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A Guide to Hot Yoga

One of the most popular forms of Hatha Yoga these days continues to be in the form of Hot Yoga. The attraction for many is the ease of muscle stretching that a Hot Yoga environment will provide. There is also the experience of an “intense” workout when engaged in a Hot Yoga class which is often driven by the temperature and humidity of the room.

There are several different forms of hot yoga that are available in most areas. The higher heat range of 105 – 110 degrees is often found in the form of what many consider “traditional Hot Yoga”; Bikram Yoga. Bikram is more of a static sequence with very beginner friendly poses. The challenge here is finding studios that deviate from standard “dialogue” and will be willing to offer modifications and teach to the students in the room.

Hot Vinyasa Yoga is another popular form where the temperature can be found anywhere from 90 degrees to closer to 100 degrees. Hot Vinyasa varies greatly based on the teacher while Bikram yoga is a standardized format. If the Hot Vinyasa Yoga class is very fast paced and employs a lot of challenging postures the need for higher levels of heat may not be so desirable.

Hot Gentle Yoga is often referred to as Hot Yin yoga. This will feature longer holds and allow for deeper stretching and release work. The temperature for these classes can be from a light heat of mid 80’s to something higher in the range of 90-100.

Samadhi Hot Yoga is our signature brand of yoga and offers over 40 postures in a 75 minute format. The class moves along at a reasonable pace but without sun salutations and includes a core stability section. Practitioners find it very balanced and a great overall yoga exercise.

Here are some key points to keep in mind to allow for the best experience no matter which hot yoga type you end up trying:

  • Always try to drink plenty of water up until about 30-60 minutes prior to class. Feel free to bring water as most hot yoga classes will allow that. Keep in mind some Bikram classes are tightly controlled and will allow drinking only at certain points in the class.
  • If you have a tendency to sweat very easily consider adding an electrolyte supplement to your water. In addition to water, your body loses electrolytes when it sweats. Chloride, potassium, and sodium are major electrolytes, which are key minerals critical for overall cellular health.
  • With anything new, take it very easy for your first time. Many hot yoga students claim it takes 3-5 classes to acclimate to the heat and humidity. Most hot yoga studios encourage taking breaks as needed, lying down and stopping if you feel light headed or dizzy.
  • Try not to compare yourself to someone else in class. Hopefully the teacher is not pushing or forcing in their instruction. Listen to your own body and if you are encountering a new posture (or maybe all of them are new to you) often it is best to watch first or listen carefully to the instructions before attempting.
  • If a hot yoga class is being taught in a “follow the yoga teacher” fashion be extra cautious. Usually the teacher can do everything with ease and has natural flexibility which is often not the case of the new or even longtime student. If you are trying to match a “flexibility move” it is an easy way to get injured. Hopefully the teacher is offering modifications even if he/she is demonstrating the entire class. The best situation is where teacher teach from off the mat and are effective in directing students with their words.
  • One issue with a hot yoga class is the possibility of over stretching in a heated environment. This can take place in a standard, unheated yoga class as well , however because the heat allows for easier stretching students can overdo it in the moment and feel a post class strain later on. The key is to relax into tightness or resistance in the body and not try to “power” through it.
  • Remember that during the class if you feel exhausted, nauseous, or dizzy this is typically a sign of dehydration. Stop immediately and rest. If it doesn’t pass after a few moments in relaxation pose you may want to exit the yoga room and either rest outside and/or drink a sports beverage such as Gatorade or similar.
  • After class is over, please make sure you rehydrate as soon as possible. Although a cold beverage feels very good to an overheated body it can also present somewhat of a shock to the system. So nothing too cold right after a hot yoga class may be the best approach.

Hot Yoga is probably the most popular form of yoga in the United States. Many studios that never offered hot yoga in the past recognized the trend and started heating the room to various levels of heat & humidity. There are different levels of heat for different hot yoga students. The goal is to find a combination of an excellent hot yoga sequence with the right amount of heat for the individual yoga practitioner. Once that is done, hot yoga can be very addictive. The feeling of wellness and ease in the body is an achievable goal for yoga students of all ages.

Andrew Lane

Co-Owner Soma Samadhi Yoga & Dance

Samadhi Hot Yoga