For those who wish to practice yoga in extreme conditions, reviving the true Hindu climate, hot yoga is the right choice for them. This type of yoga includes both high temperatures and humidity, in order to form the perfect conditions for yoga practice and fitness that will target each part of the human body. So, if you want to strain, stretch and sweat your way to a better and healthier lifestyle, then you will surely do it with hot yoga.
People usually thing that hot yoga is much different in its style when compared to other yoga practices, but actually it isn’t. Don’t be confused by the different name and assume that it might be more difficult than other yoga styles. Hot yoga actually represents a regular yoga practice with selected asanas and postures included, but is practiced in a heated room. The only difference between hot yoga and other yoga styles is the heated room which provides necessary temperature and humidity for extra effect.
The room temperature of the hot yoga room is usually kept at the 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, the humidity is high enough to provide the better practicing effect. Such conditions seek a practitioner to maintain the asanas and practice hot yoga style. Classes usually last for two hours. The good thing about the heat and high humidity is that the condition warms up the body, relaxes the muscles and increases the flexibility.
Increased flexibility of the body prevents injuries which are frequent when yoga is not practiced in the proper way, or when previous warm-up is not performed. The heat increases the metabolism and elimination of toxic substances through our skin, so sweating is another mechanism which completes the hot yoga practice. Cardiovascular activity also increases and helps an individual to burn more calories in the present conditions. Overall, the effect of high temperatures can be quite rewarding for the practitioner, as the increased heat helps the body to prepare itself for the practice.
The difference between hot yoga and Bikram yoga
When somebody mentions hot yoga, usual term that comes as a hint is Bikram yoga. Actually, these two types of yoga represent different practices and schools with little difference between them. According to some yoga experts, the difference between hot yoga and Bikram yoga does not exist, because these both styles of yoga employ the same concept, which is heat. This fundamental concept is the main feature of both hot yoga and Bikram yoga. So, why do some of the people differ these two styles and give two different names for the similar practice?
The main figure of the hot yoga practice is Bikram Choudhury. He is a Yoga Champion and also “Yogi to the Stars”, with numerous yoga awards which support his rich career. He founded the school for yoga called Yoga College of India in 1974 in Beverly Hills, U.S.A. From there, he taught yoga instructors about his method of hot yoga. Nowadays, because he has popularized hot yoga, Bikram yoga practice is usually called hot yoga. There was a lawsuit between Bikram Choudhury and San Francisco-based teachers of hot yoga practice, where Choudhury claimed that he copyrighted his yoga practice, pronouncing it hot yoga. His 26 yoga poses were declared as his work, practiced in a hot room, which is the main postulate of his yoga practice. The lawsuit was then concluded when San Francisco-based teachers agreed not to use the Bikram Yoga name for their practice, but hot yoga instead. Nowadays, hot yoga represents a generic term for the practice of yoga which Bikram Choudhury popularized in U.S.A.
People usually start practicing hot yoga for one main reason: to make themselves lose weight and get into the proper form. The truth is that, hot yoga actually helps individuals to become well shaped and lose their weight. But, one thing should not be forgotten and that is that yoga actually acts like a practice for the mind and body combined. Therefore, individuals should remember that hot yoga will not only make them lose their weight, but will keep their mind in the right shape. Meditation and concentration, which represent the core of the yoga practice, will help you to focus and relax, reducing your stress and improving the overall well-being. In addition, hot yoga also improves balance, increases flexibility, develops stamina, lowers body pressure, tones muscles, strengthens endurance and improves coordination.
As it is mentioned, hot yoga practice involves both mind and body. This way, it is important to maintain both psychical and physical preparation in order to complete the hot yoga training and fulfil your goals. As for any other yoga practice, it is important to stay dedicated and prepared enough if you want to experience it completely. There are certain tips that can help you to practice hot yoga easily. It is recommended not to eat two hours before the class and to drink plenty of water in order to prevent the dehydration. It is advised to take large quantity of fluids before and after the class. Practitioners should bring their own towel and mat, because they will surely sweat profusely during the practice. For certain poses, it is essential to choose comfortable clothes in order to relax and enjoy the full effect of hot yoga practice.
There are several other styles of hot yoga which are also widely practiced around the world, especially in the U.S.A. Forrest yoga combines Native American spirituality and yoga asana, in order to create a yoga sweat lodge, held in a heated room. Power yoga is a style of yoga derived from the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. It uses the heat to replicate the environmental conditions present in Mysore. Another type of hot yoga is TriBalance yoga. TriBalance yoga is more similar to Bikram yoga, where practitioners practice hot yoga style in slightly warmer, but less humid conditions. These three styles do differ from hot yoga and Bikram yoga, but are also similar to them and represent their varieties.