Are you considering taking some Hot yoga classes and want to know what you are getting yourself into? Hot yoga is not for everyone, but there are a lot of benefits. You should really consider the pros and cons to see if hot yoga is right for you.
Primary Types of Hot Yoga
There are many types of Hot Yoga, and they are not all created equal. That is not to say that there is anyone that is better than the others. Some are defiantly more intense than others, and higher intensity may not be for you. Or on the contrary, the greater intensity in yoga might be exactly what you are looking for. The hot yoga schools you may be considering likely practice one of four types of hot yoga: Moksha, Bikram, Hot Power Yoga, or Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga.
Hot Moksha Yoga
You will likely enjoy the benefits of hot Moksha yoga if you are a beginner or a seasoned yogi. The temperature will be warm, but not too uncomfortable at between 92 and 98 Fahrenheit or 33 to 36 Celsius. The postures you will do in moksha yoga can be challenging, but most have beginner variations as well. You can elevate your heart rate enough through moksha yoga to get a cardiovascular workout. Although, your heart rate will not be raised as much as it would for cycling or running. Most people are challenged by the poses to sustain an elevated heart rate. The real goal and benefits you will get are strengthening, toning, and stretching your muscles more than non-hot yoga.
36 Postures Of Moksha Hot Yoga
- Adham Pranayama -- Abdominal Breath Pose
- Adho Mukha Svanasana -- Downward Facing Dog Pose
- Anuvittasana -- Backward Bend Pose
- Ardha Hanumanasana -- Runner’s Lunge Pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana -- Half Spinal Twist Pose
- Ashta Chandrāsana -- Crescent Moon Pose
- Baddha Dekasana -- Bound Airplane Pose
- Baddha Konasana -- Cobblers Pose
- Balasana -- Child’s Pose
- Bhujangasana -- Cobra Pose
- Chakrasana -- Full Wheel Pose
- Chaturanga Dandasana -- Low Plank Pose --
- Dhanurasana -- Bow Pose
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana -- Pigeon Pose Left and Right Side --
- Garudasana -- Eagle Pose
- Kumbhakasana -- High Plank Pose
- Namaskar Parsvokanasana
-- Prayer Twist Pose
- Natarajasana -- Dancer’s Pose
- Paschimottanasana -- Seated Forward Bend Pose
- Salabhasana -- Locust Pose
- Savasana -- Corpse Pose
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana -- Bridge Pose
- Sevanasana -- Threading The Needle Pose
- Supta Virasana -- Reclining Hero’s Pose
- Tadasana -- Mountain Pose
- Trikonasana -- Triangle Pose
- Upavistha Konasana -- Side Twisting Pose
- Urdhvamukha Svanasana -- Upward Facing Dog Pose
- Ustrasana -- Camel Pose
- Utkatasana -- Awkward Pose
- Utkatasana -- Powerful Pose
- Uttanasana -- Forward Bend Pose
- Virabhadrasana-I -- Warrior 1 Pose
- Virabhadrasana-II -- Warrior 2 Pose
- Virabhadrasana-II -- Wind Relieving Pose
- Vriksasana -- Tree Pose
Variety of Moksha Yoga
If you are looking for some variety in your hot yoga Moksha may be for you. Not to say that you will be doing a random set of yoga postures, unless that is what your instructor likes to do. Most likely you will have a sequence of poses for beginners, intermediate and advanced practitioners.
Hot Bikram Yoga
Bikram yoga is really HOT yoga. You will experience yoga in a room that is likely 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius. Though this is only a few degrees hotter than Moksha Yoga, you will definitely notice a big difference if you are used to Moksha temperatures. Since Moksha yoga has a room that is at or below your core body temperature you the heat that your body needs to get rid of, you are creating. With Bikram yoga, the room you are in is above your core body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Get Used to the Heat
Even if you are a seasoned yogi, when you are going to do Bikram yoga for the first time, you should allow your body to get accustomed to the heat. One way is to show up before class early and just be in the hot room and lie still.
Bikram Yoga Founder
Bikram Choudhury developed Bikram Yoga to have 26 yoga poses, including two pranayama exercises. You will perform each of the 26 poses twice during a single 90-minute session. Even if the school doesn’t call the Hot Yoga they are performing it may be Bikram Yoga. Choudhury attempted to copyright the 26 poses session done in a hot room and was unsuccessful. Though he was successful at getting yoga schools that he is not affiliated with to stop using his name.
