Hot yoga helps you de-stress while also giving you a hard workout and making you stronger and more flexible. Yoga helps you unwind, focus on your breathing, and connect your movement and breath through a variety of poses. In some yoga classes, you can get a more intense workout in a heated studio.
A hot room makes you feel like you’re in a sauna, helping you relax and unwind at the same time. Similar to non-heated yoga, you can improve your strength and flexibility while working out your lungs in the heat.
The terms “hot yoga” and “Bikram yoga” are often used interchangeably, but this is not entirely accurate. Bikram yoga is a form of yoga that consists of 26 poses that are repeated throughout a class and typically lasts no longer than 90 minutes.
The temperature in the room is 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius), and types typically go more quietly because there is no music or chanting.
The term “hot yoga” refers to classes in which the room is heated to temperatures between 80 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (26 and 38 degrees Celsius).
Different poses may also be included, depending on the studio and instructor. Hot yoga, in contrast to Bikram, frequently includes music. The heat of hot yoga not only makes the practice more difficult but also has the potential to benefit of hot yoga one’s mental and physical health.
Stretching while your muscles are warm like in hot yoga, improves your muscles’ flexibility and increases your joint range of motion. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in March 2013, after eight weeks of Bikram yoga, participants’ shoulders, lower back, and hamstrings were more flexible than the control group.
Flexibility makes it easier to do certain yoga poses, especially those that require a lot of deep stretching. Additionally, the benefits of hot yoga help you build muscle: Participants in the same study also increased their deadlifting capacity.
Increased Capacity of the Lungs
Yoga trains the lungs to retain more air by focusing on breathing techniques and mindfulness. Breathing deeply regularly increases lung capacity, which decreases with age and allows more oxygen to enter the bloodstream.
Pranayama is a specific type of yoga breathing exercise that focuses on keeping your breath under control for a set amount of time. It teaches you to take in more oxygen by breathing through the clavicle, thorax, and abdominal regions.
Improved Bone Mass
As people get older, their bone density naturally falls. For instance, menopausal women can lose up to 50% of their bone mass, with roughly half of this loss occurring within the first ten years after menopause begins.
According to a study published in Scientific Research in May 2014, premenopausal individuals who practiced Bikram yoga had increased bone density in their neck, lower back, and hips over 5 years.
The study concluded that women’s osteoporosis was less severe in a heated environment because it increased circulation, respiration, and sweating.
A typical yoga class can burn anywhere from 180 to 460 calories, depending on your weight and the intensity and duration of the class.
Researchers from Colorado State University discovered that practitioners of hot yoga were at the top of that range:
During a 90-minute class, women burned approximately 330 calories, while men burned approximately 460 calories (due to their generally larger sizes).
In a hot studio, you sweat a lot more, so your body has to work harder to keep you cool and your heart has to pump more blood around. As a result, you’ll burn more calories than you would in a non-heated yoga class.
Improves Depression Symptoms
According to the American Psychological Association, both yoga and meditation can help alleviate depression symptoms.
A study published in Military Medicine in May-June 2018 found that veterans with depression who participated in six weeks of hot yoga saw an overall improvement in their mood and depression. They practiced yoga, meditation, and breathwork for 60 minutes once a week.
An eight-week course of Bikram yoga reduced depression symptoms in middle-aged women, including self-judgment, pessimism, poor quality of life, and reduced cognitive function, according to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in August 2019.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
According to a study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies in October 2013. Benefits of hot yoga for people with type 2 diabetes because it helps control blood sugar levels. Even a short-term (8-week) Bikram yoga program improved glucose tolerance in obese older adults, according to the researchers.
Aids in Stress Management
Hot Yoga encourages you to focus on yourself and become aware of the external factors that cause stress. You will begin to understand how the stillness, heat, and breathing techniques help your body and mind relax when you practice regularly.
A study published in the Journal of Mental Health in April 2017 found that a single 90-minute session of hot yoga improved mood and decreased stress levels in adults who were physically sedentary after participating in a 16-week program.
Improves Heart Health
Working out in a hot room is undoubtedly hard on your body. Your respiration, heart rate, and metabolism all increase as your muscles, heart, and lungs work harder. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in April 2019, a single session of hot yoga can increase heart rate by as much as 3.5 mph.
Improves Skin Health
Sweating more makes your blood flow better and sends more oxygen-rich blood to your skin cells, giving you a glow after yoga. Exercising can make you sweat out the signs of aging on a cellular level. Your skin can produce more collagen, be better hydrated, and sag less as a result of the positive effect.
Safety Tips for Hot Yoga
Just like with any exercise, you need to know how to stay safe and avoid injuries. For beginners, hot yoga can be overwhelming or too stuffy, so it’s important to ease into it and know what to do if you get too hot or exhausted.
Here are some pointers:
Take a sip of water both before and after class.
Focus on Your Body
Stepping out of class to get some fresh air and cool down is always an option. If you need to take a break outside the studio, yoga instructors want you to feel secure and strong.
If You Already Have Any Conditions, Talk to Your Doctor About Them
Make sure to talk to your doctor first if you have a history of fainting due to low blood pressure or a heart condition. If you’re pregnant, the same applies.