We’ve all heard that yogis live longer, but how does that actually work?
A regular yoga practice improves your body’s circulation. That part makes sense to us. I mean, it’s good to not have cold feet all the time, right? Well, healthy blood circulation is actually far, far more beneficial than you can imagine. This one aspect of Bikram Hot Yoga can quite literally keep you younger longer.
Strong circulation flushes toxins from your glands
When we are inactive, lactic acid builds up in our muscles. When we eat foods we know we shouldn’t, oils build up in our skin. Our lymph glands carry all kinds of toxins that can only be removed by flushing your body with various cleanses. Yoga, especially Hot Yoga, is one such cleanse.
The “Tourniquet Effect” functions by compressing your various glands and lymph nodes (“throat choked sensation”). This shuts off the blood flow to the area, creating a buildup of pressure. (Like pinching a garden hose.) When this pressure is released, perfusion occurs, flushing away toxins and replenishing your glands with fresh, healthy blood. This feels wonderful! You will feel calmer and have more energy, and you will also notice a huge improvement to your immune system because you are continually flushing out your lymphatic system. Your endocrine glands (the ones producing hormones) are also flushed out in this process, which allows healthy hormone production and quite literally makes you calmer and happier. No more worry lines!
Glands schmands…I’m stiff and sore all the time!
Well, the circulatory system doesn’t just flush out your glands. The Tourniquet Effect in Yoga class provides the same relief you experience from a really good massage because it is precisely the same process!
Every body that comes into our Hot Yoga class has an entirely different physiology, which is why the 26 Hatha postures in the Bikram Yoga sequence deal with different parts of the body systematically. Just like a full body massage, you compress your muscles and tendons one by one, breaking up the matrix of scar tissue that may have formed there. When you lie down to release this compression, it allows your circulatory system to flush away the broken up scar tissue and increase blood flow to the muscles.
We know that repetitive stress (carpal tunnel syndrome or standing for long periods each day) can cause a build up of scar tissue in your knees, wrists, pelvis area — even in your abdomen, bands of scar tissue called adhesions can form in your internal organs. Scar tissue can actually restrict blood flow to an area, causing the muscles in a given area to atrophy. Reduce the signs of aging by blasting away scar tissue and improving your circulation.
The benefits of yoga go far beyond bending and stretching. Yoga improves all the systems of your body. You’ve heard the expression, “you are what you eat?” Yoga teaches us that, “you are what you don’t eliminate.” Simply avoiding toxins is not adequate: we cannot control what we breathe in, eat or drink to the extent that we desire. You need to improve your various systems so that you can eliminate toxins from your body. Through the Tourniquet Effect, through sweating, through drinking water in class, Hot Yoga will facilitate an entirely new physiology!