Hot Yoga for You- At a Glance
Before you dive into the sweat of Hot Yoga, you must have basic knowledge about it’s benefits, poses, classes, teachers and training centers.
Hot Yoga certainly sounds amazing and the first thing that may strike your mind is the amount of sweat that you would lose while practicing hot yoga.
Releasing the sweat is the best way of detoxification and initially, it may feel like treating yourself with a sauna spa. But of course, Hot Yoga is way much more than that.
It takes a lot of endurance, willpower, and strength to follow this style of yoga as adapting to the heat is not the virtue of all. Along with the wonderful benefits, Hot Yoga has its own set of precautions and side-effects, some of them being hypothetical and some being prejudiced. However, for the genuine ones, I am there to help you out.
So, here we go for a stroll in a steamy Hot Yoga studio, pick up your mats, everyone!
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga is any yoga that is done in a room of temperature higher than a normal room temperature. However, there are some branches of Yoga that are popularised as Hot Yoga the most famous one being Bikram Yoga, the other forms of Hot Yoga are Hot Vinyasa Yoga, Baptiste Yoga and Hot Power Yoga.
Hot Yoga is generally done in a room raised to the temperature of at least 37-degree Celsius. While Bikram Yoga is the strictest form of Hot Yoga known, the other forms are more freestyle.
All the types of Hot Yoga are derivations of Hatha Yoga that itself means force. The various poses are taken from Hatha Yoga poses that mainly focuses on building physical health.
However, Yoga in any form helps you develop physical, emotional, mental and psychological strength equally. Practising Hot Yoga gives you amazing benefits like higher stamina, increased muscular strength and weight loss.
Hot Yoga requires patience and practice like any other Yoga but with a tolerance towards heat and adaptability, the benefits are obviously worth taking the pain.
Types of Hot Yoga
As I just mentioned that Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga are often mistaken for each other and you would find a lot many sites that consider them to be synonymous.
But, Bikram Yoga is just another type of Hot Yoga amongst many others. Let’s take a look at the other forms of Yoga.
Bikram Yoga Hot Yoga
This is the most popular form of Hot Yoga, designed by Yoga Guru Bikram Choudhary. It is equally popular in both east and the west. Bikram Yoga is known to be the most disciplined form of Hot Yoga.
The temperature of the studio is generally raised up to 104-degree Fahrenheit. In this constant temperature, a yogi has to perform 26 asanas designed by the guru, including two breathing exercises.
This set of 26 hot yoga poses have to be completed within a span of 90 minutes. These 26 poses are derived from classical Hatha Yoga and are specially meant to focus on improving the strength of the spine.
Targeting the spine, these set of poses indirectly affect the nervous system of the practitioner and helps them relax and feel stress-free. The set of 26 hot yoga poses include two breathing exercises or pranayamas that are highly relaxing and are important for developing the endurance towards the unusual heat of the studio.
Bikram Yoga is known to cure critical diseases like Slip Disc, Spondylolysis, Alzheimer’s Disease and also Cancer. The major health benefits include strengthening of muscles, development of stamina, regulation of blood pressure, strengthening of the spinal cord, relief from all forms of back pain.
Baptiste Yoga Hot Yoga
Founded by Walt Baptiste and promoted by his son Baron Baptiste, Baptiste Yoga is popular in the US. It is a comparatively lenient form of Yoga. Also, the temperature is not as hot as that of a Bikram Yoga Studio.
Baptiste Yoga is derived from the teachings of Hatha Yoga but in a more flexible manner in comparison to Bikram Yoga. Unlike Bikram Yoga, it has sets of hot yoga poses for targeting different body parts.
Baptiste Yoga includes Surya Namaskar poses and the other prominent poses of Hatha Yoga. Besides physical fitness, Baptiste Yoga is popular for improving emotional health through meditation and vinyasa technique.
Baptiste Yoga focuses equally on the breathing exercises, the hot atmosphere of the studio adds to the soothing effect of meditation and leaves a yogi enriched with relaxing emotions in his mind.
Baptiste Hot Yoga is your thing if you feel that you are over-occupied with stuff that is not so important in your life and you are under continuous strife to achieve something.
