Hot Yoga 101: What You Should Know

Hot yoga. You may have heard of it--the trendy new way to do yoga, sweating in a sweltering room, that boasts myriad benefits. But what is hot yoga? Is it like normal yoga? Is it dangerous? And just how hot is it?

Keep reading for your Hot Yoga 101 lesson. We’ll explain what hot yoga is, why people do it (it’s not as crazy as it seems!), and what you should know if you’re a beginner. 

What is hot yoga?

Hot yoga is a kind of hatha yoga done in hot and humid conditions, designed to lead to sweating. 

You might have heard it called Bikram yoga, and while the two are similar, they are not quite the same. Bikram yoga is also done in a hot room (typically 104 degrees Fahrenheit) with bright lights and a mirrored front wall. Bikram yoga lasts 90 minutes.

On the other hand, hot yoga sessions can last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. The average temperature for hot yoga is between 80 and 100°F. Hot yoga uses multiple yoga poses combined in different sequences and often features music to keep students motivated.

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Cleanses toxins from the body
  • Encourages deep breathing, increasing lung capacity
  • Improves circulation
  • Boosts lymphatic system
  • Increases flexibility
  • Aids in weight loss

Top 6 tips for hot yoga beginners

  1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (but don’t chug!). As you’ll be sweating considerably during your lesson, you’ll want to make sure your body has plenty of water to spare.
  2. Eat a light meal beforehand. While you certainly don’t want to overeat, you’ll want to have something in your stomach as fuel.
  3. Wear moisture-wicking clothing. Given the heat, it’s best to leave the heavy cotton workout gear at home. Pick your coolest, most breathable, moisture-wicking gear. 
  4. Use a mat towel or non-slip mat. Many find the sweat and humidity makes them slip on their mats. You can bring any towel to go over your mat to prevent this, though you can also purchase a mat towel made especially to fit and adhere to your mat.
  5. If you ever feel overwhelmed by the heat, don’t be afraid to take a break. Heat is certainly a risk for those unaccustomed to it. If that describes you, don’t push yourself too hard!
  6. Breathe through your nose. The heat can also cause dizziness. Breathing through your nose can be a big help.

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