Hot Yin Yoga: 8 Benefits Of This Deep Stretching Yoga Style

+ 3 Poses & how to prepare for a class


Hot Yin Yoga is a blend of the restorative elements of Yin Yoga with the heated environment of Hot Yoga.

This fusion allows muscles and deep connective tissue to relax and melt into deep stretches.

a yin yang floor mural with a woman doing yoga in front of it

What is Hot Yin Yoga?

Hot Yin Yoga is a fusion of traditional Yin Yoga principles with the invigorating fundamentals of a heated yoga studio.

It is a unique blend of yoga that offers a very distinct experience for yoga practitioners. It takes the dynamics of a challenging practice like Hot Yoga (sometimes called Bikram Yoga) and melds them into an introspective journey.

In order to understand Hot Yin Yoga, it is best to start with the understanding of Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga itself is a practice rooted in the Taoist tradition. The Taoist1 National Geographic Society. (2023, October 19). Taoism. National Geographic. philosophy emphasizes and focuses on harmony and balance. It teaches the value of surrendering and acceptance.

While embracing the Taoist concept, the Yin Yoga student embraces stillness and passivity. This style of yoga upholds the stable, unmoving, and hidden aspects of things.

One can think of Yin Yoga as a style of “passive stretching.” One holds yoga poses for an extended period of time. Often, the yoga practitioner holds the asana position for three to six minutes.

While holding particular yoga positions, the body’s deeper connective tissues such as the ligaments and fascia, progressively stretch. Physically, the result is an improvement in flexibility and mobility. Moreover, the prolonged duration also allows for inner reflection, contemplation, and meditation.

Because one is holding passive stretches, Yin Yoga does not directly target the muscles of the body. Instead, the steady stress on the connective tissues encourages them to strengthen and lengthen over time. This can contribute to enhanced joint mobility and overall range of motion.

Holding these yoga postures for an extended time can also take a toll on one’s mental patience. The time in the posture forms a type of meditation that invites the yogi to observe and be fully present with their breath and sensations in the body.

What may occur is the rise of thoughts and emotions. The challenge for the practitioner is to simply “be” with the sensations rather than “react” to the discomfort by moving.

Not only is Yin Yoga a physical practice, but it is also a mental and emotional practice. Yin yogis are encouraged to do their best to turn inward; to cultivate mindfulness and presence. It allows the yoga student to explore, not only physical release but deep-seated emotional release for profound healing.

a woman doing a wide legged seated forward fold

8 Benefits of Hot Yin Yoga

When you add a heated environment to the Yin Yoga class, you will experience a wide range of benefits for both your body and your mind. Here are a few benefits of Hot Yin Yoga:

  • Enhanced Flexibility and Mobility: The heated room, ranging from 30-40°C (85-104°F), helps to increase the elasticity of muscles and connective tissues. This makes it easier to achieve deeper stretches and poses, enhancing overall flexibility and joint mobility.
  • Reduced Risk of Injury2 Racinais, S., Cocking, S., & Périard, J. D. (2017). Sports and environmental temperature: From warming-up to heating-up. Temperature4(3), 227–257. By gently warming the body, Hot Yin Yoga decreases the likelihood of strains and injuries that can occur during stretching. The heat allows for a safer expansion of the body’s capabilities, particularly beneficial during deep tissue stretches.
  • Detoxification Through Sweating3 Kuan, W.-H., Chen, Y.-L., & Liu, C.-L. (2022). Excretion of Ni, Pb, Cu, As, and Hg in Sweat under Two Sweating Conditions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health19(7), 4323. The elevated temperature in the class encourages sweating. This is a natural way for the body to eliminate toxins. This detoxification process can lead to improved skin health and a feeling of physical rejuvenation.
  • Mental Focus and Endurance: Practicing in a hot environment demands a higher level of mental focus and endurance. This aspect of Hot Yin Yoga helps to strengthen the mind, building resilience and concentration.
  • Stress Reduction and Relaxation4 Hui, B. P. H., Parma, L., Kogan, A., & Vuillier, L. (2022). Hot Yoga Leads to Greater Well-being: A Six-week Experience-sampling RCT in Healthy Adults. Psychosocial Intervention. The heat combined with the slow, meditative nature of Yin Yoga poses promotes deep relaxation. This can lead to significant reductions in stress and anxiety levels, offering mental tranquility.
  • Improved Circulation: The heat can stimulate blood flow throughout the body. Improved circulation aids in the efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues, which can accelerate healing and recovery processes.
  • Deeper Mind-Body Connection: The unique challenge of maintaining poses in a heated environment encourages practitioners to develop a deeper awareness of their body’s signals and limitations, fostering a stronger mind-body connection.
  • Aids in Sleep Quality: Regular practice of Hot Yin Yoga, with its relaxing and meditative qualities, can contribute to better sleep patterns, aiding in both the ease of falling asleep and the depth of sleep.
a woman doing a seated side bend on a pink yoga mat

Who Can Practice Hot Yin Yoga

One of the most appealing aspects of Hot Yin Yoga is its accessibility. The practice is less about achieving perfect postural alignment and more about exploring individual edges and limits.

