Hot yoga has become a very trending form of exercise amongst all age groups. It has found its way into the fitness world due to its positive outcome seen in people who practice it. Hot yoga is a type of assertive physical practice that includes balance and coordination of our body.
There are many hot yoga studios. Hot yoga can be performed in many styles, but the most common style is Bikram Yoga. There is a prevalent misconception that Bikram yoga and hot yoga are the same things.
Hot yoga is a type of yoga of any preferable style practised where the room is heated at a temperature of almost 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 45% – 60% humidity. Whereas Bikram Yoga is a type or a style or system of Hot yoga, all the Bikram yoga postures fall under hot yoga, but all the hot yoga postures are not Bikram Yoga.
Bikram Yoga was founded by Bikram Choudhury – A yoga practitioner from India, in the year 1970. Bikram yoga is a style of hot yoga done with 26 postures, repeated twice in a 90-minute class.
The exercises include 26 postures and two breathing or pranayama exercises.
Bikram yoga is one of the most efficient hot yoga styles, and hence it is the most commonly practised hot yoga almost everywhere.
Why the Heat in Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga is done in a heated environment of 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 45% – 60% humidity. The heat is to amp up the intensity of the exercise to give you better results.
The increased temperature accelerates our heartbeats, makes postures deeper to engage muscle flexibility, and increases lung capacity through intense breathing due to heat. It also burns calories a tad bit faster, which helps you achieve your fitness goals sooner.
One theory of using increased temperature in hot yoga also states that as yoga was first established in India, the temperatures were basically hot and humid. Hence, people who practised yoga there practised it in the same heat and humidity.
This further led to the discovery of the term Hot Yoga.
11 Benefits of Hot Yoga
There are several reasons why you should prefer hot yoga as your fitness regime.
- Increases flexibility – It is always said to warm up before working out. This is because muscles get a deeper stretch and activation when the body is at a higher temperature. As hot yoga is practised in a heated setting, the muscles stretch better, causing an increase in their flexibility.
- Improves Blood Circulation – as hot yoga gets our heart pumping, the blood circulation of our body increases and keeps blood pressure in check.
- Aids weight loss – Increases metabolism and helps burn a larger number of calories than traditional yoga.
- Relieves problems like back pain, muscle aches, and cramps.
- Increasing breathing capacity aids asthma and other respiratory illness.
- It helps increase bone density, especially for older women whose bone density decreases as they age.
- Hot yoga is an excellent form of stress reliever.
- Decreases depression as hot yoga is said to be a great mood alleviator.
- Increases your perceptual-motor performance.
- Hot yoga is very good for the health of your skin. The exercise’s heat and intensity induce sweat production on your skin and help get rid of all the toxins as well.
- Hot yoga is great for your overall cardiovascular health, as well.
Points to Keep in Mind Before Starting Hot Yoga
- Make sure you keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your sessions.
- Pregnant women should consult their doctors before practising hot yoga.
- Stop right away if you feel nauseous or dizzy, or if you think you are about to faint.
- Avoid eating right before your session.
- If you have low blood sugar, avoid practising hot yoga it makes you feel dizzy or light-headed.
- Always use a mat for protection against the hard surface of the floor.
- Make sure to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes.
If you have this list in check, you are good to go. It is not very difficult to get started with hot yoga. You could get yourself enrolled at a studio, or you could practice at home.
The article further discusses 12 hot yoga poses and how to execute them.
12 Hot Yoga Poses (Asanas)
1. Triangle Hot Yoga Pose – Utthitha Trikonasana
Stand with your toes touching each other and heels a few inches apart. Take a deep breath, step to the right at a leg’s length, and make sure your heels are in line and that your toes are pointing straight ahead. Turn your right foot at a 90-degree angle and lift your left heel back a bit.
Breathing out, extend your right side over to your right leg. Lowering your hand, grab your ankle, and slowly reach for your toe. Make sure your shoulders are in line with your right leg. Raise your left arm and look towards your left arm. Avoid leaning front to back and try to keep your body aligned.
Hold this position and take five deep breaths. Breathe in and come back on your parallel feet. Breathe out and repeat on the left side.
2. Extended Side Angle Hot Yoga Pose – Utthita Parsvakonasana
Start by standing with your toes touching together and heels a few inches apart. Breathe in and step out to the right widely while extending your arms. Make sure your heels should be in line with your toes pointing straight out. Breathe out and turn your right foot at a 90-degree angle
Bend your right knee over your right foot at a 90-degree angle. Place your right hand on your right knee. Slowly place your right hand down outside your right foot. Bend towards the right side while opening it up towards the ceiling
Stretch your left arm forward and over your body. Look at your left arm while keeping the neck in line with your spine. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths. Breathing in, rise.
