhaustion if not
self-monitored. The apparent symptoms associated with heat exhaustion are dizziness, and

in extreme cases, nausea, and fainting. It is essential that either you or the instructor
recognize these symptoms if they occur. If this means flagging your instructor, sitting, or
lying down, or even leaving the room, then don’t hesitate to do so. Otherwise, strive
forward and thrive.





I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 5

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



Although leaving the room is discouraged by some yoga studios, if it's justified, your health
is more important than studio etiquette. No one knows your body better than you do. It will
be a challenge the first time for you to remain in the room. However, you can do it. Get a

general “feel” for the studio. It is especially important to practice in a place that feels
friendly and relaxed. Like anything that is beneficial in your life, it will require some
resiliency, patience, and consistency. The advantages of obtaining your poise, focus,
balance, and concentration through the practice of various yoga postures and poses far
outweigh the risks. Adopting this perspective can boost your confidence and spirit in ways

you can only imagine, and ultimately give you the lifestyle that you desire. But before we go
into further detail, let's look at the brief history of Bikram/hot yoga practice.





























































I N T R O D U C T I O N 1 6

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A




Chapter 1 History of Bikram/Hot Yoga














































“History is formed by the people, those who have power

and those without power. Each one of us makes history.”
~ Anselm Kiefer


























H I S T O R Y O F B I K R A M / H O T Y O G A 1 7

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



Yoga as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline has its roots in India and has
a broad range of physical methods all designed to train, nourish, and strengthen the mind,
body, and spirit.


Early yoga as described in ancient Sanskrit (the early Indian spiritual language) with texts
such as the Vedas (1500 BC) and the Upanishads (500 BC) explored the practice of yoga as

a means to access the Divine and a way to join the earthly form. The Vedas, which
comprised of songs and poems, told stories of the Hindu gods while referencing yoga
techniques in Vedic ceremonies. The Upanishads focus was on philosophy, which contained
the first documented use of the term yoga. This philosophy referenced a substantial
holding back of our senses to join the supreme state of being.




























































H I S T O R Y O F B I K R A M / H O T Y O G A 1 8

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



The first heated yoga studio can be traced back to Japan in the early 1970s. At the time,
Bikram Choudhury, an Indian yoga teacher who pioneered a form of hot yoga comprising of
a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures, was teaching in Japan and was intrigued by the saunas

his students would be taking during their lunch breaks. This inspired Bikram to explore the
idea of placing heaters in his yoga room. To what degree Choudhury knew what role heat
induced yoga would or could in stimulating good health is up for speculation. Nevertheless,
comments from Bikram Choudhury can be heard stating the releasing toxins from the body
as being one of the benefits of this practice. An assertion that will be later explored in

further detail.

Those early yoga classes were heated to 28° C, 82° F to duplicate the environment of his
hometown in Calcutta, India. In Bikram’s observations, he realized that the increased

temperatures made students sweat more and stimulated them to exert themselves more in
class. As his students sweated more, their association with sweat gave them the impression
of a better workout. Eventually, over time, the temperature was increased more and more
until now, where hot yoga is practiced in an environment of 40° C, or 105° F. The overall

motivation for his system according to Bikram Choudhury came from a knee injury he
claimed to have suffered as a teenager, where European doctors believed he would never
walk again. He proved them wrong after practicing yoga for six months, thus healing
completely from said injury.


He’d since gone on to create his Bikram yoga system that has impacted many. During the
hot yoga boom of the 1980s, Hollywood California became the original home to this trendy
practice. Bikram was yogi to the rich and famous as well as the obscure individual, before
the highly publicized sexual allegations in which Bikram found himself involved in.

Nonetheless, many practitioners and studio owners continue to seek ways to continue
practicing this beloved hot yoga discipline while distancing themselves from the seemingly
brash and controversial yogi and his name by de-branding from Choudhury and referring
to their classes as hot yoga or Bikram-style yoga instead of Bikram yoga; whose star has
since gone into free fall.




















