Hot yoga is yoga practiced in a hotter-than-normal room, and the style of yoga offered can vary from studio to studio, says Samantha Scupp, the founder and a teacher at Heatwise, a New York City–based hot yoga studio, who is certified by Yoga Alliance.
Here are a few things to know before you try it.
How Hot Is a Hot Yoga Class?
In hot yoga, the room is heated to temperatures that can range from the high 80s to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the latter being the temperature of a Bikram-style yoga class. (12) Not only can the temperature fluctuate depending on the studio (check the class description or call the individual studio to find out details), but the method of heating can be different as well, says Scupp.
Along with conventional heating, some studios use a humidifier to make the room feel warmer. Some studios, like Heatwise, use infrared heat that comes from electric heat panels that are placed on the ceiling or around the room, which can feel more natural than forced-air heat, she says. The size of the room, the weather outside, and how packed the class is can all be factors in how hot the room gets, Scupp says.
Not All Hot Yoga Classes Are the Same
A type of hatha yoga known as Bikram yoga bills itself as the “original” hot yoga. Founded by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga has 26 poses that are always performed in the same way and in the same sequence. (12)
Vinyasa yoga or flow-type yoga practiced in a heated studio can also be called hot yoga. It would be a good idea to have some yoga experience before stepping into a hot yoga class, says Scupp. Depending on the studio, there may be a beginner level course offered.
Pregnant Women, People With Heart Conditions, and Some Others Should Check With Their MD Before Doing Hot Yoga
In general, hot yoga is safe for someone as long as they’re in good health, says Laskowski. If a person has certain preexisting chronic health conditions, previous heat injury, certain heart conditions, easily gets dehydrated, or is pregnant, it may not be safe to do hot yoga, he says.
“It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor if you’re going to try an activity that could stress your body,” says Laskowski.
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