Repeat on the other side.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Bending Hot Yoga Pose– Prasarita Padottanasana
Stand with your toes touching and heels a bit wide apart. Breathing in, take a step length to the right. Place your hands on your waist. Make sure your heels are in line, and your toes are pointing straight ahead. Open up your chest and keep your back straight
Breathe out and let your upper body forward while placing your hands on the floor at shoulder-width distance. Breathe in and straighten your arms while stretching your head up. Breathe out and let your body upper body forward with your almost head touching the floor
Keep your legs and feet strong and stretch your back. Hold this position for five deep breaths. Breathe in and straighten your arms while stretching your head back and keeping steady, breathe out. Breathe in again and come all the way up, and then breathe out. Breathe in and extend your arms and move them behind your back – folding them.
Breathe out and bend your back forward with your head facing down. Extend your arms as much as you can and keep your legs and feet strong
Hold this position for five deep breaths.
4. Bound Angle Hot Yoga Pose – Baddha Konasana
Sit with your legs extended. Breathe in and move your feet to the centre of the body. Place your feet together, with your soles touching. Hold your feet and stretch your back up, opening your chest
Breathing out, slowly let your upper body fall towards the floor. Make sure your hips are on the floor with ab support lean your chest forward. Try to come down with your chest towards the floor. Hold this position for ten deep breaths
Finally, take a deep breath and rise. Breathe out and return to the starting position.
5. Seated Forward Bending Hot Yoga Pose – Paschimottanasana
Sit with your legs extended and try to hold your toes with your fingers. If you cannot reach your toes, try bending your knees slightly and squeezing your thighs to keep your back straight. Breathe in and raise your chest while drawing your shoulder blades into your body.
Press the feet pads of your feet slightly forward to engage your legs. Breathing out, bend your torso over your legs. Make sure not to tense up your shoulders and neck.
Breathe in, rise with your chest, and keep holding your toes and breathe out. Return to a seated position while taking deep breaths.
6. Head To Knee Hot Yoga Pose – Janu Shirshasana
Sit in a starting position with your legs extended. Move your right foot in the centre so that the knee is at a 90-degree angle with the hips. Grab your left foot with both hands. You can bend your knee a bit if you need to. Breathe in and stretch your chest up. Breathe out and bend your torso from the hip
Stretch your back while keeping one hand on top of the other. Hold this position for five breaths. Repeat the movement on the left side.
Return to a seated position.
7. Mariachi’s Hot Yoga Pose – Marichyasana
Sit with your legs extended. Move your right foot close to your bottom with your feet at hips width. Place your left elbow outside your right knee. Place your right hand behind your right hip, looking back over your right shoulder. Turn your torso while opening up your chest
Hold this position for five deep breaths. Make sure to take breaths during each flow of movement. Take a deep breath, look forward again, hold your position, and breathe out. Come back to your starting position while taking deep breath with movements
Repeat on the next side.
8. Boat Hot Yoga Pose – Navasana
Sit with your legs extended. Slightly lean back and lift your legs. Raise your knees towards your upper body. Keep your arms extended ahead straight at shoulder width level. Stretch your chest forward
Hold this position for 5 breaths and relax.
Do this position thrice while taking deep breaths. You will feel the pressure on your abdominal muscles.
9. Locust Hot Yoga Pose – Salabhasana
Lie flat on your stomach and place your arms on the side, palms facing towards the ceiling. Breathe in and lift your head, chest, and legs off the floor. You can feel your ab muscles working. Press your feet back and keep them together.
Hold this position for five deep breaths. Breathe out and relax. Place your palms on the floor at the side of your body. Raise your torso, head, and legs again.
Hold this position for five breaths and relax and get to the starting position.
10. Fish Hot Yoga Pose – Matsyasana
Lie flat on the floor. Grab the side of your buttocks and raise your torso up to the ceiling.
You can stop here with your elbows on the floor and your neck stretched back or you can fold the top of your head towards the floor.
Hold this position for ten deep breaths and relax.
11. Bridge Hot Yoga Pose – Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana
Lie flat on your back with your knees folded at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on the side you’re your body with palms facing towards the ceiling. Now slowly lift your torso and buttocks while applying pressure on your hands and buttocks. Do not lift your head or neck off the floor.
Lift your torso so that there is a considerable gap between your buttocks and the floor. Slowly clasp your fingers together under your lifted torso. Hold this position for five deep breaths
Relax and then repeat this pose 3 times.
12. Wheel Hot Yoga Pose – Urdhva Dhanurasana
Start by lying flat on your back. Place your hands above your head with palms flat on the floor. Keep your knees at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Now lift your whole body while throwing your head, with the help of your palms and feet.
Only your palms and feet will have contact with the ground. You will form an arch position with your chest facing towards the ceiling. Keep your hands and elbows straight, and let your head hang freely.
Hold this position for five deep breaths and relax.
Repeat this position thrice.
Complete your hot yoga session with a set of breathing exercises called pranayama.
If you are a newbie, you could start with regular yoga first and then shift to hot yoga, or you could directly start practising hot yoga as well.
Join a Hot yoga class today so that you can reap the benefits in the long run.