H I S T O R Y O F B I K R A M / H O T Y O G A 1 9

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



A recent Netflix documentary aired on November 7 2019 goes into the illicit details
th
highlighting the rise and fall from grace of Bikram Choudhury based on sexual allegations
made by his students at the time . In addition, the documentary asserts that Bikram stole
1
the very yoga system that he popularized from his teacher Bishnu Gosh. Reporter and
senior editorial producer for ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series took a deep dive into
Bikram’s past and met with a relative Kavya Dutta who told her that the routine that
Bikram had been attempting to copyright all these years was actually a routine her family
grew up practicing, stating that it is not his. Include the over the exaggerated and
2
unsubstantiated claims from Choudhury that Bikram yoga could cure everything from AIDS
to another disease and one could argue that you can take what he says with a grain of salt.
To be frank, I personally don’t believe that Bikram could have been aware of the since
discovered scientific and medical gems that research has unearthed regarding the role that
heat 105°F of heat 40% humidity plays with the asanas (postures) that yogis perform in

his class.

Despite this, and all the unfortunate set of circumstances surrounding Bikram Choudhury,

hot yoga continues to expand, grow, and succeed as a local and global yoga practice and
industry for many. Regardless what side of the debate you may fall on with respect to the
origin of hot yoga or Bikram himself, you will discover within the upcoming chapters
strong supporting evidence that the practice of hot yoga offers immeasurable advantages
reassuring its practitioners holistic and tangible gains from this intelligently crafted
discipline. You and I…You’ll understand why shortly.




































H I S T O R Y O F B I K R A M / H O T Y O G A 2 0

T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A




Chapter 2 The Sweet Science of Harnessing the Energy
Within















































“There are in fact two things, science, and opinion; the
former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.”

~Hippocrates






















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There is something transformative about immersing yourself in a heat induced
environment incorporating stretching, strengthening, and increasing range of motion
throughout all the major joints, articulations and muscles of your body. All this is taking

place while sweating in a heated room. The scientific term for this activity is called
hyperthermic conditioning if performed passively or Active Thermal Exercise (ACT) if
it includes exercise in high temperatures, which is essentially exercising in the heat.
Hyperthermic conditioning is passive exposure to high temperatures. “Active Thermal
Exercise” includes cardiovascular (aerobic and anaerobic) strength or flexibility exercises

performed in high temperature environments as defined by The Association for Research on
Hyperthermia & Hyperthermic Conditioning (ARHHC). Although primarily associated with
3
sauna usage by athletes, competitors, fitness enthusiasts, and average individuals as a
source of thermal heat transference through convection, the term can also be applied to a
heated room, as such in hot yoga studios.


As mentioned in the previous chapter, hot yoga is regularly practiced in 105°F 40.5°C at
approximately 40% humidity. And with any level of sustained physical fitness activity, your

body's core temperature will surely increase, whether engaged in high impact aerobic
fitness such as jogging, running, circuit training and Cross Fit, or low impact anaerobic
activity such as hot yoga, spin cycling, hot Pilates, or Zumba. According to a study published
by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the relatively constant core temperature
for adults is 98.2°F/36.8°C under normal conditions with 98.6°F/37.0°C considered the
4
standard. The normal range between 96°F/35.5°C to 104°F/40.0°C accounts for significant
fluctuations influenced by our biological cycle, variations in surrounding temperature,
effects of food consumption, age factors, menstrual variations in women, and emotional
factors.


In the steady-state relationship of the human body, the heat produced by our body is
balanced by heat lost to the environment. Your body is in a continuous battle to remain
within a stable temperature range (called homeostasis) for normal health and body
function. The liver, kidneys, and brain (hypothalamus, the autonomic nervous system, and

endocrine system) help to maintain homeostasis. Without the body's ability to continually
5
reach thermal equilibrium (balance), we would experience sickness and disease. Our
body's experience of undergoing fever is the body's way of elevating the body's core
temperature to rid itself of an infection or virus until the body can return to a state of
homeostasis. Without this mechanism in place, the internal environment of our body would
go into a state of dis-ease or sickness, swinging uncontrollably like a pendulum into

extreme states of hot and/or cold, eventually weakening our immune system.




