Fitness Studio Air Quality matters, especially for hot yoga, pilates and other forms of hot exercise. Most fitness centers that incorporate some form of heated studio into their fitness programming use traditional heating that is blown in by an HV/AC system. This type of heating relies on the pumping of hot air into a room in the effort to raise the temperature of the workout environment. The problem with this is the air quality. Air blown from venting is processed and dirty. To add to the issue, when the air is blown through the vents as it is pushed out through a furnace and it is loud.
I recently took a hot yoga class from a large chain studio in Chicago. The first thing I had to work through was the small size of the rental mat…then, there was the towel that only covered about 1/2 of the mat and looked like something out of a highway motel. The instructor was good, but the cueing was difficult to follow because he was all over the room and difficult to see most of the time.
Never mind those things, though, it was the air that was a problem for me more than anything. The air was stuffy, smelly and loud as it was pumped into the room. To me this is an old school way to experience a hot exercise session. While I was taking that class, I remember thinking to myself how much I missed my infrared sauna yoga. I much prefer the more sanitized air quality from an environment that is created by radiant/infrared heat, which is much like the outside air exposed to the radiant energy of the sun. The difference between traditional convection heating and infrared heating is stark. I would rather workout with no heating noise and with clean air.
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With yoga, especially, breathing is such an important aspect of the workout. Of course, proper breathing is important for all fitness routines, but the practice of yoga places even more emphasis upon breathing techniques. To date, however, HOTWORX is the only hot yoga offering to pay close attention to the quality of the air that is actually being breathed by clients while working out, and not just the technique of how they are breathing it.
Deep breathing is important as the requirement for oxygen increases and the force of breath becomes greater with exercise. Good instruction during yoga teaches us how to relax the breathing process enabling the body to yield more energy to the actual exercise postures rather than to that of forceful breathing.
That being said, seems logical to me that yoga professionals should pay more attention to the air that is being taken in by clients during a session. When headed to your next hot yoga workout be sure to think about the quality of the hot air!