The Buzz Around Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga, also called Hot Yoga, has become increasingly popular. Created in the early 1970s, hot yoga is meant to enhance stretching and breathing through exercise in increased temperatures. Like other styles of Yoga, Bikram also relieves tension and eases the mind.
Hot yoga classes are 90 minutes long and are held in studios typcially heated above 100 degrees. Participants perform 26 stretch and strengthing poses, moving rather quickly from one pose to the next. The faster pace provides a more intense workout than traditional yoga styles.
While there is a slight aerobic benefit, participation in hot yoga (or any other form of yoga) should not be used as a replacement for cardiovascular activity. Many people mistakingly assume that excess sweating burns more fat and leads to weight loss. Sweating is simply your body’s mechanism for cooling itself. Weight loss is always a factor of burning more calories than you take in. While hot yoga does burn calories, it is not a substitute for aerobic activity.
The type of yoga you choose should be based on your current fitness level and your goals. If you are in good health and don’t mind sweating, hot yoga may suit you. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, you should consult your physician before trying hot yoga. As with any fitness class, your satisfaction will be highly dependent on the level of instruction.
Bikram and other forms of yoga should be used as part of a broader fitness plan that incorporates strength training, cardiovascular activity, and a healthy diet. If you do participate in hot yoga, be particularly cognizant of your body’s hydration needs. Drink water before the class, during the workout, and after your workout is done.