Baptiste Yoga will not only give you a fit body but will also declutter your mind of unnecessary thoughts and deteriorative emotions.
Moksha Yoga Hot Yoga
Moksha Yoga is another form of Hot Yoga that focuses more on ecology. Designed by a Yoga trainer Ted Grand, Moksha Yoga follows Bikram Yoga to a certain extent.
Moksha Yoga also follows a pattern of 90 minutes with a proper set of exercise to be followed in a sequential manner. However, Moksha Yoga is not as strict as Bikram Yoga and the method of teaching, as well as temperature, can vary with the trainer.
Moksha Yoga also follows the basic teachings of Ashtanga Yoga and Hatha Yoga. The thing that differentiates Moksha Yoga with other forms of Hot Yoga is that Moksha Yoga focuses more on giving back to the ecology and the environment.
The literal meaning of Moksha is liberation, so the whole idea of Moksha Yoga is to make you feel liberated and show you the way towards your liberation.
To lead a peaceful life, you need to be sorted and liberated in your own self, so the definition of liberation is always different for different people. Moksha Yoga helps you to find yourself so that it becomes easier for you to find your path of liberation.
If you are an introvert kind of a person and you prefer learning things at a slower pace, Moksha Yoga is just the thing for you. The meditation exercise and the free flow style of practicing Yoga will help you adapt to the high temperature of the studio.
The good part of Moksha Yoga is that it expects you to love green and be closer to nature and the environment. Moksha Hot Yoga is generally preferred to be practiced in a place with humid and hot climate. It focuses more on the centralization of your thoughts and channelizing your subtle energies.
Hot Power Yoga
This type of Hot Yoga goes word by word, it is a power yoga done in a room raised to a higher temperature than normal. Power Yoga again a derivative of Hatha Yoga.
It is a special module designed to achieve a particular target that can vary from weight loss to weight gain or from toning biceps to strengthening the liver.
Power Yoga module is designed as per the need of the Yogi and Hot Power Yoga module is the same set done in a hot atmosphere. Doing Power Yoga in a hot atmosphere makes it easier for the body of the practitioner to relax his body and learn the exercise.
Also, power yoga focuses more on sweating and hot climate just works as the perfect catalyst to yield the desired results. Power Yoga is popular amongst enthusiasts who want to lose weight in a short span of time or for the people who wish to tone their bodies naturally and without the aid of mechanical equipment.
So, Hot Power Yoga is a wonderful technique when you wish to get quicker results. Hot Power Yoga is nothing really related to Bikram Yoga or any other Yoga form as such, it involves the basic yoga poses of Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga.
These Yoga poses are performed in sets in a hot room. The particular poses have to be performed repeatedly in a given period of time. This is the basic rule of Hot Power Yoga.
The sets of Yoga pose in Hot Power Yoga can vary according to the need of the practitioner and the trainer can design a customised module according to the need of the student and his expertise.
Practicing Hot Power Yoga has proven to be more effective than regular Power Yoga. Pregnant women, however, should avoid it. Power Yoga altogether is not a good option if you are pregnant but Hot Power Yoga is definitely a no.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
Well, the ultimate yoga guru BKS Iyenger said, ‘Yoga teaches us to cure what should not be endured and to endure what cannot be cured.’
How wonderful! Yoga, in any form, is a way of life, a refinement and if it is hot yoga, it comes with additional ‘warm’ benefits as well. Just take a look:
Physical Benefits of Hot Yoga
Detoxification: This is related to sweating, many believe that sweating it more than regular yoga helps you detoxify through perspiration. The benefit is however true but the medium of detoxification is not perspiration.
Our body detoxifies through the liver and the kidneys and sweat is the medium only to release extra water inside the body. So, perspiring while doing hot yoga makes you thirsty and also increases your rate of metabolism, your liver and kidneys get more work to do one of them being flushing out the toxins!
Increased metabolism: As hot yoga makes you sweat like a maniac, this results in increased rate of metabolism. Increasing the metabolism of the body helps you get rid of common gastric problems like acidity, gas, and indigestion.
Increased rate of metabolism also ensures that your stomach functions properly and you do not suffer from constipation or loose-motions.
