Bikram yoga (aka Hot Yoga) is a form of utilizing hatha yoga techniques. The classes run for approximately 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures and breathing exercises. What makes this unique from all the other branches of yoga is that it is practiced in a room heated between 95-108˚F. Even for people who are regular yogis, this can be too much for them.
Though heated yoga came to existence in the early ‘70s, it has been growing more and more popular into the mainstream as of late. In fact, exercising in heated environments has become popular – hot spinning classes, hot kettle-bell classes, hot boot camps have become the new routines. Though sweating is a natural state of working out, the question remains: is physically inducing even more sweat beneficial to your health?
Bikram yoga has been dividing the opinion of yogis for years. Some swear by it and others believe that it provides no benefits better than an air-conditioned room.
Benefits of Hot Yoga
Good for your skin and complexion – Sweating profusely will cause your pores to open up and will help your complexion become more clear. It will detoxify anything that might be causing your pores to clog up. Human sweat contains a naturally occurring antibiotic, dermcidin that helps kill any bacteria on your skin.
Makes for deeper stretches – When your muscles are all warmed up from the heat, you will get a deeper stretch. This will pave the way for decreased soreness.
Oh so refreshing – You are more inclined to focus on your breathing since the heat will make you need to breath more.
Definitely de-stressing- The endorphin rush that you get after a 90-minute intense sweat session will be amplified more so than a regular yoga class.
Disadvantages of Hot Yoga
Somewhat dehydrating – Sweating will suck so much moisture out of your body. If you are not drinking enough water during this 90-minute sweat session, then this could be dangerous. It is advised that you drink roughly two litres of water before even coming to class. Even then, the class will still leave you feeling thirsty.
A little nauseating – For first timers, the heat can be overwhelming and can make you feeling light-headed or dizzy. If this happens, then step out and focus on some deep breathes before returning back to the class. Remember that yoga is not competitive so you should not compare yourself to the other yogis in the class.
Time consuming – Most yoga classes are 45-60 minutes long where hot yoga goes for 90 minutes. If you are to practice Bikram yoga, you need to make more of a commitment in your schedule.
You can get injured – Though the heat naturally causes you to make a bigger stretch, it is possible to push yourself too far. There are many joint-heavy poses and it might put you at greater risk for tearing a ligament.
Both a benefit and a disadvantage to hot yoga is that it is challenging and difficult. Especially if is your first time, it can be daunting to keep up with the poses and positions. Yoga is about balance and finding a place that feels comfortable for you. If you have tried Bikram and are curious, go ahead and give it a shot. If it’s not for you, then go back to your regular yoga class. Feel like experimenting further? Why not try an outdoor yoga class? Let us know which practice you prefer. Namaste.