Yoga is often perceived as a calm and soothing workout–until you add heat in the picture. What is hot yoga? What is the difference between this workout and just doing regular yoga, and are there benefits to it? Read to find out more.
Often, the image that comes to mind when having a yoga session includes lots of steady stretching, ethereal music, and sunsets. Nobody actually thinks that yoga is a heavy-duty workout that burns tons of calories–and this is why some people stay away from it.
Little do they know that there is actually what yoga teachers call “Hot Yoga”, which is a yoga session done in a warm space. Sounds interesting? There’s more to it than that.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga is a type of yoga instruction done in a heated space. Similar to regular yoga, the sessions last for 60 minutes with different poses depending on the instructor. Ideally, the classes are done in a heated room of about 95-108 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also pieces of equipment designed to add humidity within the room, up to about 40%.
Hot yoga can be done with upbeat or slow music depending on the session, with posture styles inspired by Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Flow, Anusara, as well as many others. Another popular style of yoga done in a heated space is called Bikram Yoga.
Bikram Yoga is a system that started from a pioneer named Bikram Choudhury. This system originated from the traditional Hatha Yoga techniques with environmental modifications, hence the term “Hot Yoga”. The workout regimen became popular during the early 1970s, with Bikram Choudhury as the original instructor.
Forming the system, the classes run for about 90 minutes with a series of 26 types of yoga poses and two breathing exercises. Those who plan to teach Bikram Yoga are Bikram-certified instructors who have completed nine weeks of training sessions.
What is the difference between Hot Yoga and Regular Yoga?
It may be as simple as stating the obvious, but hot yoga is a far cry from regular yoga in terms of temperature settings. Regular yoga is usually done in a cool, comfortable setting that’s as close to nature, if possible. On the other hand, hot yoga needs to be done in a specialized room that ranges from 95-108 degrees Fahrenheit. Students may notice that they sweat more and feel that the workouts are more vigorous.
It may be challenging to stay in a heated room, but it’s even more of a level-up since hot yoga is done in a highly-humid atmosphere. The rooms are equipped with humidifiers or mist equipment to make sure that there is enough moisture. Since water is a conductor of heat, the humidity also adds up to the overall room temperature.
Hot yoga can be a combination of, or inspired by several styles of systems. Many regular yoga sessions would just focus on one particular yoga style, such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa, the most popular kinds. On the other hand, Bikram Yoga is also a systemized routine that is done in a heated space.
What are the benefits of Hot Yoga?
There has been some debate sparked on the effectiveness of hot yoga versus those done in regular rooms. Some would argue that the heated room is nothing but a gimmick, but some students say otherwise. According to hot yoga instructors, here are some of the reasons why hot yoga is beneficial.
It helps increase flexibility
The concept of warming up your muscles is done to help improve the flexibility of your muscles during a workout. Exercising in a cool space can make your muscles stiff, making them prone to cramps and injury. Doing yoga routines in a heated room can help improve muscle flexibility due to the temperature.
Hot yoga can detoxify your body
Hot yoga instructors swear by the detoxifying effects of the routines. This is because you will be forced to sweat like no other type of yoga, which drains your body of fluids, and potentially, harmful toxins. Much like all other types of excrements, sweating is a way for your body to get rid of unwanted substances.
Hot yoga can help burn more calories
Some people stay away from yoga, especially those who want an extreme weight loss regimen. However, yoga can be an excellent alternative for those who struggle with joint pain or injuries. Thankfully, a typical hot yoga session can burn up to 600-1000 calories, depending on the routine type and duration. This is a good option for those who want a low-impact workout with high calorie-burning payoffs.
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Is Hot Yoga good for your skin?
Sweating more may mean that you’re excreting more toxins, but it’s actually a two-way benefit–you can also get glowing skin. Hot yoga helps your skin to create moisture, making your complexion glow during and after a good session. Yoga is also proven to help reduce stress, and we all know that stress causes hormone production imbalance and acne.
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