Balanced Breathing: When you practice hot yoga, your lungs have to make extra efforts to inhale and the warm oxygen soothes your arteries inside. With the regular practice of pranayamas in hot yoga, you understand the importance of deep breathing.
Proper inhalation and complete exhalation practice makes you stable and teaches you balanced breathing. Once your breathing is balanced you automatically cure the root cause of many diseases.
Toned muscles: Doing yoga in a hot climate automatically relaxes your muscles and increases your flexibility. If your body readily adapts to the temperature then your muscles respond to the moves that you are being taught. Continuous practice of the set of exercises taught in hot yoga class definitely results in toning of muscles at a rapid speed.
Clearer skin: Yes, now you may give the direct credit to sweat. Sweating opens the pores of your skin so that it may breathe and release the dirt and deposits settled on your skin.
Immunity boost: Learning endurance and adaptivity in a hot atmosphere automatically boost up your immunity and you develop resistance towards common diseases.
Regulation of heart rate: Practicing yoga improves your blood circulation and you experience a better flow inside your body. This, in turn, relieves you from heart problems and complications developed due to issues of blood circulation or blood pressure.
Flexibility: Hot climate makes your muscles more relaxed and easy to bend and move. Result – greater flexibility and enhances the vitality also. Increase in stamina and flexibility go hand in hand and the yogi feels super-charged and ready. Being flexible also relieves you of back pain and stiffness. You can sit, stand, bend, dance, break… do whatever you want without thinking twice.
Weight loss: Yes, the most sought benefit of Hot Yoga is the weight loss. Definitely, hot yoga helps in weight loss in lesser time than regular yoga, Hot Power Yoga is extremely beneficial for quick weight loss as it is based on result-oriented approach and the trainer will design a module for you with all the weight loss asanas.
Regular practice of Hot Yoga also makes you drink more water that is again a good practice for people trying to lose weight. Drinking plenty of water, increased rate of metabolism and regulated blood pressure… all of these help in weight loss and cutting fat from the body.
Mental and Emotional Benefits of Hot Yoga
As if physical benefits are not enough to motivate you to take up Hot Yoga, let me tell you it has a plethora of subtle benefits too! These include stress-relief, mental stability, clarity of thoughts and cure from depression.
When you enter a comparatively warm room, like a sauna, it relaxes your muscles and soothes your nerves. As you proceed with the breathing exercises your mind becomes relaxed. With each movement of the exercises that follow you begin to feel a sense of balance and stability.
Once you start practicing Hot Yoga, it becomes an addiction, mastering each asana is an achievement on its own. After every class, you find yourself more confident, stable and free of all the negativity.
How to find best hot yoga classes near me?
In the world of Google, everything is just a click away! All you need to do is gather your willpower, pick up your phone and type… Hot Yoga classes near me. Leave the rest to Google.
Check out the ratings and reviews. Know all about the trainer and there you go!
Now, that most of your myths regarding Hot Yoga are busted, I will proceed with common little questions that may pop up in your head once you decide to give Hot Yoga a try. So, let’s check out some more points to consider while going for Hot Yoga…
Hot yoga for Weight Loss
Weight loss is indeed one of the benefits of Hot Yoga but opting Hot Yoga just for weight loss is not really a good idea as this yoga requires a bit of adaptability and is not for everyone.
Your body may not be adaptive towards the hot climate and your weight loss regime may fall flat if Hot Yoga backfires you. So, take up Hot Yoga when you are aware and convinced of all the benefits and pre-requisites of it.
Also, weight loss is one of the last benefits that you receive with Hot Yoga. Yoga, indeed, works on the mind and body of the practitioner but it is completely unique for each one of us. So, don’t anticipate others result to be your own. Even if you start the practice, don’t expect early results as your body may need some time to shed those extra kilos.
Hot Yoga Poses
As there are multiple forms of Hot Yoga, so are the poses associated with it. Bikram Yoga, which is the most popular form of Hot Yoga, has a particular sequence of 26 poses including two breathing exercises.
The name and sequence of the series have already been discussed in my previous article about Bikram Yoga. The rest of the Hot Yoga exercises are based on Hatha Yoga poses and designed as per the requirement of the yogi.
