Hot Yoga : Hot or Not?

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga : Hot or Not?

Hot yoga is a major trend  in which participants practice in a hot room, often 90-100+ degrees.  Mass marketers of yoga love the “passive heating” approach of hot yoga, as  it gives the perception of flexibility and a deeper workout in a shorter period of time.  More classes per day = more revenue.

Great for your muscles, but what about your joints? Extreme heat, while making muscles temporarily more flexible, makes the tensile strength of connective tissue and  joints weaker.  Injuries arise because your “heat goggles” make you feel so bendy, that your judgement  may be off.  So, just like yo-yo dieting isn’t the answer,  YHD says “no” to yo-yo climating–don’t we already get enough of that here in Minnesota?

Yoga HotDish classes will warm your body and make you flexible, but keeping with yoga philosophy the heat comes from within, building slowly through pranayama breathing techniques and a slow crescendo of ever-intensifying asana/poses. Yoga takes time, and you can’t just crank the furnace to force to body into submission.   Finally, hot yoga  is contra-indicated for numerous conditions, from heart and respiratory issues to being over weight or sleep deprived.  Yoga is a lifelong practice when done in moderation.  Making it faster, hotter and watered down is the American Way, no doubt, but do be careful!

YHD classes begin with a restorative poses, done on bolsters to gently coax the body to open, undoing all that tension from sitting, driving, repetitive motion exercise, etc.  From there,  intense Yin stretches  are actually safer when the body is cool and the connective tissue stronger.  Long hold times in Yin poses ensure the muscles stretch slowly; however, most studios just can’t afford the extra class time.   The “self”  heating process then escalates with pranayama or breathing exercises. Most fitness yoga glosses over these, as learning them can be difficult and take time. That said, once mastered,  every breath you take becomes a core-warming abdominal exercise. Advanced yogis continue pranayama throughout practice.  After 90 minutes, you’ll be slow-roasted to perfection –not zapped in a microwave!


  1. Yoga is a lifelong practice when done in moderation. Making it faster, hotter and watered down is the American Way, no doubt, but do be careful!

    • Yes, of course the argument can be made that Bikram was from India, but as you may know, his credibility is in question. I view him first and foremost as a businessman. He has developed some great teachers though and we can’t hold them accountable for his behavior. IF you’ve seen some Bikram yogis in action, no doubt there is some merit to the system; but, I think it’s dangerous for older/less fit people.

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