According to adherents of this style, a high temperature (85-105°F) with special humidity control creates classroom conditions that are as close as possible to the climate in India, the birthplace of yoga. It softens tissue and muscle and, consequently, increases flexibility and tensile strength. This allows for a deeper and safer merging into asana form. Hot Yoga practitioners have noticed an increase in concentration and awareness, improved internal and external balance, strengthening resistance to stress, and overall emotional enthusiasm.
However, research has refuted claims that Hot Yoga encourages significant weight loss. In fact, it burns an average of 300 calories within 90 minutes, which corresponds to energy consumption during normal walking at a moderate pace. It is also a myth that Hot Yoga removes toxins because it encourages you to sweat. It is well known that the liver and kidneys are doing almost all the work to get rid of toxins (please refer to links 1, 2, 3).
During training, the heart rate increases up to 130-180 beats a minute and the body temperature reaches 100°F. Such tough room conditions impose restrictions on practitioners suffering from cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure problems, etc. You should consult with your instructor and medical professional first.
Advice for Beginners
- Pay special attention when choosing a Hot Yoga studio. Make sure it is certified and that the instructor has sufficient expertise and good recommendations.
- You will need minimum sports clothes.
- Try to be present in the class early in order to adjust yourself and become acclimatised.
- Drink! Do it before, during and after class. A good water balance is necessary under intensive perspiration.
- A towel can be useful, but there is no need to wipe off the sweat too often. Sweating is a physiological reaction of our body protecting us from overheating and you must not interfere with this. A bandage on the forehead will be much better help in preventing it from dripping in your eyes.
- This requires a special yoga mat, which is does not become slippery when wet.
- Listen carefully to yourself! Nausea, weakness, dizziness, or imbalance during class are all signals that you need to pause.
- Do not run out into the street immediately after the lesson or take a shower. First let the body feel comfortable at room temperature.
- Also take note of how you feel after a workout: nothing should escalate into a painful condition. Be sure to consult with your instructor.
Hot Yoga was invented by Bikram Choudhury in 1970. He chose 26 postures from the classic Hatha Yoga, modified them and created a clear sequence, which is repeated during a period of 90 minutes on a special carpet. Two breathing exercises are done at the beginning and at the end of the series. There are no inverted postures. Props are not used. The room temperature should be equal to 105°F (40°C) and the humidity level should be 40%. This is the most popular Hot Yoga style; of course, the main merit belongs to its founder. Bikram Choudhury’s special leadership approach contributed to forming a kind of Bikram-community. There are already several hundred certified Bikram Yoga studios around the world.
This style provides milder conditions at 90°F (32°C), but asanas are more difficult and the lesson is more intensive and generally of a forceful character. There is no rigidly fixed sequence of asanas, but this can vary at the teacher’s discretion. Moreover, students are encouraged, for the sake of self-confidence, to trust their own intuition and body language. Baptiste Yoga is the most common in the United States; today there are above 70 affiliate studios in the country.
Moksha (Modo) Yoga
Moksha Yoga was created in 2004 in Canada, with about 70 studios. This style is called Modo in the USA, where there are about 10 studios. The room temperature is 103°F. The class begins in Savasana and runs for 60, 75 or 90 minutes, depending on the teaching, ending in Savasana as well. A specific set of asanas depends on the class and the teacher. The style’s philosophy relies on the approach of ‘availability to everyone depending on personal opportunities’. It is welcoming with its friendly atmosphere and openness in a ‘sweaty class’. Also, it emphasises an eco-friendly orientation, which is manifested even in small things like cleaning products.
This is a physically intensive practice that is internally oriented at the same time (they even borrowed from Native American rituals). Its creator, Ana T. Forrest, who overcame her own serious problems through yoga, encourages us to dive into our own depths in search of Spirit to achieve purification, healing, and strength. The practice itself should be your guide in this journey. The room temperature should be 85°F (29°C). The class begins with a breathing exercise, followed by seated postures. Next are standing asanas that increase in complexity and intensity. The complex contains both classic asanas and some specific postures designed with features of modern life; for example, asanas to combat carpel tunnel syndrome, asanas for the shoulders, the back, etc. Forrest Yoga focuses on the individual, so their website lists the teachers, rather than the studios.
These are four of the most popular Hot Yoga styles. Additional Hot Yoga styles are Tribalance, Hot 8 Yoga, Evolation, Sunstone, Yoga to the People, and Hot Barre Yoga.