Yoga is a great way to learn how to make sure your mind and body are aligned, and it's also a fantastic workout! In recent years though, hot yoga has become increasingly popular.
What is the Difference Between Regular Yoga and Hot Yoga?
1) The Room Temperature is Much Higher (Obviously) in Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is a general term for yoga practiced in a climate controlled studio typically kept at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If the class is structured like the traditional Bikram yoga, then there will be a sequence of 26 postures performed for 60-90 minutes. You can also take shorter yoga classes in an infrared sauna designed for hot exercise, such as HotWorx. These classes are typically 30-minutes, held at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and led by a virtual instructor.
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2) Flexibility Increases Quicker in Hot Yoga
Unlike regular yoga, which can be practiced indoors or outdoors, hot yoga studios involve yoga practice in a heated studio to keep the muscles warm throughout the class, which helps students achieve typically deeper stretches than in a regular yoga class.
Any yoga done correctly will inevitably increase your range of movement and flexibility, so regular yoga is still great for this! However, stretching when your muscles, tendons, and ligaments are warm definitely facilitates a deeper stretch, and the Hotworx classes are a great way to benefit from this.
Caution is advised when taking a hot yoga class though because it is possible to overextend muscles in the heat, so hyperextension is a potential risk from hot yoga classes if attention isn’t paid to your own body’s ability.
3) Hot Yoga is Thought to Help Eliminate Toxins From the Body and Improve Circulation
It’s believed to be a great way to flush out unwanted toxins from your body because of the high room temperature causing students to sweat excessively, therefore releasing the toxins through the skin quicker than in a regular yoga class.
Hot yoga is also thought to help improve your circulation thanks to the particular postures held during the class and the position of the heart in relation to the body in many of those postures.
4) A Wider Range of Positions are Typically Learned in Regular Yoga Classes
Although hot yoga is great for improving flexibility, there are a limited number of positions that are typically practiced in classes (usually 26 postures). This is the standard number of postures for a Bikram yoga class. This theme is also present in the infrared sauna classes led by a virtual instructor. In addition to traditional yoga, the Hotworx sessions offer isometric compression classes and finish with a self-myofascial release using a foam roller.
Regular yoga classes involve learning many more positions and flows, which may play a part in your decision of which yoga class to choose. Hot yoga is, however, believed to feel easier to ‘master’ because of this.
There’s a lot of debate about which is best out of regular yoga or hot yoga, but the general opinion is that they are both fantastic and ultimately it comes down to choosing which form of yoga you prefer taking part in.
Yoga, in general, is something recommended by pretty much all fitness professionals and physios, but anyone who is pregnant or has an existing medical condition should check with their doctor before starting hot yoga to make sure it’s suitable for them.