Though an ancient practice, yoga is constantly evolving. In the 1970s, a new style emerged that took the world by storm. That unique style was Bikram yoga – a sweat-inducing style consisting of two breathing exercises and 26 poses. These poses are done in the same order in every class. Bikram yoga classes typically last 90 minutes and are done in a room heated to approximately 40 degrees Celsius.
This ground-breaking yoga innovation became a global phenom and raked in millions of dollars for its founder Bikram Choudhury. Unfortunately, yogi Choudhury’s empire came crashing down in 2017 due to a series of lawsuits against him. As he fled the US for Mexico, Bikram yoga started to plummet in popularity.
However, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of the method behind Bikram yoga. That method is called hot yoga. It involves doing yoga in a room heated above room temperature, usually between 27 and 38 degrees Celsius. Although hot yoga and Bikram yoga are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.
Unlike Bikram yoga, hot yoga classes often incorporate numerous poses and are not limited to 90 minutes. Furthermore, hot yoga classes are not as serious and quiet as Bikram. They often include music, visual presentations, and interaction between class attendees.
5 Benefits of Hot Yoga
Now that you are more familiar with hot yoga and what it entails, here are the 5 main benefits:
1. Enhanced Bone Mass
a scientific study shows that hot yoga increases the bone density in your lower back, neck, and hips. The research concluded that doing yoga in a heated environment improves blood circulation, perspiration, as wells respiration. Ultimately leading to a reduction in osteoporosis effects.
2. Improved Stress Management
The stillness, breathing techniques, and room temperature used during hot yoga classes allow your mind and body to relax thus helping you manage stress better. In 2017, a medical study showed that hot yoga decreases stress levels and improves mood after just one 90-minute session.
3. Reduced Depression Symptoms
The American Psychological Association asserts that hot yoga reduces depression symptoms. Various studies identified the same benefit for military veterans and middle-aged women who did hot yoga for about 6 to 8 weeks.
4. Increased Flexibility
Research shows that doing hot yoga for approximately 8 weeks increases flexibility in your shoulders, hamstrings, and lower back. This is highly attributed to the stretching of the muscles in hot/warm weather.
5. Enhanced Heart Health
Practising hot yoga pushes your lungs, muscles, and heart to work harder. This leads to an improved heart rate, respiration, and metabolism. Research shows that a single hot yoga session gets your heart pumping at the same rate as a brisk walk. Great for reducing heart decease.
Top 3 Hot Yoga Studios to Visit
1. Hotpod Yoga Pretoria in Gauteng, South Africa
If you want to experience hot yoga in South Africa then you should do it at the best facility in the country – Hotpod Yoga Pretoria.
Based in Lynnwood, this European franchise offers hot yoga classes in an inflated studio which is heated at 37 degrees. The studio offers vinyasa flow classes, a type of yoga that uses smoothly transitioning poses perfect for beginners. The studio also uses soundscapes, glowing lights, and aromas to heighten your experience.
Are you looking for more yoga studios in South Africa? Here are the top 3.
2. Breeze Yoga in Beckenham, England
Are you in England and wish to experience hot yoga? We’ve got you covered. Breeze Yoga offers hot vinyasa flow classes that incorporate vigorous movement and poses that are connected through breathwork. But do not be intimidated, the pace of the classes differs depending on your level. When you do a hot yoga class at Breeze, expert instructors will help you improve your mental focus and flexibility while strengthening your upper body. A single class typically lasts between 45 and 75 minutes and is available at an affordable price.
3. Cleveland Yoga in Ohio, USA
For those who want to experience hot yoga in the United States, we recommend visiting Cleveland Yoga. The studio offers two class venues with different heat levels. The first venue is heated to just over 30 degrees Celsius and it is used for power yoga classes. The second venue is heated to 24 degrees Celsius and is used for power vinyasa, slow flow, and basic power yoga classes. Cleveland Yoga is perfect for you because it accommodates whatever level you might be on. A single class at Cleveland typically lasts an hour.
Before You Go
Now that you know all about hot yoga, its benefits, and some of the best places to experience it, you can book your first class! Don’t forget to bring a yoga mat and a water bottle to avoid dehydration. Some facilities have changing rooms so you can also bring some fresh clothes to change into after your session.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions such as low blood pressure or heart disease, make sure you consult your doctor before booking a class. Have a wonderful time!