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Heat stress has been an area of much speculation as an instrument to increasing fitness,

recovery and performance in competitive sports and competition. However, more research
is being conducted into the field of hyperthermic conditioning. Dr. Rhonda Perciavalle
Patrick, a PH.D. in biomedical science, has done extensive research in the field of cancer,
nutrition and aging is leading the charge and spearheading research into the area of heat
exposure to help shed new light into this branch of science. According to Dr. Patrick's
research, hyperthermic conditioning has been shown to increase endurance and the

capacity to build muscle .
6





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In addition, a Dr. Patrick podcast goes on to mention that an increase in blood flow also
makes your muscles more productive at eliminating metabolic wastes such as lactic acid,
which in turn also helps boost muscle endurance. Her research also points out that

hyperthermic conditioning improves production of the (HGH) human growth hormone (a
peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration
in humans) and heat shock proteins: both of which lead to boosted muscle growth and
7
healing, in addition to increasing blood flow to your muscles . These fitness and medical
benefits and more related to hyperthermic conditioning will be discussed in further detail

in the next chapter.































































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With this in mind, there are some health risk factors to consider when exploring hot yoga
as a regular health and fitness discipline, which is why it’s crucial to consult a physician
prior to engaging in heat-induced activities if you have a history of auto-immune related
disorders or inflammation issues contraindicated to heat. To give an example, the National

Lymphedema Network and the Lymphedema Framework in the UK advise patients at risk
of developing lymphedema to avoid prolonged (greater than 15 minutes) exposure to heat,
particularly hot tubs and saunas and avoid placing limbs in water temperatures above
102°Fahrenheit (38.9° Celsius). The heat increases the flow of lymph fluid in your body.

Therefore, hot yoga is not recommended for anyone who has undergone lymphadenectomy
(removal of lymph nodes surgically). Without the lymph nodes to filter or remove waste
and additional fluids in the body, the increased flow of lymph fluids could result in the
uncomfortable swelling (lymphedema) of the limbs. Under normal situations, the increased
flow of lymph fluid aids the immune system and assists the body to self-repair and
recover .
8












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Chapter 3 Unlocking & Revealing The Yoga Brain














































“There are in fact two things, science, and opinion; the

former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.”
~Hippocrates























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Have you ever wondered what exactly takes place between our ears as we’re going through
the asanas (postures) of Bikram during a hot yoga session, or any other yoga practice for
that matter? Probably not, particularly during hot yoga, when you’re too busy trying to get

through the session, dealing with competing minor distractions ranging from your sweat to
you emotional state. Then as you redirect your focus towards posture self-correction,
movement, balance, and stability, you’ve added another layer of focus required for yogis to
strive towards. Our brain shares with us how we intuitively and innately feel before, during
and after hot yoga. But what does science and medicine have to say regarding the yogi’s

brain? What’s taking place within the hidden confines of the complex yogi brain? This
chapter will explore and address those questions and more, revealing answers as seen
through the lens of medical science to determine how this moving meditation of
Bikram/hot yoga and other yoga practices positively impact the yoga brain.


In recent years, researchers have made considerable advances in their knowledge of how
the brain operates. Neuroscience, (any or all of the sciences which deal with the structure
or the function of the nervous system and brain) offers us a window into the inner

workings of this complex branch of science, offering up both assurances and some
uncertainties. As a result, tremendous public interest involving this branch of science has
exploded and captured the public’s imagination. Neuroplasticity also known as brain
plasticity or neural plasticity is defined as the brain’s ability to form new connections and
change continuously throughout and individual’s life. For example, brain activity associated
with a given function can be transferred to a different location of the brain. Also, the

proportion of grey matter in the brain can change and synapses may strengthen or weaken
over time.
9

Molecular and developmental neurobiologist Moheb Costandi and author of
Neuroplasticity, explains that neuroplasticity can be induced in the human brain
continuously throughout life or during specific periods/stages of life and different types
can be both influenced on a functional or structural level. According to Costandi, functional
plasticity involves changes in the aspect of nerve cell function such as frequency of nerve

impulses. Whereas, structural plasticity involves changes in brain regions and the
formation of new neural pathways. The modern day catch phrase identified with
10
neuroplasticity is “Brain Rewiring”. Evidence of neuroplasticity can be seen in musicians.
For example, music conductors who need to be able to locate sounds more often than other
musicians or non-musicians are better at separating adjacent sound sources in their
auditory cortex with proof of increased grey matter regions to be found in musicians vs.