Unlike a typical hot yoga class, props such as bolsters, blocks, and straps are often used to support the body, making it adaptable to various skill levels and physical conditions.

If you are new to hot yoga, this would be an ideal style of yoga class to take. Beginners to hot yoga, and to yoga in general, would benefit greatly from the experience.

How to Prepare for Hot Yin Yoga

Because this is a hot yoga class, one should be mindful of class preparation to have a positive and beneficial experience. Here’s a short list of ways to get ready for your Hot Yin Yoga practice:

  • Stay Hydrated: Begin drinking water several hours before your class. It would be a good idea, too, to bring a water bottle to the class to maintain hydration throughout the practice.
  • Eat Lightly: Have a light meal or snack 1-2 hours before class. Avoid heavy meals to prevent discomfort during your yoga practice.
  • Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that wicks away sweat. Comfort is key in maintaining focus and ease in poses.
  • Bring a Yoga Mat and Towel: A non-slip yoga mat and a towel are essential for comfort and stability. You will surely sweat due to the heat.
  • Arrive Early: Get to the class 10-15 minutes early to acclimate to the heat and settle in mentally and physically. It will also give you time to collect the necessary props you’ll use during your class.
  • Mentally Prepare: Spend a few minutes before class in quiet reflection or meditation, setting intentions and preparing for the introspective nature of the session.
  • Listen to Your Body: Be prepared to adjust your practice as needed. If you feel dizzy or overly fatigued, give yourself permission to rest in a comfortable position. Take sips of water during class, too.
  • Focus on Breathing: Deep, controlled breathing is crucial in Hot Yin Yoga. Practice breathing techniques that help you stay calm and focused.

These steps will help ensure a rewarding and safe experience in a Hot Yin Yoga class.

3 Hot Yin Yoga Poses

When you step onto your yoga mat for a Yin Yoga or Hot Yin Yoga practice, you will recognize some of the yoga postures. However, familiar poses will be called by a different name. Paul Grilley5 Yin Yoga | Om Yoga Magazine. (2021, April 21). is known for renaming some of the common poses we practice in other conventional styles of yoga.

The seven archetypical poses affiliated with Yin Yoga include Shoelace Pose, Saddle Pose, Caterpillar Pose, Dragonfly Pose, Twist Pose, Dog Pose, and Dragon Pose.

The reason for applying new names to these postures is to remove the alignment rules that often apply to Yang Yoga styles. Yin’s approach to alignment is different from those of Vinyasa Yoga or Iyengar Yoga, for example.

These poses target deep connective tissues and are typically held for 3-5 minutes, facilitating a deeper stretch and mental introspection.

Before you go to an actual Hot Yin Yoga class, try practicing some of these poses at home. They will help prepare you for the extended time held in each posture.

#1: Butterfly Pose (aka Baddha Konasana – Bound Angle Pose)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing bound angle Pose
  • Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall to the sides.
  • Hold your feet or ankles and gently hinge forward from your hips, maintaining a straight spine.
  • Use a yoga bolster (or large pillow) in your lap as a way to support your body.
  • Let gravity pull your knees down, feeling a stretch in your inner thighs and hips.
  • Use yoga blocks or small pillows beneath each knee to provide further support.
  • Hold the pose for 3-5 minutes, breathing deeply and focusing on relaxation.

#2: Dragon Pose (aka Ashwa Sanchalanasana – Crescent Low Lunge Pose)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing low lunge Pose
  • Start in a tabletop position on your mat.
  • Step one foot forward between your hands, entering a low lunge position. Ensure your front knee is directly over the ankle.
  • You can stay on your hands, or for a deeper stretch, come down onto your forearms.
  • Keep your hips square and gently press forward to feel a stretch in the front of your hip and thigh of the back leg.
  • Hold for 3-5 minutes before switching sides.
  • Practice on both sides.

#3: Sphinx Pose (aka Salamba Bhujangasana – Cobra Pose)

an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing sphinx pose
  • Lie face-down on your mat, with your legs extended behind you.
  • Bring your elbows under your shoulders, palms flat on the mat.
  • Gently lift your head and chest, keeping your lower abdomen on the mat.
  • Feel a gentle stretch in your lower back and abdomen.
  • Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes, maintaining a smooth and steady breath.

Remember to listen to your body in each pose and use props like cushions or blocks for support if needed. The aim is to find a balance between effort and ease, allowing the heat of the room to aid in deepening the stretch.


Hot Yin Yoga stands out as a deeply rejuvenating and transformative practice. It’s a journey of discovery, where each session invites a deeper exploration of the self, both physically and mentally.

Whether you’re looking to enhance flexibility, reduce stress, or simply find a moment of peace in a busy world, Hot Yin Yoga could be the key to unlocking a deeper level of wellness.

For more in-depth reading about accessible styles of yoga, please visit our yoga library.

Photo of author
John Cottrell is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist residing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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