Hot Yoga: Science-Based Facts about Its Health Benefits

Gisela Possetto 2021-06-06 8 min

In one of our previous articles Yoga Practice: What Benefits Does It Bring to Our Health? we explored in detail all the benefits of practicing yoga. But if you are an enthusiastic about keeping your body as fit as it can endure, then you should definitely try hot yoga. Yes! Hot yoga is a thing and quite popular, actually. If you want to take your yoga practice to a whole new level, please stick with us...

This time, we'd like to introduce you to the world of hot yoga: What is it? How did it become so popular? Does it bring benefits to our health? What does science have to say about it? What Do I need to start? We'll try to explore all of this with you! Are you ready?

1. What's Hot Yoga?

If you never heard about hot yoga, you may think that the idea of practicing yoga postures in a heated room must be a western type of workout (I did, at least...) but guess what? It's not! Actually the current hot yoga practice lays its foundations on Bikram Yoga.

This type of yoga was developed in India and it's practiced in a room very hot (around 105°F/41°C) and very humid (around 40% humidity) and it incorporates 26 different postures followed by 2 breathing techniques, always done in the same order.

Hot yoga is not exactly the same, though, in which the string of poses and breathing exercises can be different as the class environment can be pretty much dissimilar, too. In a hot yoga class you'll probably encounter a noisier environment compared to more traditional yoga classes, with workout music probably and more social interaction.

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This might be the reason, perhaps why hot yoga has become extremely popular in the last few years. It offers most of the same beneficial effects as traditional yoga but as the practice is done in a heated room, hot yoga provides your vital organs and all of your muscles a really intense workout and more benefits for your health. Let's check!

2. Benefits of Hot Yoga

No matter what the temperature of the studio or room where you do your hot yoga - this varies from one part of the world, naturally - the objective of the yoga class has to be oriented to relaxing your mind while improving your physical well being.

A hot room can make your practice significantly more demanding for your body, but if guided properly, the benefits it brings are definitely worth it:

1. Your Body Will Feel More Flexible

Flexibility is key in yoga, as you may already know. The thing is that moving your body and working with it to reach the different poses, relaxes the muscles and they become, then, more flexible. Now, stretching is doubly effective - and safer- if your body is already warm.

Imagine practicing your poses in a hot room, your postures will come out more naturally and easily. The heat in the room will allow you to pull your muscles a little bit further, which brings greater benefits! After a couple of classes you'll surely feel greater flexibility in your lower and upper back.

2. You'll Burn More Calories

If you need to loose a few pounds while keeping your body flexible and your mind quiet, then moving from traditional yoga to hot yoga may pay off! Why?

According to studies by the Colorado State University, you can burn around 400 calories an hour (on average)in a hot yoga class opposed to the 200 calories per hour that you may burn in a traditional yoga class.

woman stretching her legs

Stretching from Pexels

3. Your Stress Levels Will Be Reduced

Any type of activity that requires high levels of concentration and focus of the mind, is naturally an ally to deal with the stress of everyday life. That's actually the main reason why many people turn to yoga in the first place.

A study carried out in 2018 proved that sedentary adults could manage to reduce their stress levels after a 16-week program of hot yoga. Alongside, their whole quality of life was improved significantly, including a better organization of their time and a sense of control over themselves, their emotions and how they manage in social situations.

4. It'll Give Your Body a Cardiovascular Uplift

Trying to reach diverse yoga postures in a high heated room will provide to all your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) and to all of your muscles a much more challenging workout than a traditional yoga class done in habitual temperatures.

Scientific data has shown that just one hot yoga session already revs up your heart, respiration and metabolism to a much higher rate. Cardiovascular exercises are always beneficial to prevent heart diseases and possible strokes since they keep the veins and the arteries in perfect conditions!

5. Your Skin Will Look Healthier and Brighter

As the sweat (extra in the case of hot yoga), washes away all the toxins from your body, your circulation improves. A better circulation naturally translates into more oxygen and more nourishing blood to your cells which will definitely show on a brighter skin!

portrait photo of curly-haired woman

Healthy Skin - Lucas Macario from Pexels

What Do I Need To Start Practicing Hot Yoga?

As we said is our previous article Yoga Practice: What Benefits Does It Bring to Our Health?, there are always some aspects to consider before practicing yoga or any similar discipline.

