*Disclaimer* We firmly condemn Bikram Choudhary and see him for the abuser, r*pist, homophobe, and racist that he is. We stand with the victims and hope that our articles can shed light on the truth.
Hot yoga is a generalized term that embodies any type of yoga practiced in a heated environment.
The range of temperatures and humidity vary depending on the style of hot yoga and there is open freedom about the poses practiced in a hot yoga class.
But just how hot is hot yoga?
In this article, we will grab our thermometer and take a look at the temperatures of different styles of hot yoga, and consider why hot yoga is hot.
We’re going to cover:
- How Hot Is Hot Yoga?
- Why Is Hot Yoga Hot?
Let’s get started!
How Hot Is Hot Yoga?
Rooms for hot yoga rooms are generally heated to anywhere from 80 -108 degrees Fahrenheit.
The humidity can also vary.
Because there aren’t specific regulations of for how hot hot yoga needs to be, you’ll find a range of temperatures and humidity levels in hot yoga studios around the country, but here are some heat settings used by popular hot yoga styles:
5 popular hot yoga styles and their heat settings
#1: CorePower Yoga Heat Settings
CorePower Yoga is a popular chain of yoga studios offering a range of classes.
Their CorePower Yoga 2 (C2) class is a hot yoga flow class designed for all levels. This in-studio class is taught in a room between 93 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit, while the Hot Yoga class is Bikram yoga-esq, as it involves 26 poses and is done in a room that is 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
#2: Baptiste Power Vinyasa Heat Settings
Said to facilitate flexibility while helping awaken and energize the body and mind, the hot yoga studio environment for Baptiste Power Vinyasa studios are heated to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
This hot yoga style involves 53 poses in the style of Baron Baptiste. Studios are located in over 20 states, with the headquarters in Boston, MA.
#3: Modo Yoga Heat Settings
Moksha Yoga, a Canadian-based yoga franchise, and Modo Yoga, the United States counterpart, is a hot yoga franchise committed to sustainability.
In a style a la Bikram yoga, a Moksha sequence always follows the same 40 poses (not 26) and lasts about 90 minutes.
Their hot yoga studios are set at 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
#4: Evolation Yoga Heat Settings
Because Mark Drost, the co-founder of Evolation Yoga, is a former senior Bikram instructor his international hot yoga studios offer hot yoga classes very reminiscent of Bikram yoga.
They teach the Bikram yoga sequence packaged with a different class name—Primary Hot Series—and also maintain the Bikram yoga studio temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
There are other hot yoga classes on their line up, with hot yoga temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some hot yoga studios have state-of-the-art radiant heat, while others simply add a few space heaters. Some also control the humidity of the room, with higher humidity resulting in an even sweatier experience. Each of these factors will affect how hot the room actually feels.
#5: 26 +2 / Bikram Yoga Heat Settings
During Bikram yoga, you perform the poses in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 40 degrees Celsius, with a relative humidity around 40%.
Therefore, unless you live in an exceedingly hot climate, Bikram yoga feels hot.
By raising the hot yoga temperature in which you exercise, Bikram yoga challenges your body, mind, and spirit, causing you to sweat, requiring you to focus, and testing your willpower and stamina more than many other styles of yoga.
Bikram Yoga’s founder Bikram Choudhury has faced allegations of r*ape and s*xual assault. Because of this, Bikram Yoga is now often called 26 +2 after the rigid series of 26 yoga poses plus two breathing exercises that this style of yoga follows.
Why Is Hot Yoga Hot?
So, why is hot yoga hot? What is the purpose of heating the studio?
Although all styles of yoga and ambient temperatures in which the poses are performed can provide numerous physical and mental health benefits, hot yoga is thought to expand upon these benefits.
This means that the heated room aspect of hot yoga is thought to provide additional benefits on top of those made possible by room-temperature yoga as well as augment the benefits already enjoyed by practicing yoga in a room-temperature environment.
#1: It Makes You Sweat
For example, hot yoga is hot for a reason—it’s designed to make you sweat.
There are benefits associated with sweating itself.
For example, certain toxins can be eliminated from the body through sweat, including phthalates, BPA, and PCBs.
These toxic compounds can build up in the body, causing a host of hormonal, metabolic, digestive, and cardiovascular issues.
With that said, they are excreted in sweat, so any time you get a good sweat going—whether because you’re running or taking a hot yoga class—you’re improving your health by helping detoxify the body.
#2: It Can Be A Spiritual Practice
The stifling temperatures of a hot yoga studio also pose a physical, mental, and spiritual challenge that is not always present in gentler yoga styles.
Self-growth and improvements in fitness occur when we challenge our body and push past our comfort zone.
Many proponents of hot yoga and Bikram yoga indeed believe that contending with the challenge of the heat makes you pull from the depths of your physical, mental, and spiritual reserves in a way that truly helps you grow into a better version of yourself.
If you can find your calm and flow on your yoga mat when it’s tough in a hot yoga class, you can push your way through adversities in everyday life.
#3: The Heat Facilitates Flexibility
In terms of augmenting benefits of all types of yoga, the hot component of hot yoga helps facilitate flexibility, range of motion, circulation, and metabolic energy cost.
By performing yoga poses in a hot room, hot yoga has the added benefit of increasing tissue pliability, allowing people to sink deeper into poses and get a better stretch.
When tissues are warmer and more limber, you have a greater range of motion in your joints, allowing you to be more flexible and less stiff.
It can be possible to maneuver your body into poses and postures with optimal alignment that you might not otherwise be able to achieve if you were more stiff and cold.
#3: It Is More Cardiovascularly Demanding
Additionally, your heart rate is increased when exercising in the heat because the body is having to work hard to try and maintain temperature homeostasis without allowing your core temperature to get too hot.
This increases the intensity of hot yoga, making it more of a cardiovascularly- and metabolically-demanding workout than a similar yoga flow in a room that would have a standard, cooler temperature.
Risks associated with hot yoga heat
According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are a few potential risks of hot yoga to be mindful of, namely dehydration, dizziness, lightheadedness, headaches, and injuries from overstretching.
For your safety, it is vital to be properly hydrated before, during, and after the class.
Additionally, if you have any acute or chronic medical conditions, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should speak with your healthcare provider before trying hot yoga or Bikram yoga.
Overall, the challenge of contending with a heated studio is what makes hot yoga such a transformative practice.
If you want to try a hot yoga class yourself, don’t forget to pack a yoga towel—you’ll need it!