Hot yoga

Hot yoga is a form of yoga as exercise performed under hot and humid conditions, resulting in considerable sweating. Some hot yoga practices seek to replicate the heat and humidity of India, where yoga originated.[1] Bikram Choudhury has suggested that the heated environment of Bikram Yoga helps to prepare the body for movement and to "remove impurities".[2]


The first style described as hot yoga is that of Bikram Choudhury,[3] who devised it from traditional hatha yoga techniques[4] but then increased the temperature of the studios while in Japan to represent the heat of India. Bikram Yoga resulted, and became popular in the early 1970s after Choudhury moved to the United States.[5] The style incorporates 24 asanas and 2 breathing exercises along with a room heated to 105 °F (41 °C). Each class is 90 minutes long and has a fixed sequence of movements. The class ends with a two-minute savasana (corpse pose). Bikram Yoga differs markedly from other hot yoga styles, as shown in the table.[6]

Differences[6]Bikram YogaHot yoga (in general)
PosesFixed sequence
of 26 postures
Varied asanas in
varying sequences
105 °F (41 °C),
40% humidity
80–100 °F (27–38 °C),
varied humidity
LightingBright lights,
mirrored front wall
Any lighting, e.g. candles;
mirrors optional
SoundNo music,
no clapping
Music is common;
applause is common at the end
InteractionInstructors do not adjust students:
students self-adjust using mirror-wall;
students may not talk
Adjustments can be used;
interaction is permitted

Forrest Yoga is a style developed by Ana T. Forrest, c. 1982. The style focuses on holding poses for a longer duration. The repetition of twenty specific poses accentuates the stretch equally on each side of the body.[7]

CorePower Yoga, founded in 2002, is a vigorous multi-disciplinary hot yoga style.[8]

Baron Baptiste Power Yoga has the room heated somewhat less than Bikram Yoga. Baptiste, who learnt yoga from T. K. V. Desikachar and B. K. S. Iyengar as a boy, and had Indra Devi as godmother, uses a Vinyasa (flow) style, the breath linked to the movements, with emphasis on the gaze (Drishti) and the use of a lock, Uddiyana Bandha, to stabilize the core.[8]

Moksha yoga, also known as Modo Yoga, is based on Bikram Yoga. Moksha Yoga was founded in Canada in 2004 by human rights and environmental activists Jessica Robertson and Ted Grand.[9]

Tribalance Hot Yoga, created in Schaumburg, Illinois by Corey Kelly and Shawnda Falvo in 2007, is based on Bikram and Yin Yoga; it does not have a fixed series of asanas, and emphasises the meditational aspect of yoga.[10]


Exercise in high heat and humidity is contra-indicated for pregnant women, as there is an increased risk of exhaustion, and hence muscle injury and cartilage and tissue damage. Hormones and fetal development affect blood pressure, making the mother also more susceptible to fainting and lightheadedness if exercising in a hot environment.[11]


  1. Clark, Danielle. "What is the Real Buzz behind Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga?". Boston Sports Medicine. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  2. Hewett, Zoe L.; Cheema, Birinder S.; Pumpa, Kate L.; Smith, Caroline A. (2015). "The Effects of Bikram Yoga on Health: Critical Review and Clinical Trial Recommendations". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/428427. PMC 4609431. PMID 26504475.
  3. "Hot and Bothered: The Hype History of Hot Yoga".
  4. "Bikram's Yoga College of India". Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  5. Farrell, Maureen (3 September 2009). "Bikram Yoga's New Twists".
  6. Tripp, Megan (11 September 2013). "Hot Yoga vs Bikram Yoga: What's The Difference?". Boston Magazine.
  7. Cook, Lynn (15 February 2009). "Forrest yoga challenges with added intensity". Houston Chronicle.
  8. "What are the Benefits of Hot Yoga? How HOT is it?". Yogateket. 10 March 2010.
  9. "What is Hot Yoga? | Bikram - Moksha - Baron Baptiste". Hot Yoga Uppsala. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  10. "TriBalance Hot Yoga". Yogapedia. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  11. Chan, J; Natekar, A.; Koren, G. (2014). "Hot yoga and pregnancy: fitness and hyperthermia". Can Fam Physician. 60: 41–2. PMC 3994790. PMID 24452558.
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