Each Hot Yoga trainer modulates the temperature as well as style of poses according to his comprehension. The temperature of the studio can range from 84-degree Fahrenheit up to 105-degree Fahrenheit.
The poses may however vary but below I have tried to list the common and basic poses that every Hot Yoga class follows, take a look:
Hot Yoga Breathing poses
- Hot Yoga Dhyana Mudra
- Sit in the cross-legged position (sukhasana) on your mat.
- Place your wrist on your knees with palms facing upwards.
- Touch your thumb with your index finger.
- Close your eyes and relax.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Inhale deeply and exhale.
- Repeat this for 10 times.
Practicing Dhyana Mudra helps you feel lighter, stress-free and relaxes your mind and body. It is a warm-up exercise to help your body adapt to the hot climate inside the studio. It helps you relax and gives time to body to calm down.
Practicing Dhyana Mudra is a must for beginners and those who have higher anxiety levels.
- Hot Yoga Kapal Bhati
- Sit in the cross-legged position (sukhasana) or the lotus position (padmasana) on your mat.
- Place your hands on your lap one over the other with palms facing upwards.
- Keep your palms open.
- Close your eyes and inhale deeply.
- Let the air fill in your stomach.
- Now, exhale in bits creating a pressure on your stomach.
- Do it for ten times in one breathe.
- Repeat the set for 3 times.
Kapal Bhati is the breathing exercise included in the Bikram Yoga module and is a must do for all new yogis, besides being the most effective remedy of weight loss, it is also a great exercise for lungs to pump out carbon-di-oxide entirely from the body.
Every Hot Yoga module includes Kapal Bhati as one of the breathing exercises.
Other Hot Yoga Poses
- Hot Yoga Hastapadasana
- Stretch your arms up towards the sky.
- Bend down and touch your feet.
- Try not to bend your knees while doing this.
- Stay in the position as long as possible.
- Keep your breathing constant.
- Exhale and relax.
- Hot Yoga Parvatasana
- Bend your back and touch the ground with both your palms.
- Lift your torso upwards and keep your palms on the mat.
- Make a hill-shaped structure with your body.
- Keep your head in the downwards direction.
- Stay in the position for 2 minutes.
- Exhale and relax.
- Hot Yoga Bhujangasana
- Rest your legs firmly on the mat.
- Lie down on your belly.
- Inhale and lift your chest upwards.
- Stretch the upper part of your body with the help of your arms.
- Stay in the position for 2 minutes.
- Exhale and relax.
- Hot Yoga Naukasana (Boat Pose)
- Lie on your back firmly.
- Slowly lift your legs in the upward direction.
- Try to touch your feet with your hands.
- Stretch your arms as much as possible.
- Remain in the position for 30 seconds.
- Exhale and relax.
These are a few common poses that are taught on the basic level at every Hot Yoga class. Some Hot Yoga classes include the entire Surya Namaskar, set of 12 poses, in their module.
Practising Surya Namaskar is more beneficial when done in a hot Yoga studio. The poses provide you with the needed synchronization and you learn to go with the flow.
How to find Best Hot Yoga Trainer?
When you go through various options for Hot Yoga classes near you, make sure you check out the trainer on board. Yoga in itself is a serious subject and no other than the expert should teach or train Yoga.
Hot Yoga, as an addition, is a branch of Yoga where the expert trainer is absolutely necessary as it involves yogis to perform different exercises in a hot climate.
The trainer should be perfectly trained and qualified not only to teach the proper poses but he/she should also be aware of the causalities and difficulties that can be faced by the beginners.
Trainers in Hot Yoga are generally certified and aren’t given any license before they complete their certification. Bikram Yoga studios are very particular about their trainers as they have a strict set of poses to be taught and they also have a specific script to guide the new yogis.
Hot Yoga Trainer Qualities
Apart from the certification, there are certain personal attributes a Hot Yoga trainer should possess.
- He/she should be well trained (of course).
- He/she should be considerate towards new joiners.
- He should have enough experience to design and modify the sequences according to the need and capabilities of the students.
- He should be influential and should make the students feel comfortable in the hot room.
- He should be able to tackle the common issues faced by the new yogis due to heat and stiffness.