non-musicians which essentially is neuroplasticity.
11



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Unstimulated vs. Stimulated Brain
DK



A study published in May 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience used magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain to show that yoga protects the brain from the decay

of grey matter brain volume as we progressively age. Seasoned yoga practitioners
displayed brain volumes typical of much younger people in a given population, suggesting
that you can avert your brain from shrinking as you get older.
12

Additional research by science finds evidence that yoga shares many of the same
advantageous brain functions and structures that benefit aerobics practitioners. Increases
in the volume of the hippocampus area of the brain from yoga practice mirrors the same
effects of growth seen in aerobics exercise over a period of time says University of Illinois
Kinesiology & Community Health professor Neha Goth, who led the research with Wayne

State University psychology professor Jessica Damoiseaux. “The hippocampus is involved
13
in memory processing and is known to shrink with age” says Goth.
















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But researchers and scientists have recently been paying closer attention and examining
the yoga brain, and for good reason. It seems that their research has led them to these
fascinating results. Associate professor of psychology and neurology at Boston University

School of Medicine, reported that a brain chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric
acid) an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for control of anxiety, peaked in seasoned
yoga practitioners that executed 60 minutes of yoga postures.
14



































































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Figure 1 Source Villemure et al


(A) Whole-brain VBM regressions with frequency (hours per week) of yoga practice controlling for age.
Increased frequency of yoga practice is associated with more GM in right S1/SPL (BA 7/5) [peak x, y,
z MNI coordinates: 28, –45, 57; t(peak) = 8.17; cluster size: 172 mm , p(cluster) = 0.005], left
3,
hippocampus [–34, –16, –14; t(peak) = 6.20; cluster size: 138 mm , p(cluster) = 0.02], mid
3
precuneus/PCC (BA 7/31) [0, –37, 52; t(peak) = 6.15; cluster size: 88 mm , p(cluster) = 0.033], and
3

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right occipital cortex (BA 17) [12, –63, 12; t(peak) = 5.79; cluster size: 499 mm , p(cluster) = 0.013].
3
Results are cluster-corrected at p < 0.05 and displayed on study average brain (n = 28). SPL, superior
parietal lobule; PCC, posterior cingulate cortex. The main aspects or combination of aspects of yoga
practice contributing to each GM volume size according to the regression commonality analyses are
depicted to the left of the brains. (B) Scatterplots show the extracted mean GM values in the
significant clusters plotted against frequency of yoga practice for each yoga practitioner (arbitrary
units, a.u.). Full black circles illustrate individual yoga practitioners and fit line shows regression line
across the yoga group. Red triangle shows the mean of control values extracted from the same GM
cluster (i.e., representing zero weekly hour of yoga practice). The red triangle is not included in the
regression with GM, but shows the natural extension at 0 hour/week of yoga practice (extrapolated
from control subjects) and is displayed here to demonstrate that no yoga practice and the most yoga
practice falls onto the opposite end of the same spectrum. Displayed R-values are derived from
correlating the mean GM in each significant cluster with yoga frequency, while controlling for age
(SPSS, two-tailed p-values).
15
The amygdala, a brain structure located close to the hippocampus, in the frontal portion of
the temporal lobe, tends to be larger in yoga practitioners than in others who do not
practice yoga. The amygdala is essential for your ability to feel emotions and to perceive
them in other people 16 The prefrontal cortex, a brain structure located behind the

forehead and responsible for and essential to decision-making, planning, multitasking, and
contributory to our personality development also has been found to be larger or more
efficient in yoga practitioners then non yoga practitioners according to Jessica
Damoiseaux. The cingulate cortex, situated in the medial aspect of the cerebral cortex is
17
another component of the brain and limbic system is part of a circuit of brain structures
shown to play a key role in thought processing and emotional regulation has also been
found to be larger in yoga practitioners vs. non-yoga practitioners. Damoiseaux suspects
that enhancing emotional regulation is the key to yoga’s positive effect on the brain.

































