Hot yoga is an intense form of yoga performed in a room that is heated to 105 F (40 C) and has a humidity of 40%.
The formal name for hot yoga is “Bikram yoga.” The name comes from the Indian yogi Bikram Choudhury.
Hot Yoga is a twist to traditional yoga as the practice aims to recreate the hot and humid conditions of the Indian subcontinent in comparatively colder climate.
It is a 90-minute long session consisting of a set of 26 well-controlled movements and poses.
The Hot Yoga requires lengthy and well-controlled poses, contracting and activating every major muscle group in the body. The slow and deliberate movement, stretch the muscles and joints strengthening the body.
The practice is being adopted in western countries like The United States of America and other countries in Europe.
Unlike traditional exercises in weightlifting, that adds bulk to the body, hot yoga tones and tightens the muscles giving you a leaner look. It does not add unnecessary bulk to your body and thus becomes a great alternative people who want to have lean muscle in their body.
A 90-minute long session of Hot Yoga burns up to approximately 450-475 calories. The calories burnt may vary depending upon your flexibility and the duration of the hold for each pose.
The intensity of Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga) makes it suitable only for a certain section of people, who are not vulnerable to heat-related ailments. Always consult your physician before getting started with the practice.
Here is a list of the 26 postures that constitute the practice of Hot Yoga.
It is advisable to go through the instructions and technique of each pose in a visual form. Do not try any pose without adequately warming your body up.
1. Pranayama ( Standing deep breathing)
2. Ardhachandrasana ( Half moon pose)
3. Utkatasana ( Awkward pose)
4. Garurasana (Eagle Pose)
5. Dandayamana Janushirasana (Standing head to knee)
6. Dandayamana Dhanurasana (Standing Bow pose)
7. Tuladandasana (Balancing stick)
8. Dandayamana Bhibhaktapada Paschimotthasana (standing separate leg stretching pose)
9. Trikanasana ( Triangle Pose)
10. Dandayamana Bhibhaktapada Janushirasana (Standing separate leg head to knee pose)
11. Tadasana (Tree pose)
12. Padangustasana (Toe stand)
13. Savasana (Dead body pose)
14. Pawanmuktasana (Wind removing pose)
15. Pada hasthasana (Sit up)
16. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
17. Salabhasana (Locust pose)
18. Poorna Salabhasana (Full locust pose)
19. Dhanurasana (Bow pose)
20. Supta vajrasana (Fixed firm pose)
21. Ardha Kurmasana (Half tortoise pose)
22. Ustrasana (Camel pose)
23. Sasangasana (Rabbit pose)
24. Janurshirasana and pashchimotthasana ( Head to knee pose and stretching pose)Ardha matsyendrasana (Spine twisting pose)
25. Ardha matsyendrasana (Spine twisting pose)
26. Kapalabhati in vajrasana (Blowing in firm pose)
Check out the Book on Hot Yoga Written by Bikram Chaudhary
Find Details on these 26 Hot Yoga Poses here.
Positive effects of hot yoga
1. Yoga Strengthens and tones muscles, Stretches the skeletal structure and joint and releases tension
2. Yoga enhances the flow of blood in all directions from head to toe.
3. Slow and controlled movements during Yoga improve focus, balance and strength.
4. The asanas performed during Hot Yoga stretches the bones and joints increasing body flexibility.
5. Yoga promotes Muscle contractions which help in regulating blood flow in internal organs.
6. Excessive toxins are ejected from the body by the flow of healthy oxygenated blood in the body.
7. Profuse sweating during Hot Yoga clears complexion and brings a healthy glow on your face as skin is the largest toxic ejector in the body.
8. Hot Yoga chronic ailments like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
9. Yoga promotes overall relaxation of mind, body, and soul.
10. The excess heat relaxes muscles cramps.
11. The breathing asanas practiced during Hot Yoga session are great for people suffering from clinical and psychological depression.
12. The long and controlled poses during Hot Yoga session strengthen and lengthen the spine which reduces slip disks and lower back pain.
