Hot yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years, with many people flocking to studios to sweat it out in a heated room. While the benefits of yoga are well-known, there has been some debate as to whether practicing hot yoga burns more calories than traditional yoga. In this article, we will explore the question of whether hot yoga burns more calories, and what other benefits hot yoga may offer.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a type of yoga that is practiced in a heated room. The practice was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s and consists of a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises practiced over 90 minutes. The room is typically heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 40%.
Does Hot Yoga Burn More Calories?
The short answer is yes, hot yoga does burn more calories than traditional yoga. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, participants who practiced Bikram yoga burned an average of 636 calories in a 90-minute session, while those who practiced traditional yoga burned only 360 calories in the same amount of time. This increased calorie burn can be attributed to the heat, which raises the heart rate and increases sweat production.
However, it’s important to note that not all types of hot yoga are created equal when it comes to calorie burn. While Bikram yoga has been found to be effective for calorie burn, other types of hot yoga may not offer the same benefits. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that participants who practiced Power yoga in a heated room burned only slightly more calories than those who practiced the same style of yoga in a cooler room.
Other Benefits of Hot Yoga
Aside from calorie burn, there are several other benefits to practicing hot yoga. Here are just a few:
The heat in the room can help to loosen up muscles and increase flexibility. This can make it easier to get deeper into postures and hold them for longer periods of time.
Improved cardiovascular health:
The heat in the room can raise the heart rate, which can improve overall cardiovascular health. This can be especially beneficial for people with high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
Sweating is one of the body’s natural ways of detoxifying. Practicing hot yoga can help to flush toxins from the body through sweat.
Like all types of yoga, hot yoga can be a great way to relieve stress and promote relaxation. The combination of deep breathing and physical movement can help to calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
Hot yoga can be quite challenging, both physically and mentally. Practicing in a heated room can help to improve focus and concentration, as students must stay present and focused in order to maintain proper form and breath control.
Tips for Practicing Hot Yoga Safely
While hot yoga can offer many benefits, it’s important to practice safely in order to avoid injury. Here are a few tips:
It’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after class to avoid dehydration. You may also want to consider drinking an electrolyte-enhanced beverage to replace lost minerals.
Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that allows you to move freely. Avoid heavy fabrics or clothing that may restrict movement.
Listen to your body:
If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous, take a break and rest until you feel better. Don’t push yourself too hard, especially if you are new to the practice.
Choose the right class:
If you’re new to hot yoga, start with a beginner-level class and work your way up. Avoid advanced classes until you have built up your strength and stamina.
Talk to your doctor:
If you have any health concerns or medical conditions, talk to your doctor before starting a hot yoga practice.
In conclusion, hot yoga does burn more calories than traditional yoga, thanks to the heat in the room that raises the heart rate and increases sweat production. However, not all types of hot yoga are created equal when it comes to calorie burn. It’s also important to remember that there are many other benefits to practicing hot yoga, including improved flexibility, cardiovascular health, detoxification, stress relief, and focus. As with any form of exercise, it’s important to practice safely and listen to your body to avoid injury.