Hot yoga, or Bikram yoga, is a version of yoga that made its way to American in 1972, created by Bikram Choudhury who started a Bikram studio in San Francisco. He was inspired to create a heated version of yoga after using space heaters when teaching in Japan. This type of yoga has gained immense popularity in subsequent years and has been embraced by some and questioned by others. The question being, is hot yoga actually better for you than other varieties? The answer to this inquiry is outlined below:
Yes, Hot Yoga is Better Than Regular Yoga
A hot yoga or Bikram session typically takes place in a room heated to around 105 degrees. After a session, you will find your best high waisted workout leggings absolutely drenched. Those who are proponents of this specific type of practice report improved muscle tone, strength, flexibility, increased level of physical challenge and deeper mindfulness. There are also those who swear by the detoxification aspect of practicing in an extra hot room. Research completed in the past few years has seemed to support this claim. Dr. Stacy D. Hunter Ph.D., who is the assistant professor in the department of health and human performance at Texas State University, has studied the benefits of hot yoga extensively. According to Dr. Stacy, “the exposure of the body to heat does something physiologically that produces some sort of benefit.” Therefore, between participant's testimonies and research, it can be concluded that hot yoga does have some benefit. The question remains, though, is it better than yoga practiced in a room of normal temperature?
No, Hot Yoga Isn’t Better Than Regular Yoga
Dr. Stacy also stated that the body doesn’t really work harder during hot yoga when compared to practicing yoga in a room with regular temperature. Actually, the studies almost all correlate to suggest that it’s the yoga itself, not the temperature of the room that is responsible for the benefits people attribute to hot yoga. The detoxifying and weight loss benefits of hot yoga mentioned above are actually myths. However, there are some people who will swear that this isn’t the case. The dangers are also next to none. In other words, hot or not, it's really up to each person, as there is no benefit but no danger of one variant over the other.
So, is hot yoga better than regular yoga? The answer is twofold. Yes and no. It hasn’t been proven to be more effective, yet it isn’t considered harmful either. Therefore, the good news is if you love hot yoga, keep enjoying it! If you don’t, you don’t have to fear you are missing out on something, because research proves the practice of yoga itself is beneficial, especially for the heart, no matter the temperature of the room. This means you can get your best pair of soft yoga pants and head to our studio knowing no matter what type of yoga you practice, you will be reaping countless health benefits, regardless of room temperature.