Yoga styles: Hot yoga

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  • Doing yoga in a heated environment has numerous benefits.
  • Apart from physical benefits, hot yoga may also improve psychological symptoms like depression.
  • Both hot yoga and Bikram yoga are performed in heated spaces, but there are important differences.


Hot yoga is a popular yoga style, offering benefits like stress reduction, strength and flexibility. Hot yoga can, however, stimulate the body to execute workouts more effectively than regular yoga. The heated environment allows for enhanced muscle flexes that will increase metabolic activity and increase weight loss. 

Additionally, hot yoga has the potential to give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more effective, more intense workout.

Background

Hot yoga and Bikram yoga are frequently regarded as the same form of yoga because both are practised in high temperatures. Unlike Bikram yoga, hot yoga is, however, not restricted to a particular temperature.

Bikram yoga is practised in a room heated to 41°C with 40% humidity. It consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in the same order in each class. Classes are usually 90 minutes long.

On the other hand, hot yoga merely refers to a room that has been heated above average room temperature. The temperature can be set to whatever level the yoga instructor desires, but it is usually between 27 and 38°C.

Hot yoga sessions can include a variety of poses, and the length of each class varies from studio to studio. Furthermore, unlike Bikram yoga, which is a more serious and quiet practice, hot yoga frequently includes music and more interaction among the students.

Regardless of the temperature of the room, both hot yoga and Bikram yoga aim to provide mental relaxation as well as physical fitness. A heated environment can make yoga more difficult to practise, but the benefits may be worth it, especially if you want to improve one of the areas listed below.

Hot yoga, when done correctly and safely, can provide the following benefits:

1. Increases flexibility

You may already know that stretching after your muscles have warmed up is safer than stretching cold muscles.

As a result, a hot yoga studio environment can make yoga poses more straightforward and more effective. Because of the heat, you can stretch a little further and achieve a greater range of motion.

2. Consumes more calories

A study by Colorado State University researchers suggests that a 90-minute Bikram yoga session can burn up to 460 calories for men and 330 calories for women. Hot yoga will also burn more calories than a traditional yoga workout, even if it isn't as intense as a Bikram session.

3. Increases bone density

Supporting your weight during a yoga pose can aid in bone density development. This is especially important for older adults and premenopausal women because bone density decreases with age. According to the NIH, one should aim to be active for at least 30 minutes daily. 

A 2014 study of premenopausal women who practised Bikram yoga for five years discovered that they had increased bone density in their neck, hips, and lower back.

This led the study's authors to believe that Bikram yoga could be an effective way for women to reduce their risk of osteoporosis.

4. Relieves stress

Many people turn to yoga as a natural stress reliever. A 2018 study investigated the effects of yoga on physically inactive adults. The 16-week hot yoga programme significantly reduced participants' stress levels.

Simultaneously, it improved their health-related quality of life and self-efficacy – the belief that you have control over your behaviour and social environment.

5. Relieves depression

Yoga is well-known as a technique for relaxing and improving one's mood. According to the American Psychology Association, it may also be a beneficial therapy for reducing depression symptoms. A 2017 review of 23 studies concluded that yoga effectively reduces symptoms of depression.

6. Provides a cardiovascular boost

Performing a variety of yoga poses in high heat can give your heart, lungs, and muscles a more challenging workout than doing the same poses in low heat. Just one session of hot yoga is enough to work your heart as much as a brisk walk at 5.6 km/h.

Additionally, hot yoga increases your metabolism and respiration.

Before you head to your first hot yoga session, you should consider these five factors: 

1. Hydration

2. Food

3. Comfortable clothing 

4. Equipment 

5. Positive attitude

If you're interested in how hot yoga can help you, this article can guide you on what it can do for you and how to get started.

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