Do you know hot yoga? No ? However, everything is in the title! However, you may have heard of Bikram yoga, a hot form of yoga? If it is still not the case then you will find in this article all you need to know about hot yoga, the family of yoga that is extremely hot! Get ready to make many discoveries today!
Hot yoga is a term used to refer to a family of disciplines that includes very specific practices of this sport. These are practiced in very heated rooms -up to40°C- and a rate of humidity clearly higher than the average of what to wet the shirt. This family can be divided into two parts: on the one hand, the hot-only practices, these can only be performed in the traditional conditions of hot yoga –heat and humidity– and on the other hand the so-called classical styles, that is to say that they existed before the appearance of the hot movement and can to this day be followed without taking place in a heated studio. Among these hot forms of yoga, we find the most famous, the Bikram, but also the Yin, the Power, the Forrest as well as the Moksha. Some are softer, others more dynamic. The realization of this sport is democratized at the beginning of the years 1980 in particular thanks to the creation of its principal branch in 1973 in the United States: Bikram.
Contrary to sessions that would be done in studios, hot yoga would have amazing properties allowing it to multiply its benefits. To date, there are nearly 600 specialized centers worldwide.
Bikram is the most common form of this family of styles. It is even the discipline at the origin of the activity! Indeed, Bikram invented by Bikram Choudhury in 1973 to heal a knee injury, borrows exercises derived from hatha yoga. Hatha, as it is now known, is a form dating back to the 15th century that combines intense work and mental effort, and is now a mainstay in the wellness and health market. The classes take place in simple conditions: they are summarized in 26 postures that must be linked together while keeping control of one’s breathing, all in rooms whose thermostats are set at a heat of 40°C in a very humid studio. This heat wouldeliminate all the bad toxins. It first appeared in France 21 years ago with the opening in 2001 of a center in Marseille.
Bikram Choudhury as well as its creation is today very controversial because it is considered a marketing product rather than a quality teaching.
Hot Power Yoga is a mix between Ashtanga and Hatha. The temperature is around 30°C -slightly lower than Bikram- and synchronizes breathing and movements. The postures are numerous and different during each class since the instructor chooses them. Its practice is particularly recommended for people with stiffness in the shoulders, hips, neck and back. The goal of each exercise is to open the body and mind. It is important to keep your focus on your breathing so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the physical effort.
Yin yoga can be practiced hot or not, it is probably the most gentle of this list. Its name comes from Yin and Yang, both opposites and complementary, it is described as stable, immobile and passive. It is originally practiced in thermal conditions called normal, but it is adapted to this new discipline. Created in the 1970s, it combines both yoga and meditation. Its warm realization is based on calmness practiced in a room heated to 35°C in which the postures are held for 3 to 5 minutes in order to propose a total relaxation of the body and the spirit and thus to support the meditation. The holding of 18 to 24 postures facilitates a deep stretching that works the ligaments and tendons.
What a peculiar name… Is it to be done only in the forest? What connection with the heat you may say… There is one, the term Forrest is actually the name of the creator of this style, nothing to do with the humidity and greenery of a walk in the forest! Designed by Ana T. Forrest in 1982, this yoga instructor frequently combined the use of props seen in Iyengar, the alignment seen in Sivananda and the flow ofAshtanga and Vinyasa. Its practice is more adapted to the beginner, because it is slightly less demanding than its colleagues since it is done in a room heated to 29°C. A sequence begins with a breathing sequence before moving on to other pilates-like exercises that work the abdominal muscles and ending with a sequence of asanas. It is characterized by its long waiting time when reaching the requested poses. According to the website of its creator, it allows to reconnect with the body strength, but also the internal concentration and thespirit.
This one is not well known because it is very recent, in fact, the youngest member of this great family is less than 20 years old! Created in 2004 by two Canadian teachers, this yoga is meant to be progressive, as it has three levels from 1 hour to 90 minutes. The goal of its creation was above all to gather a group of individuals around the activity in order to form a kind of community. It is similar to the Forrest but does not focus on the abs, but rather on strengthening the lower body muscles. Moksha is a Sanskrit word that means “liberation“. Like Vinyasa versus Ashtanga, Moksha is a little more free in the sequence between sequences compared to Bikram. There are few moksha centers in France, but there are some in the following cities: Rennes, Bordeaux, Nice and Rouen, there are also a few in the Paris area.