The 26 Postures and Sequence of Bikram Yoga
- Parayma -- Standing Deep Breathing
- Ardha Chandrasana -- Half Moon Pose
- Pada Hasthasana -- Hands to Feet
- Utkatasana -- Awkward Pose
- Garurasana -- Eagle Pose
- Dandayamana Janushirasana -- Standing Head to Knee
- Dandayamana Dhanurasana -- Standing Bow Pose
- Tuladandasana -- Balancing Stick
- Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Paschimotthanasana -- Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
- Trikanasana -- Triangle Pose
- Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana -- Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose
- Tadasana -- Tree Pose
- Padangustasana -- Toe Stand
- Savasana -- Dead Body Pose
- Pavanamuktasana1 -- Wind Removing Pose
- Bhujangasana -- Cobra Pose
- Salabhasana -- Locust Pose
- Poorna Salabhasana -- Full Locust Pose
- Dhanurasana -- Bow Pose
- Supta Vajrasana -- Fixed Firm Pose
- Ardha Kurmasana -- Half Tortoise Pose
- Ustrasana -- Camel Pose
- Sasangasana -- Rabbit Pose
- Janushirasana and Paschimottanasana -- Head to Knee Pose & Stretching Pose
- Ardha Matsyendrasana -- Spine Twisting Pose
- Kapalbhati in Vajrasana -- Blowing in Firm Pose
Bikram Yoga Controversy
The copyright lawsuit is not the only controversy around Bikram Choudhury. Choudhury is a very successful yogi, and his schools have been very popular. If you are considering to go to a Bikram yoga studio, you will be practicing in a certified studio. Many people have seen huge benefits of focus and endurance by practicing Bikram yoga, and it is still very popular, despite the controversies around the founder and his success.
Hot Power Yoga
Hot power yoga encompasses many types of yoga. Unlike Moksha and Bikram yoga you won’t know what you are getting into until you check out the class. The school may consider the yoga Ashtanga Hot Yoga, which is likely based on the Ashtanga style, but this can also vary greatly. Unfortunately, we can give you much insight into what Ashtanga and other Hot Power Yogas schools might be teaching or what temperature they will have the room at, or even how long the sessions.
Things You Should Ask Before Doing Hot Power Yoga
Because Hot Power Yoga can vary from school to school, you should do your homework to make sure that the school is right for you. Many of these questions you would likely ask anyway to fit the Yoga in your schedule, like how long is each class. You should also ask, what temperature will the room be? How many poses will you be doing? You are going to get very sweaty so that you will want a shower planned after your yoga sessions as well.
Things To Expect at Your First Hot Yoga Class
Hot Power Yoga Has Variety
If you don’t want to perform the same poses at every class and want something new on occasion, then hot power yoga may be better for you. Since you may find a hot power yoga class at your local gym or yoga studios, they could teach any yoga in a heated room. Though if they use the word power, you will likely be performing the Vinyasa flow to move from posture to posture. The temperature of the room can also vary significantly anywhere from 85 degrees to 105 degrees.
Byran Kest and Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga
Byran Kest and Baron Baptiste also developed there own individual variation of hot yoga called Power Yoga. Kest and Baptiste yoga tends to be a blend of many styles, including Iyengar, Bikram, and Ashtanga. Again if you want some variety, these are good options for you, since every class will be a little different based on the instructor. You may even be encouraged to follow your desires when practicing these hot yoga. If you live on the east coast, you are likely to find Baptiste studios in the New England area. Kest Studios have located California mostly. These studios are generally on the low end of heat with a temperature of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Benefits of Power Yoga By Byran Kest
17 Hot Yoga Benefits For Your Health and Wellness
- Relieve stress. Most exercise relieves stress, and hot yoga has the additional benefit of controlled breathing. You will likely reach a greater calmness through the breathing and the postures.
- Reduce Depression. Hot Yoga also helps relieve depression. Your body can release both melatonin and serotonin, the “mood” hormone as many postures will pump your pineal gland with richly oxygenated blood. Your physiological result will be an improved emotional state.
- Reduce Arthritis. The ‘heat’ in the hot yoga class can have a significant effect on people living with arthritis, by warming the soft tissue and bones, and by increasing blood flow to the soft tissues around your joints.
- Decrease Back Pain. Many forms of yoga can significantly improve lower back strength and reduce back pain. Hot yoga has the additional benefit of increased blood flow to areas used during the postures. You can see greater improvement in stretching those lower back muscles that may be causing your pain. Additionally, many of the poses in hot yoga focuses on opening your hips your back pain also originate.
- Decrease Knee Pain. The heat in a hot Yoga class can also relax your joints and through the heat increase in blood flow to your joints. You will also improve your strength or supporting muscles in your knees to reduce twisting and bending them the wrong way.
- Reduces and Alleviates Headaches. Hot yoga has many that can relieve tension and tightness in your neck and shoulders. When you relax your neck and shoulders, your blood flow increases to your head and headaches will often decrease or go away.
