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Hot Yoga - What Are The Benefits?

So Team HH recently took on a Hotpod Yoga class to see what all the fuss was about. With some hot and Bikram yoga virgins among us, some were a little daunted at the prospect, having heard stories of people fainting mid Bikram session and not being allowed to leave the room! However, this was hot yoga, not Bikram yoga - hot yoga will always divide opinion a little, but after an hour long Hotpod yoga session, there was no denying a feeling of positivity, warmth and wellbeing flowing through the body. No fainting, lots of sweating and some really deep stretches resulted in a feeling that we wanted to capture again. So what exactly is the difference between hot yoga and Bikram yoga? Hotpod Yoga have shared a few pointers with us... "In our pods (our very own patent pending, pop-up, portable hot yoga studios) we run hot Vinyasa yoga classes and here's a few little pointers on how it all works, why it all works and a few additional  things you might want to know about hot yoga.  The heat 

  •  Makes it easier, not harder - while heated classes can strike fear into many, it really shouldn't. In fact, the heat makes it all the less scary! For the less bendy among us, the heat warms the muscles quickly, increasing suppleness and flexibility. So (while it's important not to over do it) you may find postures far less of a problem in the heat that you would in your bedroom.
  • Broadens the impact - one of the key factors of the heat is that it enhances the range of physical benefits. It makes the heart and lungs work harder - increasing the cardio and aerobic workout.
  • Zones you in - while some may feel the heat's benefits are purely physical, I think there's certainly a mental element as well. For me, the heat creates a hug, taking you away from the outside world and zoning you right into the flow of the class.
  • Works a sweat - there's a whole load of rubbish about weight loss and sweating - forget that, you don't loose weight from sweating, any you do is just from water loss. But, there are big health benefits from sweating: gentle detoxing, skin cleansing - and it feels great! 
The Vinyasa bit  Vinyasa probably means very little to a lot of you; and fair enough - it's an ancient Sanskrit word, that rarely crops up in day to day chat! Vinyasa means the linking of movement to breath. This is at the core of Vinyasa classes - coordination of breaths in and out with specific movements, enhancing focus, maximising impact and harnessing mental calm and focus. It's not all Bikram Hot yoga is still somewhat inextricably linked to Bikram yoga. And while this is in some ways fair, it's important to know there's a lot more out there and it's certainly not a case of 'tried one, tried them all'! Here's a few pointers as to the differences between our classes and Bikram, for example:
  • One hour not 90mins.
  • 37 degrees, not 42.
  • A flowing sequence with almost continuous movement rather than a sequence of static postures.
  • Variety and change from class to class, rather than a rigid set structure and sequence.
  • Music in classes.
  • All held in a womb-like, cocoon-like pod, rather than a regular studio.
  • No rules! Bikram classes tend to be quite strict on rules, we tend to be a little more relaxed with what you can and can't do in/pre/post class."
If you want to get into hot yoga or Bikram yoga, we would really recommend starting with this. There is so much in the press at the moment about the mind, mindfulness and its place in our overall health - and for good reason! There is no denying that taking the time to take part in a yoga class just once a week will do wonders for your mind and body. It may not be for everyone but try and find a local class and give it a go. See here for Hotpod yoga locations. 

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