Want to know more about the different types of yoga? In our blog you will find the article “Which style of yoga to practice?”, where Yogom presents everything you need to know about the different types of this family: their characteristics and advantages. It can also help you decide if this is the right course for you and find out which one is best for you.
This practice is much more intense and physical than you might think. If some people promise exceptional benefits on his well-being, we must not forget that these extreme sequences cannot be adapted to everyone ! So, if you are a pregnant womanthat you have a fragile immune system or that you present cardiovascular risks then this particular style may not be for you because of the risk of a drop in blood pressure that can cause discomfort, because you are undergoing intense workouts and because of the temperature, you cannot regulate your body heat.
According to a study conducted on stress, in a period of 8 weeks on a panel of 51 people aged 20 to 54 years showed that at the end, a majority felt a decrease in their stress level and better sleep quality. It is also recommended for its muscular benefits as it works the upper and lower body through deep stretching and also increases thebalance of the practitioner.
These hot workouts promote weight loss because the heated room acts like a sauna, adding to that the effort, it is a perfect detoxifier to eliminate all the bad toxins and to fill up with energy.
To practice yoga in these conditions, it is necessary to have adapted yoga equipment and to be equipped with a good water bottle, or even several. Indeed, as mentioned above, this style of yoga has the particularity of always being practiced with the help of equipment. Bricks, straps, bolster, chair, rope, wall, everything is used to work in depth on stretching and alignment
Which yoga mat to choose for the hot Yoga ?
Hot yoga encompasses very dynamic styles of yoga and the conditions in which it is organized, means that yogis who follow these practices tend to sweat a lot. For this, it is therefore necessary to take a quality carpet adapted so that the carpet does not slip and even that you do not slip. A natural rubber-based mat provides a perfect grip. If it has a microfiber coating it’s even better! The microfiber in contact with perspiration blocks the hands without slowing them down, allowing you to keep a certain fluidity between movements when changing postures. The Yogom Performance Range is the perfect mat for intense practice!
Accessories: bricks, straps and bolsters
We have seen that Forrest is a disciple that takes its cue from Iyengar in terms of the use of props. If you’re not familiar with yoga, you probably don’t know that there are several types of props: bricks, straps or even bolster! Who says yoga is only about the mat? Most of the teachers of this practice will advise you not to use straps, indeed with the heat of the rooms, it is very easy to make progress its flexibility even too much and the injuries can be numerous. It is therefore preferable to stretch gently, without putting too much strain on the joints and muscles.
On the other hand, the bricks can be a very good help to go from posture to posture without too much difficulty. Indeed, if the flexibility is not there, the bricks will allow you to reach the positions more easily. They exist in different materials such as cork or EVA so that everyone can find his happiness! If you don’t know how to use it, the article “ The brick user’s guide “is here to help you!
A bolster is a bolster that is usually placed under the spine and is totally adapted to soft styles like Yin. It is the perfect accessory to help the yogi in his meditation or relaxation. It can be used in other forms of yoga such as restorative or prenatal. It brings more comfort to the stretching.
The outfit: practice in comfort
The yoga outfit is always an important and subjective subject. Loose-fitting or tight-fitting tank top, bra, jumpsuit, leggings … As mentioned above, during hot yoga lessons of any kind, sweating is a must! The most important thing is to have a change of clothes, because all participants finish the course in swimming! The ideal outfit is a light and comfortable one, a bra, a t-shirt – which you can always take off later if you get too hot – and shorts or leggings. A loose-fitting suit made of modal material, which is an ecological fabric and is very soft and fluid, making it very comfortable to wear, allowing yogis to move freely.
It is quite complicated to practice at home because of the conditions. In France, centers all over the country offer sessions, but heated studios are still hard to find. Classes ranging from one hour to one and a half hours depending on the type of session can be given by a certified teacher because it is mandatory, in order to teach this practice, the teacher must have followed a specialized training. The best advice we can give you is to stay hydrated either during or after the course since you sweat which means you lose water andlisten to your body so as not to push it, if you are not used to intense or extremely physical sports and do not feel well during the course then it would be better toshorten your sequence. There are several centers offering courses in specialized studios in France, in and around Paris, such as Ivry.