Hot yoga has been rising in popularity in recent years. It first became known through the infamous yogi Bikram Choudhury, who popularized “bikram yoga”. Hot yoga and bikram yoga are essentially similar, although many studio owners prefer to separate hot yoga as a practice. For one, students and teachers are allowed to interact during hot yoga sessions, unlike in bikram yoga.
Hot yoga is a yogic exercise that is done in a heated room. The hot and humid setting is said to be a tribute to the humid weather of India, where yoga traces its roots. Practitioners do various “asanas” or poses in a room without air conditioning, with temperatures ranging from 27 to 38 °C. Music usually accompanies hot yoga routines.
Hot yoga is a fantastic way to burn calories and eliminate toxins in the body, boost fitness, and reduce stress. Among its benefits are:
- Greater range of motion
A warm environment is deemed safer for your muscles when stretching during yoga. It makes movements more fluid and your muscles, more flexible.
- Burns double the calories than traditional yoga
Studies show that women can burn as much as 330 calories per 90-minute hot yoga session, and men about 460 calories, compared to the 183 calories that a 160-pound individual can burn during a one-hour traditional yoga routine.
- Reduced risk for osteoporosis
Research shows that doing yoga poses especially those that require weight support helps strengthen bones and increase bone density, particularly in the lower back, neck, and hips, reducing your risk for osteoporosis as you grow old.
- Effectively manages stress and depression
A study of stressed, inactive adults doing bikram yoga for 16 weeks found that it significantly reduced stress levels in participants and increased their confidence and self-efficacy.
Another study by the American Psychology Association says that yoga aids in alleviating depression.
- Healthy heart and lungs
The challenging yoga poses done during hot yoga, coupled with the high temperature of a heated room, gives your heart and lungs an extra boost. A study found that a hot yoga session pumps up your heart the same way an hour of brisk walking does.
- Keeps you away from diabetes
A 2013 pilot study in older obese adults found that hot yoga decreases blood sugar and improves glucose tolerance.
- Heat intolerant individuals are not advised to do hot yoga.
- If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, consult your doctor first.
- People with anorexia, diabetes, and heart disease must consult a physician prior to hot yoga sessions, since these conditions may predispose you to fainting.
- Make sure to let your doctor know if you have had fainting spells in the past, prone to low blood pressure, or have low blood glucose.
- Bring plenty of water and drinks that contain electrolytes. The hot and humid temperature can pose hydration challenges.
- Wear lightweight clothing that wicks away moisture easily.
- Be sure to bring your yoga mat!