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Dr. Rhonda Patrick goes onto state that hyperthermic conditioning has been shown to
display profound neural and endocrinological effects on the brain by releasing the
neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine which facilitate focus and attention.
Dr. Patrick also states that for men and women (more so in women) hyperthermic
conditioning increases prolactin (a hormone in the pituitary gland of the brain),
responsible for myelination (the process of forming a myelin sheath around a nerve to

allow nerve impulses to fire more quickly) which allows your brain to function faster.
18
Sort of like the outer wiring of an electric cord (sheath) encasing the copper wire (neuron)
for transmitting electricity (chemical neurotransmitter).




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To apply proper context to the role of myelin sheath, an individual diagnosed with Multiple
Sclerosis (MS) (a central nervous system disease) breaks down in the coating of the myelin
sheath, thus slowly disrupting the connection and communication of the brain and spinal

cord of the central nervous system. Thereby, highlighting the importance of myelination of
neurons in the nervous system.

































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A catch phrase that’s currently on the lips of many thought leaders capitalizing on the
current rapid growth and popularity in the field of coaching, personal development, and
medical psychiatry is the term Brain Rewiring or Rewiring Your Brain. It’s a general term
associated with the idea of transforming your current perception or situation to a more
favorable outcome by the use of your mind or thoughts. Many pharmaceuticals have even
jumped on the bandwagon by way of production and slick marketing campaigns of

noortropics or “smart drugs”, a new category of cognitive enhancing drugs or supplements,
advertised as new “brain hacks”. However, nature produces noortropics organically for
19
human consumption in the form of:


 Caffeine from cocoa plants
 L-Theanine
 Creatine
 Bacopa Monnieri
 Rhodioloa Rosea
 Ginseng

 Ginkgo Biloba



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 And more…..

Nonetheless, the term “Brain Rewiring” gets its origin in neuroplasticity and adult
neurogenesis.


Adult neurogenesis is defined as the formation of functional, mature neurons from neural
stem cells in specific brain regions in adults. In these regions, new neurons are generated

throughout life and become integrated established neuronal circuits. In essence, it’s the
20
ability of the adult brain to give rise to new nerve cells where none previously existed to
interconnect with existing nerve cells. The first of such claims was established in the early
1960’s and was met with considerable skepticism and controversy; hypothesizing that

neurons could be generated in the post natal mammalian brain.
21
However, in the 1990’s adult neurogenesis was further researched in more species,
including human and non-human primates with attention being directed towards

displaying the cell and molecular mechanisms for generating new neurons in a mature
hippocampus brain. As a result, a turn in the neurogenesis conversation surfaced with the
finding that environmental experiences such as learning, exercise, enriched environmental
stimulation, and stress could have striking effects on various aspects of adult neurogenesis.
These effects include neuron proliferation, maturation, migration, differentiation, survival
and integration.
22








































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GRAPHIC: A. KITTERMAN/SCIENCE

Professor and researcher Fred H. Gage at the Salk Institute of Biological Studies &
Laboratory of Genetics stated that a recent finding of adult neurogenesis persists into the

th
9 decade of life in the human hippocampus and that there is significant decline of
neurogenesis in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
23
















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What does this mean for us as hot yoga practitioners? Neuroscience has exhibited that hot
yoga practitioners or practitioners of any other yoga discipline regularly practiced can
immensely benefit us cognitively through the various meditative components of our yoga

practice. Additionally, science has now been able to illustrate and prove that yoga benefits
our brain health shown on MRI’s and other diagnostic tests. We can generate new neural
pathways through plasticity and neurogenesis to not only offset cognitive decline, but in
effect influence and generate new brain cells. This attribute alone can positively impact our
daily life. Fresh new brain cells means stimulating cognitive functions to power and

generate dynamic emotions and actions that will produce and transform our reality and
institute a lifestyle that we see fit for our very existence. This is a fraction of what
transpires in us during our regular practice whether we’re aware of it or not. Keep in mind:


1. Our mind (brain) creates our thoughts
2. Our thoughts create our actions
3. Our actions create our fulfillment
4. Fulfillment enriches our lives

What lies at the base of fulfillment is a healthy brain, and with a healthy functioning brain
we are able to express ourselves through our thoughts, emotions, mind, body and soul. Our
healthy brain gives us the ability to transform our lives. What are you waiting for?











































