Longing to whittle the fat from your arms? While there's no secret antidote for arm flab, hot yoga can complement an overall weight-loss routine to shrink your body -- arms included. If you're overweight, shedding pounds will also do wonders for your health. Dropping just 5 percent of your body weight can reduce your blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and help control blood sugar. The icing on the (reduced-calorie) cake? You'll likely gain energy and confidence, feeling better about yourself and your life.
About Hot Yoga
Like exercising in a sauna, hot yoga combines heat and humidity with poses, breathing techniques and meditation. Bikram may be the most famous style, but there are plenty of others. Besides the climate, the principles of hot yoga are similar to those of other styles. Expect a low-impact workout that increases strength and flexibility while helping to ease anxiety. Although not a cure for any condition, yoga can enhance efforts to lower blood pressure as well as stress-related illness.
Yoga for Arms
Hot yoga can't shrink your arms, but it sure can tone them. For maximum muscle-shaping, opt for an active class rather than a meditative one. Postures like Four-Limbed Staff Pose, Side Plank Pose, Upward-Facing Dog and Upward Salute all work your arms. Yoga also burns extra calories, and further helps with weight loss by reducing stress. The lower your anxiety, the less likely you are to binge out of frustration. Stress also encourages your body to store fat, and hot yoga can help combat this effect.
As wonderful as hot yoga is for your body, it will not single-handedly remove fat. It all comes down to how much you eat; consume 750 fewer calories than you burn in a day to drop 1 1/2 pounds every week. Put down the candy and serve yourself ample fruit and vegetable goodness along with whole-grain foods like puffed brown rice and corn tortillas and lean proteins like egg whites and salmon. In addition to yoga, perform calorie-torching cardio exercise most days of the week.
Before jumping into the fire, bone up on your hot yoga safety. You'll dehydrate more rapidly than with traditional yoga, so guzzle water before, during and after each class. Wear skin-baring clothes to let your body cool itself off, and ditch the room if you feel dizzy, nauseated, fatigued or confused. The first sign of heat exhaustion is a drastic spike in pulse rate that doesn't ebb. Stop at once if you experience this. And remember -- hot yoga isn't safe if you're pregnant or have cardiovascular disease.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.