We’ve done our fair share of hot Yoga and it’s safe to say that it’s for people with a preference for being a hot, sweaty mess. Not everyone is going to like hot yoga, we certainly don’t!
However, you’ve asked the questions: what is hot Yoga? How does Yoga work? And so, we’re here to provide you with the answers!
When was Hot Yoga invented?
There are many types of hot Yoga, however the first style that was ever described as hot Yoga was by Bikram Choudhury. His style was inspired from traditional Hatha Yoga techniques which he started in a basement in San Francisco in 1973.
When travelling to Japan, he increased the temperatures of the hot Yoga studios to feel more like the heat of India (where Yoga originated). The Bikram sequence goes for 90 minutes.
Bikram became a world empire by the mid 2000s, however, filed for bankruptcy in 2017. If you haven’t seen the documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator, watch it for an insight into this strange and quite awful world. The founder himself is facing assault allegations.
If you ever wondered why your local Bikram Yoga Studio changed their name to Hot Yoga Classes this would be why.
What is Hot Yoga and what are the benefits?
Basically, hot Yoga can be defined as doing yoga in a hot room. Simple, huh?!
The high temperature of up to 105 degrees fahrenheit (or 40 degrees celsius) creates a Yoga class where you instantly feel warm.
Therefore, it is said that this kind of Yoga session increases flexibility more efficiently, increases your heart rate to boost your cardiac health (and yes, can aid weight loss, and burn calories like most exercise does) and increase your range of motion.
Some claim that one of the other benefit of hot Yoga is that it reduces stress, (many medically reviewed papers agree), however, when we practised hot Yoga, it felt like it added stress. The heated room can sometimes be unbearable and for some can cause the opposite effect, anxiety.
I (Carla) can remember a class in Bali, it was so hot and muggy outside and then the Yoga studio itself was also heated!
Everyone was sweating as if they’d just got out of the shower and water was dripping off. The Yoga instructor was literally slipping on his own sweat! It was kind of gross (and yes, this was definitely pre-covid days).
Who should do Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga is a form of exercise that we wouldn’t recommend to someone just starting Yoga, or someone who is looking for a more balanced and accessible way of movement. Also, if you are pregnant or have blood pressure issues, this way of practicing yoga is not for you.
It can be expensive to attend these studios ($20-$40 a class!) and as we mentioned, it really only suits some people.
When I (Carla) asked one of my Yoga teachers about the hot Yoga practice, she mentioned that the practice of hot Yoga forces it to be done in the opposite way of tradition.
Traditionally, the Yoga practitioner is guided to create heat from within, which then in turn creates inner and outer transformation. So with regular Yoga, the heat created within is made by performing the breathing exercises and the Yoga poses in a sequential way.
Hot Yoga sessions on the other hand, puts the Yogi in a hot room, working from the outside in.
For us, a Yoga practice is about listening to your body. It’s about creating a pocket of time in your day where it’s just you, your breath, your mat and your Yoga instructor.
A chance for you to go inward, to practice presence and increase your self awareness.
We know that many people think exercise is purely to lose weight but we hope as you begin your Yoga practice, you start to realise there is so much more to exercise than this. That instead, it can be a way to practice self acceptance of your amazing body, that exercise can be a celebration of what your body can do.
How to begin your Yoga practice
As we mentioned, hot Yoga wouldn’t be the best place to begin your Yoga practice. Perhaps just try one class and see if it’s for you. It really is a preferential practice.
We know that one of the reasons our Members love our Online Studio so much is because of how easy and accessible we make exercise.
Something that was once hard to fit into their days, suddenly is something they look forward to.
Making exercise fit in with YOUR life is one of the most important things you can do to create a consistent exercise practice.
If your exercise and movement always feels like a drag, or you’re always rushing to make the 5pm class, or you simply don’t feel good doing it, of course it’s going to feel difficult to get results.
But exercise doesn’t have to be this way, we have been conditioned to believe that we need to be slogging on the treadmill or sprinting up hills to feel any results from our exercise, this simply is not true.
We suggest starting your Yoga practice at home, with an instructor to guide you. Our online classes range from 10-30 minutes which means you can fit them into your day, or stack them to create a longer workout, allowing you to receive all of the health benefits of Yoga.
Emma + Carla