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Chapter 4 The Medicine of Hot yoga vs. The Toxicity of
Big Pharma















































“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while
nature cures the disease.” ~ Voltaire


























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In today’s modern society, we have become time-starved and convenience obsessed.
Despite technological advances, we move at such a frantic pace that in many cases, our way
of life has created scarcity of time while threatening meaningful relationships with family,

friends, colleagues and community. But more importantly, how we dispense time for
ourselves has been sacrificed in the process. As a consequence, our mental, emotional, and
more importantly physical health has suffered in the process. Inadvertently, we’ve invited
adverse symptoms into our lives such as stress, insomnia, and obesity (due to reduced
physical activity) to name a few. Add to that our unhealthy eating habits which places us at

increased risk for chronic diseases and you have a recipe for disaster. This runs in complete
opposition to the pursuit of living a healthy and fulfilling life.

But even worse, rather than turning to naturally tried, proven and time tested remedies

harvested by nature shown to relieve chronic and debilitating symptoms and diseases, or
address the root cause, we've been seduced and have succumbed to slick marketing
campaigns by pharmaceutical companies. They offer us fast relieving drugs in a bottle or
capsule to mask the symptoms of a much deeper and troubling problem. This causes us to

prolong and live with the underlying issues. Rather than seek out the root cause to properly
diagnose the underlying health concern, many of our well-intended but misguided
physicians have been academically trained to identify symptoms. Prompting prolonging the
health related chronic illnesses or dis-ease through the use of prescribed and costly drugs
and opioids have been incentivized by hospital systems. At best, these drugs and opioids
should serve as acute “stop gaps” to allow our minds and bodies to properly heal itself as

nature intended.

This mass seduction by the pharmaceutical companies have lured many of us into believing

that prescription drugs aren’t in fact just “stop gaps” in the battle to heal our bodies to
health restoration. But rather, a perpetual maintenance program to live off of with no end
in sight as many have become dependent on. In worse case scenarios, many even become
addicted to these drugs. Our reliance as a society on these over the counter or prescription
drugs has come at a hefty price to our overall health in the form of severe side effects. The

result of continual drug prescription programs have led to a cascade of toxic side effects
created by the very drug supposedly designed to manage the initial health issue. This leads
to drugs prescribed to manage and offset the toxic side effects. This has created the term
we’ve all have come to learn called “cocktail drugs”. So much for “Big Pharma” to the
rescue.









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A published Harvard University article by Donald Light, a Ph.D. in sociology from Brandeis
and a Residential Fellow at Harvard University Center for Ethics states that new
prescription drugs and opioids have a 1 in 5 chance of causing severe reactions after they
have been approved by the FDA. He also goes on to cite in the same article as well as his
book ”The Risks of Prescription Drugs” that systematic reviews of hospital charts reveal

properly prescribed drugs cause about 1.9 million hospitalizations per year. And that
another 840,000 hospitalized patients are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions
bringing the total to 2.74 million serious adverse reactions, with approximately 128,000
people dying from the drugs prescribed to them .
24

Donald Light considers prescription drugs a significant health risk, ranking 4th with stroke
as a leading cause of death. He and other colleagues have published a paper in the
prestigious Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics titled “Institutional Corruption of
Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs.” I find this to be astonishing
25
and unacceptable. According to Dr. Light, the platform that allows for such widespread
unethical and corrupt institutional behavior is based on the false premise of what he
considers “The 5 Myths & Pillars of Current Pharmaceutical policy”:




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1. Most new drugs are “life-saving” and must be rushed to patients who need them.
a. Most new drugs approved are not for life-threatening conditions. Perhaps
10% are.

b. Independent reviewers judge 90% of the new drug products as little or no
better against clinical measures of improvement of less harm. Consistent
pattern for 40 years.
c. Therefore, about 1% of new drugs would be life-saving (10% x 10% = 1%).
2. The FDA screens out unsafe and ineffective drugs. Approved drugs are safe and

effective.
a. Better than placebos means new drugs may be less effective than existing
ones. No useful evidence for prescribing or how new drugs compare to
others.
b. Since 90% of new drug products are little or no better, they cannot be safe

