Bikram Yoga: Why Yoga Just Got Hotter


Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

Bikram yoga, a system of 26 postures in a room scorching around 105 degrees Fahrenheit, is one of the latest fitness trends to hit the market. With toned celebrities like Lady Gaga, Jennifer Aniston, and Beyonce hitting the hot yoga mats, it’s no wonder so many people are saying, “Namaste.”

In a culture obsessed with diets, cleanses, and self-purification, most of the allure of Bikram yoga is the detoxifying properties it boasts. In fact, according to the Bikram Yoga website, Hatha Yoga flushes away the waste and toxins of all the glands and organs of your body. In Bikram, heat is added to intensify the experience, resulting in impurities being flushed out of your body through your skin as you sweat.

But isn’t the main function of sweating to cool an overheated body? In Bikram, the added heat serves a purpose.

“The heat does make the body more pliable,” writes Ann Pizer, a certified yoga teacher, in a yoga column on “In some other forms of yoga, the heat is generated internally, while in hot yoga it is applied externally.”

Another common misconception is the idea that the more you sweat, the more calories you burn. In Bikram, however, the heated environment forces your body to work harder to cool down so while you definitely feel an increased heart rate, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are burning more calories than you would in other forms of yoga.

“It [sweating] gives you the feeling that you’re burning tons of calories, but really you’re losing a lot of water, which all comes back when you replenish and rehydrate after class,” writes Alyssa Brown, manager of Core Power Yoga studio, in an article.

Interested in trying Bikram? Keep these tips in mind before you get into tree pose:

  • Get (almost) naked – The heated rooms make sweatpants very uncomfortable so invest in some yoga capris or comfy shorts. Opt for dri-fit clothing over cotton because it is better for moisture-wicking.
  • Bring a towel – Your mat (and body) will get very slippery in Bikram yoga. Make sure you have a towel so you don’t slip as you hold poses.
  • Stay hydrated – In Bikram, since the room gets very hot, you want to make sure you remain hydrated. “Drink plenty of water beforehand, but don’t eat for a few hours before class,” writes Pizer. A full stomach will make you feel nauseous, and that’s the last thing you want as you’re holding downward facing dog!
  • Let your instructor know it’s your first time – Bikram yoga is tough so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your instructor will be able to help you through poses and keep an eye on you.

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Categories: Your Fitness

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One Comment on “Bikram Yoga: Why Yoga Just Got Hotter”

  1. June 10, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    great article.. i love bikram hot yoga… can’t wait to hit the hot room again today!

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