Hot yoga refers to yoga exercises performed under hot and humid conditions. Often associated with the style devised by Bikram Choudhury, hot yoga is now used to describe any number of yoga styles that use heat to increase an individual's flexibility in the poses. In colder climates, hot yoga often seeks to replicate the heat and humidity of India where yoga originated Some forms of hot yoga include:

  • Bikram yoga which was brought to the U.S. in the early 70s and became the most widely known form of hot yoga performed typically at 105°F (40°C).
  • Forrest yoga which combines yoga asana with native American spirituality to create as a "yoga sweat lodge" in a heated room.
  • Power yoga is derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and uses heat to replicate environmental conditions in Mysore, India.
  • TriBalance yoga, another form of hot yoga, performed in slightly warmer but less humid conditions than Bikram Yoga.

The heat allows you to safely reach new levels of personal flexibility in beginner’s postures, which is therapeutic for your body. This yoga is low impact and uses muscles you didn’t know you had. Also, a prime focus is on spine strength, which is key to a long healthy life. 

The definition of Hatha Yoga asana is "stillness in a posture while breathing normally". With the added element of the heat, you won’t make it far if you don’t breathe deeply. If there is no breathing, there is no yoga. It won’t take long before you learn to breathe in a full and controlled manner.

Your heart can work the same way doing yoga postures in a heated room as it does when running a mile, and you never even leave your mat. Particularly in postures when you are balancing and contracting your muscles at the same time. A 90-minute class can burn up to 1.000 calories. The way you stretch and compress your internal organs and glands also stimulates metabolism so you are burning calories quicker outside the room as well. 

The heated room helps you to stretch more and get your cardio, but it also helps you sweat. The postures themselves are detoxifying for your muscles, organs, and glands and sweating furthers that.

Most Hot Yoga classes consist of the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises, and if not, there is almost always a dialed routine. The routine helps you to advance your practice through repetition. As you advance, you gain tremendous focus and determination. The ability to focus carries over to your daily life. When you can focus on the task at hand, you’ll excel and you can enjoy it more.

The primary purpose of this yoga is therapy. With a regular practice, these postures can help to heal old injuries and also prevent them in the future. This is especially true for, but not limited to, back pain. Don’t skip the postures that are slightly uncomfortable. Hot Yoga is also known to reduce symptoms of conditions and illnesses including diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis and obesity. 

“You’re only as old as your spine is flexible.” ~Joseph Pilates