Hot yoga has become a popular exercise to many people across the globe. It offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoga, such as stress reduction, improved strength, and flexibility.But, with the heat turned up, hot yoga has the ability to give your heart, lungs, and muscles an even greater, more intense workout.
So, what is hot yoga?
You may hear the terms “hot yoga” and “Bikram yoga” used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing.
Bikram yoga, developed by a yogi named Bikram Choudhury, is done in a room heated to 105°F (41°C) with about 40 percent humidity. It consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises that are done in the same order in every class. A Bikram yoga class usually lasts 90 minutes, but today many studios have adapted the series and offer one hour classes like our beloved Black Lotus Yoga in Mill Hill, London.
Hot yoga, in some studio just means they put the heat on above normal room temperature. The heat can be set to whatever the yoga instructor wants, though it’s typically between 80 and 100°F (27 and 38°C).
What are the benefits of hot yoga?
Regardless of the room temperature, both hot yoga and Bikram yoga aim to provide a physical workout, for the body and the mind- and boy does it work!
A heated environment can make the practice of yoga more challenging, but the benefits are wide and varied. We at BLY offer the best Far Infra-Red technology offered by science today and have the correct amount of humidity and air circulation per cubic meter as decribed in best Hot Yoga practices.
If done correctly and safely, hot yoga can provide the following benefits:
1. Improves flexibility
You may already know that stretching after you warm up your muscles is safer than stretching cold muscles.
By practicing yoga asanas in a room that is already heated you have the benefit of warm muscles and the heat allows you to stretch a little further and achieve a greater range of motion.
A 2013 studyTrusted Source of Bikram yoga found that after 8 weeks, yoga participants had greater flexibility in their low back, shoulders, and hamstrings than the control group.
2. Burns more calories
A 160-pound person can burn around 183 calories an hour with non heated yoga. Turning up the heat can help you burn even more calories.
According to researchers at Colorado State University, the calorie burn can be as high as 460 for men and 330 for women during a 90-minute hot yoga session.
3. Builds bone density
Supporting your weight during a yoga pose helps build bone density. This is especially important as we grow a bit older (though young at heart) as bone density declines as you age.
A 2014 study of women who participated in Bikram yoga over a 5-year period found that premenopausal women had increased bone density in their neck, hips, and lower back. This is awesome news for those of us who are trying to remain healthy and vital to much older ages as our parents.
4. Reduces stress
Many people turn to yoga as a natural way to deal with stress.
A 2018 studyTrusted Source of stressed, physically inactive adults found that a 16-week program of hot yoga significantly reduced the participants’ stress levels. Not to mention is gives you a much brighter prospcetive on life itself.
5. Eases depression
Yoga is well known as a technique to help you relax and improve your mood. According to the American Psychology Association, it may also be a helpful therapy for reducing the symptoms of depression.
Additionally, a 2017 reviewTrusted Source of 23 different studies that focused on yoga as a treatment for depression concluded that yoga is an effective way to reduce depressive symptoms. These facts are so uplifting as we are all in need of a boost now and then. And it really does just make you feel better even in the darkest time.
6. Provides a cardiovascular boost
Striking different yoga poses in high heat can give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more challenging workout than doing the same poses in a lower temperature. The heat increases your heart rate and according to a 2014 study, just one session of hot yoga is enough to get your heart pumping at the same rate as a brisk walk (3.5 miles per hour).
7. Reduces blood glucose levels
While any type of exercise can help burn energy and reduce circulating levels of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream, hot yoga may be an especially helpful tool for people at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
8. Nourishes the skin
Sweating, and a lot of it, is one of the main purposes of hot yoga.
The benefits of sweating in a warm environment is that it can improve circulation, bringing oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to skin cells. This, in turn, may help to nourish your skin from the inside.
If you’re in good health, hot yoga is generally safe. But, as with most types of exercise, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind.
Dehydration is a major concern with hot yoga. Drinking water before, during, and after a hot yoga class is essential.
Some pre-existing health conditions may make you more prone to passing out in a hot room. This includes heart disease, diabetes, arterial abnormalities, and a history of fainting.
If you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous. Just lay down on your mat till you feel able to return to the practice or once you feel cooler you will be allowed to leave the hot room. It is not reccomended to walk out into the cold straight away, due to fainting.
How to get started
If you haven’t done yoga before, you may want to try a regular yoga class first to see if the instructor and studio are a comfortable fit for you. All of our hot yoga classes are designed for beginners and the teachers have the most experience with our Hot Yoga and are hear for your benefit.
Black Lotus Yoga Offers introductory packages for people new to the studio and enables them to try a variety of class, so they can decide which types of yoga are right for them.
If you’re ready to give hot yoga a try, consider these tips to get started:
Wear lightweight, breathable fabrics that can wick away your sweat.
Bring a large towel to place over your yoga mat, which may get a little slippery once you start sweating. You can also bring an extra towel for your face and hands.
Bring a large, insulated water bottle filled with cold water that you can sip throughout your hot yoga session.
The bottom line:
Hot yoga may not be for everyone. But if you enjoy regular yoga, and want to step it up a notch, it may be just what you’re looking for.
Hot yoga offers a wide variety of benefits for both your mind and body. It can help you burn calories, build bone density, boost your cardiovascular fitness, and improve your flexibility. It may also help ease depression and reduce stress.
*As always, you should consult your GP if you have any concerns with your current health conditions.