Yoga Report: Check all that apply
— Your yoga mat could double as a Slip and Slide
— Your hair looks like you just stepped out of the shower
— Your yoga attire can be wrung out with ease
— A stream of sweat follows you as you exit the yoga room
— You’re not sure if you’re still wet from taking a shower after class, or sweating again
— You didn’t sweat that much, you’re just sparkling and glistening
The Magic of Sweat
While some go to great lengths to avoid it, hot yogi’s seek out this magical happy juice called sweat.
And while sweating is the body’s natural air conditioner and temperature manager, there are many other benefits gained by inducing a daily sweat and optimizing the body’s sweat potential.
The liver and kidneys are the primary organs responsible for elimination and detoxification. The lungs and digestive system pitch in too. And our skin is considered a secondary avenue. So we can collaborate with this process and facilitate detoxification through regularly induced sweating.
The Dividends of Sweat: 10 Amazing Benefits (detailed here):
- Sweating heals wounds.
- Sweat acts as a vehicle for detoxification.
- Sweat glands secrete antibiotic agents to effectively kill invaders on our skin.
- Sweating keeps the kidneys flushed and acts as a natural enemy of kidney stones.
- Sweating induces endorphins to make us happy.
- Sweat cleans bacteria from our pores.
- Sweat effectively removes BPA we’ve ingested from environmental pollutants.
- Pain can be mitigated from endorphins generated through sweating.
- Regularly induced sweating anticipates and improves our sweating and evaporation rate.
- Use it or lose it — sweating keeps our glands in tip top shape.
What Your Sweat Says About You
How Fast and How Much?
How fast you break a sweat may indicate your level of fitness. Regular exposure to environmental heat or physical training improves the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. As your body learns to anticipate a rise in temperature, it will increase the size of your sweat glands and it’s ability to produce sweat sooner, as reported here.
How much sweat you leave on your mat may also indicate your fitness level. This article reasons that the fitter you are, the more sweat you will produce.
If your sweat is salty, stings your eyes, or burns in an open cut, it’s your body’s cue to increase your salt intake.
If you notice an ammonia odor while sweating, it is an indication of too much protein in your diet. Your liver normally breaks down protein and eliminates it via the kidneys. But when you have too much protein in your system, the body will use sweat as the conduit to get rid of the extra ammonia.
Your morning cup of joe not only wakes up your body, it nudges your sweat glands too. While there are many benefits of brewing up a cup, some people may be sensitive to the effects of caffeine, including increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, and sweating.
Make no mistake, there is happiness in your sweat. When you sweat, you can actually spread happiness to those around you. The implication is that sweat is a form of chemical signaling that communicates our emotions and intentions towards others. So hug your sweaty friend and they’ll lend you their happy endorphins.
P.U. — The Scent of Sweat
We have two types of sweat glands; eccrine glands and apocrine glands.
- Eccrine glands respond to elevated body temperature due to environmental heat or physical exertion.
- Apocrine glands function due to anxiety and stress.
Both are inherently odorless. Only when sweat comes in contact with bacteria found normally on the skin does it take on an odor. And guess what? It’s the stress sweat that stinks!
Quick Tip: If your preference it to apply antiperspirant before class, consider skipping it. You’re there to sweat and, as implied, antiperspirant blocks the exit doors of your body which is trying to do the job you’re asking it to do.
Keepin’ it Cool
Sweat is one of our greatest allies in the hot room. Not only does it cool the body and regulate temperature, but it is a mechanism that allows the body to adapt to heat and concede to increased flexibility and resilience. And it is one of the vehicles we use to make progress in our personal practice.
Remember that time when I wasn’t sweating?
Make Sweat Your Best Accessory
This article was contributed by Jane Hill – fierce Bikram Yogi, lover of all things natural, and my best yoga buddy. Look for more articles by Jane in the Off the Mat Chats section of Views From the Podium!