3. There is an epidemic of harmful side effects (with few offsetting benefits).
a. The 4 leading causes of deaths are prescription drugs. About 113,000
th
deaths just in hospitalized patients.
b. About 50 million hospitalized patients experience adverse reactions, mostly
mild, but impair performance and judgment.

c. Are a major cause of falls, accidents, and anti-social behavior in the
population.
d. Harmful side effects generate more sales.
4. The market is flooded with new drug products of little or no advantage that
consumes 80% of increased pharmaceutical costs. Harmful side effects generate

more sales.
a. A self-reinforcing syndrome: high prices, protected by government from free-
market competition, fund the development of these drugs and their costly
marketing, which generate more revenues to develop more of these drugs.
5. US prices must be high to recover $1.7 billion in R&D costs per new drug and
recover what lower prices abroad do not recoup.

a. The $1.7 billion figure is inflated from unverifiable R&D costs which
companies have strong incentives to inflate from the start. Half the “costs”
are estimated profits that companies would have made if they had not
invested in R&D for new products vital for their survival. Another half are

costs subsidized by taxpayers.
b. The USA is the primary market where drug companies raise prices each year
on last year’s model because they are protected from free market
competition.



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c. Pharmaceutical companies will make solid profits under bundled payments
that rein in high profits.
26









































But even worse, the doctors that have been entrusted to safeguard our health, through no
fault of their own, have unwittingly subscribed to the damaging ideology of chronic pain
and disease management through prescription drugs. Physicians and hospital systems,
through the efforts of governmental lobbying have been heavily recruited and manipulated
by these pharmaceutical companies to prescribe these drugs and opioids to us despite the

high probability downside risks. I find that intolerable and inexcusable. You can read more
from Dr. Donald Light’s work along with his colleagues published findings.
27

By no means am I advocating that pharmaceutical drugs do not have utility in our society.
In fact, some do. But the data and statistics suggest that many of these other drugs do more
harm than the good that they are purported to deliver to us. Prescription drugs ethically
and practically should be about healing and curing the underlying chronic diseases, or at
the very least abating sickness and disease, and not exchanging one sickness or ailment for

another.







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Fortunately, many are waking up to this sad reality and are exploring other healthier and
safer integrative options. One of these integrative systems comes in the form of functional
medicine. Many MD’s and DO’s are seeking ways to integrate this new healthcare approach

into their practice. Christen Maren, DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) says “while
conventional medicine does a great job at treating acute and emergency medical situations,
functional medicine is better suited towards chronic illnesses. The subject is delved into
further detail later in the chapter.


But more importantly, hot yoga can potentially present a more natural and healthier
alternative to the dangerous and adverse symptoms posed by pharmaceutical drugs. Hot
yoga has been shown to offset many chronic illnesses that plague the health care system
and the general public at large without any of the known side effects that are associated

with prescription drugs.

Let's begin with stress. When your mind and body perceives and undergoes long and

sustained stress (emotional and/or physical strain or tension) resulting from very difficult
circumstances, your adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol (known as the stress
hormone). Stanford neuroscientist and professor of biological sciences Robert M. Sapolsky
explains that studies show that long-term stress suppresses the immune system, making
you and I more susceptible to infections and chronic diseases, and can even shut down

reproduction by causing erectile dysfunction and disrupting menstrual cycles among other
health issues.




































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T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A






















































































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T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



“Furthermore, if you're chronically stressed, all aspects of brain function become impaired.
Saposky adds, “Including to an extreme, making it harder for some neurons to survive
neurological insults”. “Additionally, neurons in the parts of the brain relating to learning,

memory, and judgment don't appear to function as well under stress. That particular piece
is what my lab has spent the last 20 years on.” What’s even worse is that oxidative stress
28
has been implicated in the response to stress according to an article entitled “Severe Life
Stress and Oxidative Stress in the Brain: From Animal models to Human Pathology.”
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals which are oxygen containing

molecules with an uneven number of electrons, and antioxidants which counteract the
damaging effects through neutralization of free radicals. Published in Geneva Switzerland
by various scientists and professors at the Department of Pathology and Immunology at the
University of Geneva Switzerland and the Department of Genetic and Laboratory Medicine
in Geneva University Hospitals, the article summarizes how severe life stress leads to

oxidative stress in the central nervous system (CNS) and how it impacts pathophysiological
outcomes. Oxidative stress is a major source of protein degradation in the human body.
29

















































