Why the Heat?
In Baptiste Yoga, we use heat — or tapas*— as a tool for transformation. The challenge of putting your body into a pose in a 95-degree room with sweat running into your eyes creates an environment for transformation on and off of the mat. Inside this challenge, you learn to focus— on breath, on drishti, and on getting through the moment— and this skill can be applied to your life off the mat. When life turns up the heat, yoga teaches us to focus and stay calm and strong. In life just like in practice, rewards are just on the other side of the work. Cold, lavender towels, anyone? Do the work, and the towel is coming!
Top Three Reasons We Use Heat
1 Shaping Glass, Shaping Lives
In Baptiste Yoga, we heat the room to 90–95 degrees, using the heat as a tool to get deeper into the body. Heat softens the tissues and muscles and makes the body more malleable. Have you ever seen a glassblower at work? If glass is cold you can’t reshape it. Cold glass will break under even small amounts of pressure. Yet if you apply heat to glass, you can form it and bend it and mold it into shapes. Our bodies are no different.
With the heat, you can shape your body in a way that might not seem possible at first. As your muscles loosen and your body changes, you can start to see where other things in your life are possible that you once thought couldn’t happen. Life opens up, on and off the mat. The heat melts away layers of resistance and old holding patterns, physically and energetically.
2 Detox the Old Fashioned Way
Sweat helps the body release toxins and unhealthy patterns. Native Americans have used sweat lodges for centuries as sacred practices to rid the practicer of unwanted demons—- stress, tension and dis-ease. When you add heat in the room, the results multiply. Our world is fast-paced, toxic and stressful and it is important to rinse, cleanse, detox, renew and purify if we are to stay vibrant and healthy. A heated yoga room can be uncomfortable at first, but once you access that power of purification, it feels really good. You really do get used to it!
3 Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to build a very comfortable life and avoid situations that don’t feel good, but being uncomfortable is part of growth. These laws of Transformation— Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone and Commit to Growth— help you get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Practicing under challenging conditions teach us that being uncomfortable is ok. We can survive discomfort. We can succeed under less than perfect conditions. We are bigger and stronger than our reptilian “fight or flight” response. Being able to tolerate the heat for a 60-75 minute class teaches you how to stay while you’re uncomfortable, both on and off the mat. When you stay uncomfortable with the commitment to growth, you learn to access a deep reservoir of personal, inner power that can serve you at work, in your relationships, and even in a sweaty Warrior Pose.