Hot Yoga, also known as Bikram Yoga is a relatively new type of yoga. It was envisioned in the 70s by Bikram Choudhury and it provides a unique experience to the yogi. The temperature and humidity in the classroom are kept high, and we usually work out quite a sweat on it.
It feels surprisingly relaxing and satisfying to exercise in such an environment, and more and more people are becoming adepts of this type of yoga every day. It is normal to have doubts and concerns about it, but we are here to answer all your questions and wow you with the fantastic benefits hot yoga can bring to your life!
Yoga has benefits in itself, but doing so on a very hot studio has advantages of their own. More than 36 million people practice yoga in the United States, and the number of those who choose Bikram Yoga is growing every day. After reading through our list of benefits, we are sure that you will want to take advantage of them yourself.
Hot yoga is the only type of yoga that cannot be practiced at home, with the help of videos. Since the temperature should be carefully regulated and constantly checked, we strongly recommend you choose a good and reliable studio to practice on. Take an experimental lesson and be sure to talk to the teacher and other students to get a feel of the place. Let’s see what are the benefits of this practice and what the rage is all about!
Top 8 Benefits of Hot Yoga and What Science Says About Them
1. Fewer injuries
Have you ever heard that you should warm-up before and after doing exercise? In hot yoga, you are not skipping this step, since the heat makes your muscles warm-up and relax as soon as you enter the room.
2. Better blood flow
Bikram positions are specially chosen to increase the blood circulation to every part of your body. Better circulation means that your cells will get more oxygen, your organs will function better and overall you will have great blood flow.
3. More flexibility
The heat in the hot yoga studio means that your muscles are already warmed up when you start exercising. That means that they can stretch more and with more ease than in a regular yoga class, so you can reach more challenging positions.
That is one of the reasons that almost all the poses chosen by Bikram have such advanced options. It is important to listen to your body and be extra careful since this can lead to overstretching and you don’t want that.
4. Good for weight loss
Hot yoga burns more calories than regular yoga. On top of the ones you burn from doing exercise, the act of doing so in a heated environment makes your metabolism go faster and your heartbeat increases, which are known to encourage weight loss. Don’t forget that every journey through weight loss should always be supervised by a doctor.
5. Builds bone density
Osteoporosis is a big worry as we get older, and that is especially true for women. A study followed women who practiced Bikram yoga for five years and found that their bone density increased around the neck, hips and lower back. That happens because we are forced to support our bodies in positions we would not normally do in yoga, and that fortifies the bones a lot over the years.
6. Reduces stress
Yoga is already a great exercise to reduce stress. The mindful positions and high level of attention that it requires are a great form of meditation. Besides that, it feels like a sauna, which is a fantastic relaxation tool.
7. It nourishes the skin
Skin cells benefit greatly from water and moisture. It is not a coincidence that there are so many expensive skincare products that promise to hydrate your skin and give you a younger appearance. But what if you could do that for free? The heat in a hot yoga class opens up your pores, getting rid of toxins at the same time it lets moisture in.
Furthermore, the high oxygenation the class provides is also good for the skin, that is bathed with an extra flow of blood and oxygen that rejuvenates and clean them. To maximize this effect, it is recommended to wash your face right after class and use your usual moisturizer to lock those benefits.
8. It improves lung capacity
The breathing exercises performed in a Bikram class combined with the high temperature are exceptionally good for lung health. With the increased lung capacity, comes the increased oxygenation of the whole body, so this benefits all areas.
Hot Yoga Frequently Asked Questions – Answered
New to yoga and is considered hot yoga? Already being practiced but it’s considering a change into Bikram style? We compiled a list with the most common questions about hot yoga and the science-backed answers!
1) What is the Temperature Inside Hot Yoga Studios?
The temperature inside a studio with a hot yoga class may vary a little from place to place. The normal maximum temperature is 105 Fahrenheit (or 40.5 Celsius). On top of that, the humidity is also high on a lesson, maintained by about 40% throughout the class. Although this is indeed a high temperature, it is not above what the human body can take it, and most people do not feel too uncomfortable.
2) Is hot yoga safe?
To answer this question directly, yes. Hot yoga is not dangerous to the average person doing the class, but there are precautions we should all take before, during and after. It is not recommended to eat two hours before a class, and everyone should drink a lot of water in preparation for all the sweat they are going to do.
It is also a good idea to bring a water bottle inside the studio and place it by your mat to hydrate yourself during the practice. If you have a history of fainting in hot situations or if you are extremely unfit it is best to talk to a doctor before taking up hot yoga.
3) Does hot yoga use different poses?
Bikram yoga uses the same twenty-six positions and two breathing exercises in every class. They were envisioned to oxygenate the whole body, work out the main muscles and stretch every organ and fiber. It warms up ligaments and tendons and it uses a lot of challenging poses to twist the body. The breathing technique used is the pranayama, deep breathing through the nose with a slowly controlled exhalation.
4) How many times a week can I do hot yoga?
There are no restrictions in regards to hot yoga. You can do it as much as you want – as long as you are giving your body enough rest in between. Some people practice yoga daily and swear by its benefits – they feel more focused during the day and get their endorphins dose. Some practice three times a week and rest their muscles in between. It is important to do yoga at least two times a week regularly though, to start to see progress.
5) Can you lose weight by doing hot yoga?
Bikram yoga is one of the best yoga types for weight loss. You can lose anywhere up to 500 calories per class, depending on your level of fitness and how much effort you put into it. Since you are sweating too, hot yoga decreases swelling feelings and water retention. The heat also makes the heart beat faster and the metabolism runs quicker, which encourages calories’ burn.
6) Is hot yoga good for your skin?
Although there is no scientific evidence that hot yoga is good for the skin, there are many people who benefit from it. Like a good sauna, hot yoga opens up pores and dilates arteries, which increases the blood flow around the skin.
Better blood flow means more nutrients and oxygen are going through the skin – and that is good for it. Open pores also help your skin to get rid of toxins and dirt, and that is why it is a good idea to take a shower right after a lesson.
Hot yoga may just be the exercise you are looking for. If you want to step it up on your regular practice, Bikram is a fantastic way to do it. If you want to start yoga and dive fully in on a yoga type that gives you all the benefits yoga lessons can offer, why not try hot yoga? It is a fulfilling exercise that is good for the skin, bones, blood, muscles, stress, anxiety, and much more.
If you do have a history of diseases or issues such as heart or artery issues, diabetes, anorexia nervosa, a history of fainting, or heat intolerance you must consult a doctor beforehand. As with any exercise or change in diet, consulting with your regular doctor will only bring positive insights into your practice. Hot yoga is a safe and very effective type of yoga, and we are sure you will enjoy it!