13. Yoga is a low-impact form of workout, which doesn’t elevate heart rate to dangerously high levels.
14. Yoga improves posture and stance.
15. Yoga Increases immunity and reduces the risk of common ailments.
16. Certain poses practiced during Hot Yoga clear digestive tract and treat gastric problems
17. Releases endorphins which are the feel-good hormones of the body.
Harmful Effects of Hot Yoga
1. Dehydration is a side result of most workouts, However, it occurs at its peak during an intense hot yoga session. You are subjected to 40 degrees which can cause severe dehydration.
2. It is nauseating at the time, which can lead to dizziness. It is the same phenomena when you stand in the sun for too long. It is advisable to rest in Savasana, till the dizziness stops.
3. You might not be aware of your limits and have chances of overstretching and pulling a muscle which will cause more harm than benefit. It is very important to gradually increase your range of motion and stretch to a point where you feel mild tension. Your flexibility will gradually increase with time.
Important things to keep in mind while participating in a hot yoga session:
What you wear during a workout is highly crucial. Comfortable clothing not only makes it easy for you to follow the movements, they also increase productivity.
It is better to wear full-length yoga tights, over shorts, as the sweat makes your limbs slippery, which makes it difficult to hold certain poses like Tadasana. The longer tights will give you ample grip to get the most out of your hot yoga session.
It is advisable to wear a shirt made with moisture wicking fabric, as your will sweat a lot. Wearing cotton will make it harder for you, as the sweat will not dry and will make the shirt heavy. Wear a nice, comfortable, Low impact sports bra which does not compress your chest too much to cause difficulty in breathing or cause chaffing.
Use your personal yoga mat instead of borrowing one from your yoga studio for hygiene purposes. Invest in a thick mat of good quality rubber, which does not tear off frequently due to friction. The average thickness of your mat should be 5mm. You can buy a thicker mat if you feel the need. However, 5mm should do the trick. Do not use a bed sheet or a cane carpet.
Do not wear accessories like rings or lockets for your hot yoga session. They will cause unnecessary discomfort. Wear a bandana or a headband to prevent sweat from falling into your eyes. Remove contact lenses, if you wear them.
Wear your hair in a way that is most comfortable to you and does not restrict your movements during Yoga. DO NOT come with open hair. Tie them in a loose ponytail or a neat bun.
Carry a clean towel for every hot yoga session. Spray some deodorant or perfume on your clothes as the sweat will start creating an unpleasant odor.
Other important things
Hot Yoga can be immensely Dehydrating hence always carry a water bottle with you. It is advisable to have a sipper bottle as you can control the flux of water.
Essential Do’s and Don’ts of Hot Yoga
1. Listen to your Yoga instructor. Follow each and every instruction he/she gives. Never miss a single word.
2. Do not rush through the movements. Keep them slow and controlled.
3. Do not talk in between the Yoga class. It causes discomfort to other yogis. Remember, you are not the only one in the heated room doing the hot yoga.
4. Do not moan, groan or make uncomfortable sounds. If you feel pain, release the movement, and resume again.
5. Do not drink too much water before your Yoga class. It will make certain Yoga poses more difficult to perform. Rehydrate very few times.
6. Do not eat anything before Yoga class. Your last meal should be three hours prior to your hot yoga session.
7. Do not keep wiping the sweat through the course of the class. It is your body releasing toxins through the skin. Wipe it after your Yoga session gets over.
8. Breathe through the nose, and not the mouth. It is crucial to maintaining the right breathing pattern during Yoga.
9. Do not move unnecessarily trying to fix your mat, or hair, or clothes. Relax and enjoy the benefits of Hot Yoga.
10. Let go of all the worries that you might have in your personal and professional lives and come to class with a clear mind.
11. Don’t push too hard, to a point where you might injure yourself beyond treatment. Take your own sweet time, to reach goals. Feel the poses gradually changing your body.
So there you go! A complete guide into the wonderful world of Hot yoga. Give hot yoga a try. Give your body the tender loving care it deserves. Feel the sweat remove all the negativity from your life and fill it with the positivity of great health and well-being. Let the heat melt the fat and reveal the gorgeous body that your deserve.
Look for a hot yoga class near you and enroll yourself for a trial class.
You do not have to be perfect. You just need to have the motivation and dedication, for 90 minutes a day, one or twice a week, to enjoy an intense hot yoga session.
“The very heart of yoga is the Abhyasa- steady effort in the direction you want to go”