- Improve Your Sleep. Several postures can increase blood flow through your pineal gland where melatonin is released. Melatonin helps your body to reach a night of deep sleep, or sleep at all if you are struggling with insomnia.
- Improve Digestion. You will find with performing regular hot yoga sessions you will begin to crave healthier food and will not crave junk food as much. Your body will desire to have nutrition and not calories. This desire for a healthier diet and the increase in blood flow through the digestion system will improve your digestive functions. Many people have also seen improvements to symptoms from digestive issues like irritable bowel disorder (IBS).
- Reduces Constipation. When you relax your central nervous system through a focus on your breathing, you will increase peristalsis in your body. Peristalsis is the process that moves food through your digestive system and passes it out of the body. Many postures will also increase blood flow to your colon to further aid your digestive process.
- Improves Poor Posture. This is true with most yoga, but hot yoga will allow you to warm your muscles more and can eliminate knots faster. You will be able to improve your posture more quickly through hot yoga than a traditional yoga class. Your muscle that supports your spine will get stronger, and you should notice a greater degree of comfort from standing and sitting up straight.
- Improves Scoliosis. All of the stretching and strengthening of your back can have a dramatic effect on your spinal curvature. Hot yoga can ease your pain and strengthen your back muscles to pull your body into alignment.
- Increase Flexibility. When your blood flow is increased into your muscles, they will become more pliable. You know this if you have ever tried to stretch cold. We usually perform a “warm-up” before we stretch to increase heat and blood flow in our muscles. Hot yoga postures, along with the heat, will improve your flexibility naturally. You may be surprised at how flexible you are in the hot yoga studio, compared to normal.
- Burns Fat. Hot Yoga can be a calorie incinerator. Many people use up to 1000 calories per session, and this is due to the increased heart rate and metabolism from both the exercise and the heat.
- Makes You Feel Good. Hot yoga, like all exercise, makes your body release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones your body releases that reduce your perception of pain and trigger positive feelings in your body. Doctors describe the function in your brain, similar to that of morphine. Hot yoga can amplify the effects of endorphins, not so much that you may feel euphoria.
- Detoxify. Many hot yoga practitioners tout the benefit of detoxifying your body through sweating. Sweating is not the natural method for detoxing your body, and you won’t release many toxins this way. However, hot yoga will increase blood flow through your digestive system and organs that do detoxify your body. When you drink a lot of water and increase blood flow to your kidneys and liver, you will be detoxing your body.
- Improve Your Complexion. Through exercise and especially hot yoga, you will increase blood flow and oxygen to your skin as well. Most of us get a little red-faced during a good workout; you may be someone who gets very flush during exercise. Don’t be concerned or embarrassed if you get flushed, and you should be excited about this improved blood flow to your face. After you cooldown and the redness goes away, you should have a great complexion.
- Promotes Mindfulness. If you allow your mind to clear and focus on your body and the postures you are performing, you will become present. Hot yoga can be very similar to meditation. You may have an easier time focusing your mind through hot yoga than through traditional meditation. The poses will require you to become present by centering your thoughts and feelings. The heat will make you to focus on your breathing, posture, and balance.
How to Prepare For Hot Yoga
Before you take your first hot yoga class, you will want to ensure you are well hydrated. You can’t drink a bunch of water right before the session and think that you will be okay. It is better to sip water throughout the day than to guzzle a lot of water all at once. Your body will also use a lot of electrolytes, and many people feel the need to take something to replenish those electrolytes. Although most of us have more than enough salt in our diet, if you don’t, you can add a little salt to your food or drink some coconut water.
Dos and Don’ts of Hot Yoga
- Consult your doctor before any new exercise program, especially hot yoga.
- Ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day before and after hot yoga.
- Be humble and do your best, know your limitations, and don’t overextend yourself.
- Bring your own yoga mat, and it is going to get sweaty.
- Wear light clothes that won’t absorb a lot of sweat. Many people will wear tiny clothes. You should wear things that make you feel comfortable.
- If you are pregnant, you should avoid hot yoga. Unless you are a consistent yoga practitioner before your pregnancy began, it is recommended that you stay out of the heated rooms.
- Avoid hot yoga and other cardiovascular activities if you have a heart condition unless specifically cleared by your doctor.
- Don’t bring children to a hot yoga class, especially before they have fully active sweat glands. Children sweat glands usually become active during puberty.
- Don’t over-stretch to avoid injury.
- Don’t eat right before or during your session.
Before You Decide On Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is not for everyone, but there are a lot of great benefits. You will definitely be challenged by hot yoga, no matter what your fitness level is. If you do decide to take some hot yoga sessions let us know what benefits you saw from hot yoga.
Check out these other great Yoga articles.