Hot Yoga: Is It Really Good For You? | sheerluxe.com

Hot Yoga: Is It Really Good For You?

Promising to promote mindfulness, burn 1,000 calories per session and boost endorphins like no other workout – it’s no wonder the world’s gone mad for hot yoga. But is Bikram really all it’s hyped up to be? We did some delving...

MYTH: It burns 1,000 calories

FACT: It’s actually more like 400. Despite claims a sweaty session can burn up to 1,000 calories (even more for men), studies suggest our bodies actually adapt to the heat, meaning calorie burn is on a par with other yoga classes. Recent research suggests hot yoga burns around 400 calories per hourly class – in comparison, a relaxed hatha class burns 200 and a vinyasa flow around 500. 

MYTH: The heat helps you achieve otherwise tricky postures

FACT: Yes and no. While the heat will warm up muscles, meaning you can get deeper into a stretch, research shows stretching a muscle beyond 20% of its resting length can cause damage. In short, if you’re prone to injury, it could be worth giving hot yoga a miss.

MYTH: It’s good to sweat

FACT: Not necessarily. While profuse sweating helps to detoxify the skin and organs as impurities are flushed out, akin to sitting in a sauna, a hot yoga class can be seriously dehydrating – as a benchmark to the amount you’ll sweat, you’re advised to drink around four litres of water post-class. Dehydration can make some people feel dizzy and nauseous, too.

MYTH: It’s for everyone

FACT: No – even if you take it easy, hot yoga isn’t for everyone. It’s not recommended for pregnant women in their second to third trimester and if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems, it’s worth getting the go-ahead from your GP first. Don’t be fooled that hot yoga is easy – it is, in fact, very tricky as you’re having to focus far more on your breathing than you would in a regular yoga class, making it harder to balance. First-timers may feel slightly out of their depth during the first three or four classes.

On a Similar Note

MYTH: Bikram is better

FACT: Not necessarily. Bikram is just one form of hot yoga – classes revolve around a strict series of poses over a 90-minute session in a room heated to exactly 40 degrees celsius – while other hot yoga classes are usually around an hour with postures varying depending on the studio and instructor. It’s also worth noting that a true Bikram class must be taught by someone trained at the Bikram Yoga College of India, based in Los Angeles.

MYTH: Extreme is better for you

FACT: When it comes to yoga, purists disagree; saying classic yoga shouldn’t be practiced at such an intensity or with an elevated heart rate and insisting it’s about listening to your body without distractions.

MYTH: It’s addictive

FACT: The jury’s out. An increasing amount of studies suggest that hot yoga – more so than other forms of exercise – produces a particular endorphin rush (a recent study found 58% of participants reported a mood boost after class and many claim the post-class high is addictive) but more concrete evidence is needed.

MYTH: The hotter the better

FACT: This simply isn’t true. In fact, there’s whole host of cooler, shorter and less regimented hot yoga classes now on offer in the capital. Some of our favourite classes include those at Triyoga, where your body is heated from the inside out thanks to infrared instead of simply heating the air (leading to a more detoxifying sweat), as well as those at Hotpod, which are based around vinyasa and incorporate plenty of breath work for beginners. Yotopia, Fierce Grace and Good Vibes are other great options. 

 
 

 

 

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