1. A Good Place

Your yoga studio or the place where you will practice hot yoga should have all the necessary certifications for the teaching of this discipline. Hot yoga in particular requires a more attentive look on the postures and movements to avoid injuries or bad movements. You need a creditable place and a creditable instructor in order to get this. Besides certifications, look for kindness and comfort. You'll know what place is the right place for you! You'll feel like its home somehow...

2. A Worthy Instructor

Look for a person who is kind to you and makes you feel at ease all of the time during your practice. This is not a gym routine, there are more complex internal processes going on and the guidance of a good and kind person is key to the benefit it will bring to your health. It'll may take some time, but take as far as you need to find the right place and the right person to be your teacher.

3. A Medical Check-Up

Although there is no hard evidence to advise you against starting something like hot yoga if you have a complete sedentary life, you can try it- just- if you can take it step by step. But keep in mind, that hot yoga is more demanding for the body, the mind and the spirit. Rule out any possible health problem whit a simple medical check up before going for your hot yoga classes! Always be kind and patient to your body, especially when introducing new habits...

4. Some Previous Practice, If Possible.

Hot Yoga is a more advanced practice of yoga under harder conditions in order to strengthen the body, the spirit and the mind. We must be responsible here and let you know that it is going to be very hard and probably frustrating for you to take a first class of hot yoga with no previous experience; it might even be harmful to your body.

As we do not want this, we recommend that you take some traditional yoga classes first, check if you like it, if you feel at ease with the discipline, the place and the people. This is a very important phase in your practice. Do not rush it!

woman doing lotus position out in nature
The Lotus Pose - Montera from Pexels

5. Some Quality Equipment

A mat and some lightweight clothes may be enough for a traditional yoga class, but if you are thinking of pumping your yoga postures, you better consider some more specific equipment for your classes.

In this section, we'll be recommending you again some products from Gaiam, your number one website for buying all your yoga equipment! Have a look at the following tips and products:

> Look for special items such as socks and gloves that can provide you with a more effective grip in a hot yoga studio.

I think you definitely have to check on these Grippy Yoga Socks is your are going for hot yoga sessions. The delicate performance fabric from which the socks are made makes it lighter for your feet as it absorbs all the sweat as it prevents them from foot fungus, for instance.

  • Safer practice as it grips to your mat!
  • Perfect for carrying to your studio.
  • Ir reduces the chances of fungus.
grippy yoga sock
grippy yoga sock by Gaiam
  1. > If you can't afford a dry grip yoga mat (check on The Performance Dry Grip Yoga Mat, if you can buy it, do not hesitate. Pure quality!), you can just simply bring a towel to cover your mat so that this one does not get slippery as you start sweating out!

If you ask me, I think The Active Dry Yoga Mat Towel by Gaiam, is a great alternative as it is way much more inexpensive and easier to wash than a mat, maybe. It will be super fine for starters!

Active Dry Yoga Mat Towel
Active Dry Yoga Mat Towel by Gaiam
  • Hypoallergenic microfiber
  • Good for all yoga styles
  • Comfortable and stylish

> Bring as much water as you can to hot yoga classes. You'll feel really thirsty probably because of the heated environment, and a slip of fresh water from time to time during the class is so necessary!

Please, do check on this cute Sure Grip Water Bottle by Gaiam, it's amazing. Fabricated with high quality materials, it won't slip away to the other corner of the studio because of its grippy cover. You'll love this!

  • Protective silicone for a better grip
  • Stainless-steel, leak-proof cap
  • Carrier strap to take anywhere
sure grip water bottle (20OZ)
sure grip water bottle (20OZ) by Gaiam

Alright then, perhaps hot yoga might not be for everyone out there, that's true. But, if you already are a yoga practitioner and you want to uplift your body resistance a little bit, hot yoga is definitely worth a try, at least.

It offers a wide range of benefits for the mind, the body and the spirit. As we said, it can help you gain flexibility, burnt out more toxins and calories as you boost your cardiovascular system. Last but not least, always consider the practice of yoga as a way to handle your stress levels and improving your overall mental health. What say you? Will you go for hot yoga?

Gisela Possetto

Copywirter, Cats + Tattoos + Music Lover

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