- He should be educated enough to inspire the yogis and motivate them through his words so that they are enthusiastic towards attending the classes every day.
What is very Hot Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is sometimes known as very hot yoga because the other forms of hot yoga are mild and also the temperature of the room varies with the trainer and type of exercises that are supposed to be followed.
Bikram Yoga is considered as very hot yoga because it has a definite temperature of 105-degree Fahrenheit and it is followed worldwide wherever Bikram Yoga is practiced. No other form of Hot Yoga is practiced at temperatures higher than Bikram Yoga.
What is real Hot Yoga?
Any Hatha Yoga poses or set of exercises performed in a hot climate is real Hot Yoga. The main idea behind Hot Yoga is to change the atmosphere around the practitioner by raising the temperature. This kind of Yoga helps the body to relax and also increases the endurance and adaptability of the person.
If you are already practicing regular Yoga, start practicing it in a room with temperature slightly above the normal temperature and that would be your real Hot Yoga.
Hot Yoga Teacher Training
There are various training institutes across India that provide absolute training of Hot Yoga and certifies you to become a trained Hot Yoga teacher.
If you are a regular Yoga teacher you can go for any of the Hot Yoga studios to gain proper accreditation of becoming a Hot Yoga trainer.
Bikram Yoga vs Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga are as such synonymous but there are differences between them. As I told earlier, Bikram Yoga is the strictest form of Hot Yoga and follows unchangeable rules.
Hot Yoga, on the other hand, is more flexible and follows Vinyasa style focusing more on breathing techniques and relaxation of mind and body.
Hot Vinyasa Yoga
This style of Hot Yoga is the one that I personally like as it allows the yogi to modify his style of practice. Hot Vinyasa Yoga focuses more on breathing practices and makes sure that the yogi is following proper breathing while trying to master each pose.
Realising your subtle self is more important in Hot Vinyasa Yoga than perfecting the poses. Vinyasa Yoga offers detoxification of complete mind, body, and soul.
Hot Power Yoga
Power Yoga in itself is one of the most popular forms of Yoga and when performed in hot studio definitely adds to the perks that it brings to the body and mind of a yogi.
Hot Power Yoga is the combination of Power Yoga exercises while maintaining a hot climate in a room. Hot Power Yoga modules are flexible and can be designed according to the needs of the student.
Best Place for doing Hot Yoga
The best place for doing Hot Yoga is a proper Hot Yoga studio. This place ensures that the temperature prescribed is maintained and you are duly attended in any case of casualty or fatigue.
However, if possible you can also practice Hot Yoga at your home of you can somehow manage to regulate the temperature of the room in which you are practicing. But my recommendation will be a proper studio.
Best Hot Yoga Shorts
While practicing Hot Yoga it is extremely necessary to dress up appropriately as you are going to sweat a lot and would need perfect fabric to keep you comfortable.
Shorts made of cotton and other absorbing fabric will be of great help and try to dress as minimal as possible to avoid chances of dizziness and fatigue.
Best Hot Yoga Towel
Not only after the class to wipe the sweat, you will need a yoga towel sometimes in addition to your yoga mat. Due to excessive sweating your yoga mat may turn slippery and chances of an accident might increase.
It is recommended that you use good quality yoga towel to accompany with your mat so that when it feels slippery you may just lay the towel down and continue the practice without fearing the sweat anymore.
Best Hot Yoga Mat
The yoga mat that you chose must be receptive towards heat and should be of good quality. It should be made of fabric that doesn’t lose its elasticity when subjected to variations in temperature.
The mat should be absorbing and should not become slippery when you sweat. Try using a cool coloured mat like blue, violet or green. As the room will be already hot, vibrant colours like red, yellow or orange may irritate you when the temperature rises.
Best Hot Yoga Clothes
The best Hot Yoga clothes are no clothes at all! Yes, you read it right. Try wearing minimal clothes to your Hot Yoga studio. The lesser the better as you will sweat extensively, the clothes will eventually hurt you. So, the best recommendation is to wear minimal clothes during your Hot Yoga practice.
Ladies and Gentlemen, pick up your mats and gear up your bodies for another wonderful experience of this ‘steamy and sweaty’ branch of Yoga. Do share your experiences with us! All the best!