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T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



Nevertheless, the connection between stress and disease is a complex topic based on
several factors, with sensitivity to stressors varying from person to person. Among the
factors that influence susceptibility to stress are genetic vulnerability, coping style, type of

personality, and social support. Not all stress has a negative net effect. Studies show that
short-term stress can boost the immune system. This is one of the perks offered by the
30
practice of hot yoga. Alternatively, chronic stress has an adverse effect to the immune
system that eventually leads to illness. Hot yoga as not only a practice, but as a modality
has been shown to offset many of the prevalent chronic illnesses that inflict the general

public without any of the side effects associated with prescription drugs.

Research by Dr. Rhonda Patrick suggests that intermittent exposure to heat stress by way
of hyperthermic conditioning activities such as sauna usage and to some extent hot yoga,

can positively impact these heat shock proteins (HSPS) with potential health benefits by
way of the following:


 Enhance endurance by way of increased blood flow to the heart and skeletal
muscles increasing plasma volume.
 Neurogenesis of brain cells and prevention of damage by HSPS directly scavenging
free radicals and supporting cellular antioxidant capacity through its effects of

maintaining glutathione.
 The more pre-conditioned your body is to intermittent heat stress, the higher your
HSP32 protein expression will be during physical activity which will conversely
protect your kidneys from the toxic myoglobin breakdown product.
 Muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) by way of heat shock proteins HSP25, HSP32

and HSP72 are activated in muscle due to heat stress exercises triggering a massive
release of human growth hormone HGH.
 Improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing muscle protein catabolism (the
breakdown of complex molecules in living organisms).

 Increasing the neurotransmitter norepinephrine which helps with focus and
attention and is responsible for our emotions and mood.
 Longevity as having been seen preliminary positive associations with variations in
31
the HSP70 gene associated with increased longevity.













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Additionally, Dr. David Gitlin, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on
Psychosomatic Medicine and clinical vice chair at Brigham and Women’s Hospital says, “We
know that high levels of cortisol are associated with depression, and we know that they can
contribute to an inflammatory state and to conditions like diabetes and heart disease.”
32
Subsequently, the FDA approves drugs to treat depression and anxiety disorders such as
Selective Serotonin & Norepinephrine Inhibitors (SNRIs) Khedezla, Pristiq, and Effexor, to
tetracyclic antidepressants such Remeron Elavil and Pamelor. These drugs produced by
these multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies are highly marketed to physicians

(and most recently the general public) in an attempt to persuade us to buy into these drugs
as a first line of medical defense, regardless of the potential downside risks to our health.





















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T H E H O T R E A L I T Y O F H O T Y O G A



However, an article published by the Harvard Medical School of Mental Health Letter on
April 2009, suggests that by reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to
modulate stress response systems. In turn decreasing physiological arousal, by reducing

heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration all while activating endorphins
and dopamine from the pituitary gland. . So, as you can see, science is acknowledging the
33
medical benefits that many practitioners have been experienced for years. Over time, this
certainly promises to be a suitable alternative to prescription drugs for sufferers and
warrants more research and scientific trials for validation.


Regularly practicing hot yoga appears to reverse the adverse health effects of stress in
other ways as well. During the exertive ebb and flow of the various postures in a heated
room, your brain releases chemical hormones called endorphins which transmit electrical

impulses throughout your nervous system. These endorphins interact with the receptors in
our brain to reduce the perception of pain, triggering a positive feeling in our body,
similarly duplicated by the drugs such as codeine, thus positively impacting our mood.


Dopamine is another hormone produced in several areas of the brain including the
substantia nigra and released by the hypothalamus and acts as a neurotransmitter (a
chemical released by nerve cells) to send signals to other nerve cells. Dopamine plays a
major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. This hormone is

commonly activated during and after completion hot yoga postures. Below is a chart
identifying additional hormones/neurotransmitters that may be triggered during and after
a session of hot yoga.


































C H A P T E R 4 T H E M E D I C I N E O F H O T Y O G A V S . T H E T O X I C I T Y O F B I G P H A R M A 5 0


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