8 Benefits of Hot Yoga for a Healthier Body and Mind

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Hot yoga has gained popularity as an exercise in the recent years. It provides similar benefits to traditional yoga, including stress relief, increased strength, and flexibility.

However, due to the elevated temperature, hot yoga can offer an even more challenging workout, targeting your heart, lungs, and muscles more intensively.

If you are curious about the benefits of hot yoga and want to know how to begin, this article will explore the 8 best benefits of hot yoga and guide you through starting your hot yoga practice.

What is hot yoga?

While the terms “hot yoga” and “Bikram yoga” are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not identical practices.

Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury, a yogi, and is conducted in a heated room with a temperature of 105°F (41°C) and 40% humidity. This type of yoga includes 26 poses and two breathing exercises, which are performed in the same sequence in every class, and lasts for about 90 minutes.

In contrast, hot yoga only means that the room temperature is higher than normal. The heat can be set to the instructor’s preference, but it usually ranges from 80 to 100°F (27 to 38°C). Hot yoga classes may consist of any variety of poses, and the duration of each class may differ from one studio to another. Unlike Bikram yoga, hot yoga classes may include music and more interaction among participants.

Recently, Bikram yoga has lost some of its followers due to allegations of assault against its founder. Some studios may refer to their heated classes as “hot yoga” instead of “Bikram yoga,” so it’s important to carefully read class descriptions before enrolling in a session.

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

Regardless of the temperature of the room, both hot yoga and Bikram yoga share a common goal of promoting mental relaxation and physical fitness.

Practicing yoga in a heated environment can be more demanding, but it may also offer some benefits, particularly if you seek to improve in one of the areas listed below.

When performed correctly and safely, hot yoga can offer the following benefits compared to normal yoga:

1. Better flexibility

You might be aware that stretching after warming up your muscles is safer than stretching when they are cold.

Therefore, a hot yoga studio environment can facilitate yoga poses and render them more efficient. The heat enables you to stretch a little deeper and attain a broader range of motion.

A study conducted in 2013, which focused on Bikram yoga, discovered that after 8 weeks of practice, participants had increased flexibility in their low back, shoulders, and hamstrings in comparison to the control group.

2. Burns more calories

A person weighing 160 pounds (72.57 kg) can burn approximately 183 calories per hour with regular yoga. However, practicing yoga in a heated environment can lead to even more calorie burn.

A study conducted by researchers at Colorado State University revealed that during a 90-minute Bikram yoga session, men can burn up to 460 calories and women can burn up to 330 calories.

Even if it’s not as rigorous as Bikram yoga, hot yoga still burns more calories than a traditional yoga session.

3. Improves bone density

Engaging in weight-bearing activities, such as holding yoga poses, can be beneficial in building bone density, particularly in older adults and premenopausal women, as bone density tends to decrease with age.

In a 2014 study that spanned over 5 years, women who regularly practiced Bikram yoga exhibited increased bone density in their hips, neck, and lower back, particularly premenopausal women.

These findings suggest that Bikram yoga may be an effective means of reducing the risk of osteoporosis in women.

4. Reduces stress levels

Yoga is a popular natural remedy for stress. In fact, a 2018 study showed that a 16-week program of hot yoga significantly reduced stress levels among stressed, physically inactive adults.

The study also found that hot yoga improved the participants’ health-related quality of life and self-efficacy, which is the belief in one’s ability to control their behavior and social environment.

5. Relieves depression

Yoga is a well-known technique for relaxation and mood improvement, and according to the American Psychology Association, it may also be a helpful therapy for reducing the symptoms of depression.

Furthermore, a comprehensive 2017 review of 23 different studies which were focused on the topic of yoga as a treatment for depression suggest that yoga is an effective way to reduce depressive symptoms.

6. Improves heart function

When performing yoga postures in a heated environment, it can increase the intensity of the workout for your heart, lungs, and muscles compared to doing the same poses in a cooler setting.

Research from 2014 suggests that a single hot yoga session can raise your heart rate to that of a brisk walk (3.5 miles per hour or 5.6 Km per hour).

Furthermore, hot yoga can boost your respiration and metabolism, providing a functional workout for the cardiovascular system.

7. Decreases blood sugar levels

It can be a useful tool for individuals at higher risk for type 2 diabetes as it can help burn energy and reduce circulating levels of glucose(sugar) in the bloodstream.

Although any form of exercise can offer these benefits, a 2013 study revealed that a short-term Bikram yoga program improved glucose tolerance in older adults with obesity, while young, lean adults experienced less of an effect.

8. Rejuvenates the skin.

Hot yoga aims to induce a lot of sweating.

One of its benefits is improving circulation that supplies oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, nourishing the skin from within.

Tips for your safety

Hot yoga is considered safe for individuals in good health, but it’s important to take certain safety measures, as with any type of physical activity.

  • Dehydration. Staying hydrated is crucial during hot yoga as it poses a significant risk of dehydration. It is important to drink water before, during, and after a hot yoga session. To replenish the electrolytes lost during the workout, you may also consider consuming a low-calorie sports drink.
  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women should consult with their doctor before attempting hot yoga.
  • Pre-existing health conditions. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, arterial abnormalities, anorexia nervosa, and a history of fainting, may be more susceptible to fainting in a hot room during hot yoga.
  • Low blood pressure or low blood sugar. Practicing hot yoga may increase your risk of experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness. It’s important to consult with your doctor to ensure that hot yoga is safe for you.
  • Heat intolerance problems. If you have experienced heat intolerance in the past, it may be best to avoid hot yoga and opt for yoga practiced at a regular temperature.

How to get started

If you’re new to yoga, consider trying a regular yoga class before diving into hot yoga. This will give you a chance to test the instructor and studio to make sure it’s a good match for you. While attending, inquire about the classes and if there are any beginner-friendly options available.

It’s also a good idea to explore a few different yoga studios before making a final decision. Look for studios that offer free or discounted trial classes to help you determine which one is the best fit for you.

Here are some tips to consider when starting hot yoga:

  • Choose lightweight and breathable fabrics that can effectively wick away sweat when practicing hot yoga.
  • Consider bringing a towel to place over your yoga mat, as it may become slippery with sweat. Bringing an additional towel for your face and hands can also be helpful.
  • You may want to consider using special gloves and socks that can improve your grip in a the studio.
  • Bring a large insulated water bottle filled with cold water to sip throughout your session.


Hot yoga may not be suitable for everyone, but if you’re a fan of regular yoga and want to take it up a notch, it could be the perfect fit for you. It provides numerous benefits for your body and mind, including burning calories, improving bone density, enhancing cardiovascular fitness, and increasing flexibility. It can also potentially help with reducing stress and alleviating depression.

However, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions such as heart or artery issues, diabetes, anorexia nervosa, a history of fainting, or heat intolerance, it’s crucial to consult your doctor before attempting hot yoga.

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