If you’ve been thinking of trying out hot yoga classes, you may be wondering if hot yoga is harder than regular yoga.
Hot yoga enthusiasts claim that this type of yoga provides many benefits, such as increased flexibility and detoxification. If you’ve listened to your friends raving about how good they feel after a hot yoga class and have started thinking of joining a class, too, you may be wondering, “Is hot yoga harder than regular yoga?” The answer is yes; hot yoga is more physically taxing.
What’s The Difference Between Hot And Regular Yoga?
As the name indicates, hot yoga is practiced in a heated room. The temperature will vary depending on the class you’re attending and can range from 80°F to 100°F. In addition, a hot yoga studio typically has a humidity level of around 40%.
As you can imagine, exercising in such an environment can lead to a lot of sweating, which is possibly why people who do this type of yoga say they feel a greater sense of accomplishment than if they did a regular yoga class.
The hot yoga that you are practicing may not necessarily be Bikram yoga.
Bikram yoga classes are structured according to strict rules. The room should be heated to precisely 105°F, and the humidity level must be 40%. In addition, a Bikram yoga session is 90 minutes long and consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises.
Hot yoga classes are much more varied and free. Apart from a difference in room temperature and humidity levels, yoga sessions consist of various poses that will vary from studio to studio.
While hot yoga is all about deep stretches and physical exertion, regular yoga has a more spiritual aspect to it. Traditional yoga typically takes place in a comfortable environment, whether it’s outside or inside. Yoga instructors typically strive to create a tranquil and peaceful environment by putting on soothing yoga music and ensuring that a space is not too crowded.
The main aim of yoga as a practice is to create a union between the body and the spirit. Yoga consists of a great variety of yoga poses and postures also referred to as asanas, which increase physical strength and flexibility and also develop mental consciousness. Practicing yoga, therefore, leads to both physical and mental well-being.
Yoga is not about extremes. Instead, the practice focuses on finding balance.
You might also be interested in our explainer on does hot yoga help you lose weight.
Is Hot Yoga Harder Than Regular Yoga?
When it comes to physical exertion, hot yoga is more difficult than regular yoga. Hot yoga may be a good fit if you’re looking to get your heart pumping and enjoy a more intense workout.
This doesn’t mean that regular yoga won’t have you breaking out in a sweat. Regular yoga provides an excellent workout and can be quite taxing, too. Ashtanga yoga, for instance, which is an athletic and fast-paced form of hatha yoga, is anything but easy.
My point, however, is that hot yoga is generally more rigorous and focused on physical fitness and flexibility. In Bikram yoga, for instance, the postures involve sustained contractions of major muscle groups. These demanding poses, together with the heated and humid environment, make for quite a challenging and intense workout.
The Pros Of Hot Yoga
Whether hot yoga is actually better for your body is a contested subject. Lovers of hot yoga state that this type of yoga has the following benefits:
- Improves flexibility: Since it’s easier to stretch with warmed-up muscles, it follows that a hot environment makes for increased flexibility. Hot yoga lovers state that the heat allows them to experience a deeper stretch.
- Increased weight loss: Research shows that yoga in a heated environment burns more calories than a regular yoga session.
- Strengthens the heart: Proponents of hot yoga also state that doing yoga in a heated environment gives the heart and lungs a more challenging workout.
- Purifies the body: Hot yoga followers claim that doing yoga in a heated environment cleanses impurities from the body more effectively.
However, supporters of traditional yoga claim that the idea that a hot yoga session is better for you because you sweat more is ludicrous. For them, yoga is about cultivating energy, not dispersing it.
Doing yoga in hot temperatures also comes with increased risk. In a study published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), it was found the body temperature of some hot yoga participants was raised to 103°F, which is one degree lower than the 104°F threshold that doctors describe as dangerous.
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