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Hot Yoga May Be Too Hot For Some

How Hot Do You Like Your Yoga?

The type of yoga I teach is pretty hot, and I remember one woman showed up to my class early while I was setting up. She pointed to the unit up above us and said, "Could you turn up the AC?" I looked at her and said, "Actually, that's heat." Needless to say, she didn't stay for the class.

Hot yoga has been a huge craze for years. Bikram yoga is held in rooms of 105°F or higher, and many other styles, including Ashtanga and Vinyasa, heat practice rooms too, but only to temperatures in the 80s or 90s. The heat serves a purpose — to warm up the muscles so a practitioner can get deeper into poses, and also to provide a detoxifying effect (read, sweat!). Many people also believe sweating profusely during a yoga class is a sign that they're dropping pounds, although the weight they're losing is mostly water weight.

Not only can exercising in extreme heat be dangerous, leading to heat stroke and dehydration, but many people just can't take it. According to fitness expert Fabio Comana, the body is designed to withstand temps between 97 and 100 degrees, so if your core temp raises above 105°F, he says "you'll start to damage protein." Some people are addicted to insanely hot yoga though, while others prefer practicing in more moderate temps, so tell me . . .

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Join The Conversation
hatigol hatigol 6 years
Can't agree more with Mouzzer! I am from India and have practiced yoga for over 10 years now both in India and the US. Bikram yoga does not suit me for I find flaws in it. (1) Indian temperatures are high but it cools down in the evening and I am yet to find an Indian yoga teacher who recommends these temperatures. (2) Yoga is about breathing - there is no emphasis placed on it in this class (3) Yoga connects you to your inner self as well the one - no mention of it in the class (4) Too rigid a system (5) Yoga is not a competition - it is pushing yourself to your limits, not to someone else's limits. (6) No time to posture alignment/corrections - perhaps it was just my studio but doing the wrong thing over a period of time makes things worse. Emphasis is not on form and breathing. A fad that will not fade away, I get that and it is sad that this is sold as yoga to the unsuspecting public!
Mouzzer Mouzzer 7 years
Yes, in the southern coastal regions of India the temp is generally between 99 to 110, true. I still do not give in the Bikram's philosophies, however. 1. India is a very large isn't humid everywhere at all times. 2. I don't see why peoples who aren't accustomed to such humidity should exercise vigorously in that environment. Plus, it just isn't safe in some cases. 3. Bikram has yoga competitions. Competition in yoga? Again, to me, this isn't yoga at all. Obviously I am not a fan or a believer. I also find the sequencing very rigid.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Hot hot hot! Anything but Bikram bores me to tears.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
i haven't taken a hot yoga class yet, but am interested in doing so. a little afraid though because I get heat sickness pretty easily. i can see myself fainting on my face doing downward facing dog. lol.
ticamorena ticamorena 7 years
i'm really confused about the logic of doing it in a hot room because in india it's hot and that's where yoga started. i mean, if you take it that man evolved from africa, and first started running in the continent, we should thus all be running in temperatures approximating those of africa? errm, no. in any case, i would love to try hot yoga because i have sinus problems and AC'd rooms make it worse but i have no idea what a novice would need and if i wear glasses, would i sweat so much they slip off or steam up?
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Mouzer - It's funny you say that, because Bikram yogis actually think the opposite. If you read Bikram's book, the reason it's practiced in a 105 degree room isn't just to help flexibility and detox by sweating, it's also more "authentic" in that the temperature in India often reaches 120 degrees. Do you think that five hundred years ago, yogis in India were practicing in a cool room? Nope, that's a modern, Western fad! I like Bikram yoga, and I agree with a lot of the thing Bikram says regarding how yoga in America has been adapted to where it doesn't even resemble yoga its origins in India any more. But I still attend vinyasa and anusara yoga classes that are more Americanized, and I enjoy them as well. I think all kinds of yoga classes have their place.
ceej ceej 7 years
One thing to keep in mind is that these extreme temperatures can play havoc with your skin. Increasing your chances of couperose and making conditions like rosacea really flare up.
tamaradulva tamaradulva 7 years
I've taken hot yoga at 105 degrees, regular at 83 degrees, and at home practice between 68 and 77 degrees. It all feels the same to me, but I do prefer to be able to breathe and not think about temperature. It really depends on how prepared you are with it.
sourcherries sourcherries 7 years
Totally agree, Mouzzer. Took some hot yoga classes (I've been doing ashtanga/vinyasa for several years). While the increased temperature does seem to increase flexibility, it doesn't appear to be necessary as the increased temperature also decreased the ability to do some of the more athletic yoga poses. It was very smooth and peaceful, but more meditative than a real yoga workout.
Mouzzer Mouzzer 7 years
Been accused of being a yoga snob for my views on this but I have always seen this as just another basterdized version of "yoga" and a fad that I hopes burns into the sun. The sooner, the better. Yoga is to be practiced in a cool room.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
I like whatever temp my Vinyasa Flow instructor sets it at. Usually it is very warm-hot. I like sweating in yoga.
le-romantique le-romantique 7 years
Nah, I'm not used to not being abel to breathe while doing yoga... I prefer the AC on but nothing below 74 and nothing above 80...
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 7 years
I'm a Bikram junkie...the hotter the better! And Glitterbug, Bikram is not recommended in the first trimester, but you can return in your second and third trimester but with some modified postures, especially during the spine-strengthing series. Just talk to your studio owner/instructor and they will teach you the modifications. This post is a bit misleading, your core temperature definitely doesn't raise above 105 degrees during a Bikram class. In fact, the longer, most often you practice the more your core temperature remains constant throughout the class. Other practitioners at my studio have measured their temperature during class and have never even gotten over 100 degrees.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Glitterbug - there have been several women in my Bikram class who have done yoga up until the week they delivered. However, they were very experienced and had been doing Bikram weekly for years, so whether you can continue will probably depend on your own personal circumstances.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
This post is a bit misleading, in that it makes it sound as though doing yoga in a 105 degree room will lead to "protein damage." Your core temperature does not rise to 100 degrees merely because you're in a room that temperature. Humans are warm blooded - that means that our body temperature does not automatically adjust to whatever temperature the room is that we're in. For example, pregnant women can't have a core temperature over a certain degree, yet there are lots of pregnant women who do Bikram yoga in the 105 heat. Personally, I prefer to either do Bikram yoga in the 100+ degree room or "regular" yoga in a normal temperature. I don't really see the point of being in an 80 degree room.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I've never done hot yoga, but I'd like to try it. I don't know if I could do the 100+ temps, but 80-90's is doable.
Glitterbug Glitterbug 7 years
I LOVE Bikram yoga but recently found out I'm pregnant. Is it safe for me to continue my practice? I'm scared...
judiesjuice judiesjuice 7 years
I am obsessed with a new studio in my town that offers Hot (and Warm) Vinyasa. I take the Hot classes which are taught at 99 degrees. I love it! I've practiced many other types of yoga, including Bikram but when I discovered Hot Vinyasa, I felt like I had found my home. I recently took a Warm (around 90 degrees) class. I could immediately tell the difference in the heat but after we began to practice, it felt good. My preference is hot though.
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