Logo Miss Dawson

What is Hot Yoga and is it good for men?

It may seem very obvious as, on the surface, the style of Hot Yoga requires no explanation. It’s just yoga practiced in a hot environment, right? but… what more is there to know?

Hot Yoga is a practice performed in a hot, humid environment. The room is typically heated to approximately 80-105 F and humidity turned up to 40 percent, often includes music and more interaction among the people in the class and sessions typically last 90 minutes.

However, the main question we should be asking is not even the “what” but the “why”. Why is it beneficial to practice yoga in a heated room? And of course, why has it become so popular in recent years? 

Read on to learn more about it!

How did Hot Yoga start?

It is common knowledge that the yoga discipline originated in India, known for its hot climate.

Understandably, the heat and high level of humidity affect the practice. Going through the pose sequence, the practitioners’ body is challenged in a variety of ways. It’s harder to breathe, the heart rate is elevated, and the body is sweating profusely.

The person credited with the “invention” of Hot Yoga as we know it is Bikram Choudhury, an Indian-born yoga teacher. During his time in Japan, he had the idea to heat the practice room to replicate the conditions he experienced in India. 

As a result, Bikram Yoga was born, which later gained popularity in the United States in 1970s. 

 
Hot yoga room

Bikram Yoga classes consist of a set sequence of 26 poses. Although many people use the terms Bikram and Hot Yoga interchangeably, it has since evolved beyond the 26-posture sequence. 

In fact, many studios that provide Hot Yoga classes use traditional Hatha approach in the heated environment. Due to Bikram Choudhury’s involvement in controversies including multiple lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment, many studios that adhere by the 26-pose format simply call it Hot Yoga to avoid associating the practice with Choudhury’s name.

What are the benefits of Hot Yoga?

So the question remains, what draws people to this practice? Why do people find it so useful?

 

Breathwork

Have you ever tried to go for a run on a hot day? It is considerably more difficult to perform physical activity when it’s warm, particularly when it comes to breathing. 

Breathwork is an integral part of the yoga practice, and the heated environment challenges it in a new way. However, the result is improved lung capacity and circulation.

Cardio Workout

In a similar fashion, the heart has to work hard to sustain the body of a yogi following a gruelling sequence of poses in the heat. To supply the body with enough oxygen, the breaths are more frequent and the heart beats faster. 

Hot Yoga is a great workout for anyone who wants to improve their cardiovascular health. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease, as well as regulating blood pressure.

 
Hot Yoga

Sweat it out

The addition of the heat results in practitioner sweating profusely throughout the duration of the yoga session. It’s the body’s natural response in an effort to cool down. Sweating is great for ridding the body of waste. 

In that respect, it has similar benefits to a sauna session. Furthermore, sweat makes the practice significantly more challenging compared to a standard yoga class. If you’ve ever had your hands and feet sliding apart in Downward Facing Dog, you know the struggle.

Extra Flexibility

The reason most physical activity starts with a warm-up is to prepare the muscles and ligaments for the action that’s about to follow. When “cold”, your muscles are stiffer and less flexible. 

In Hot Yoga, the heated room performs a similar function to a cardio or stretch warm-up. What’s more, once you get going, you may discover the ability to bend and stretch further that you’ve ever been able to before, all thanks to the heat.

FAQs

Is Hot Yoga good for men?

Hot Yoga can be very helpful to male practitioners. Many men struggle with flexibility doe to the lack of practice, and Hot Yoga is a great way to help them along. 

The heat makes stretches and bends more accessible and can reduce discomfort in the affected muscles

Hot yoga for men

Does it require additional equipment?

Technically, you can practice Hot Yoga with the same set of equipment you would use for non-heated styles. That said, extra equipment can really enhance your Hot Yoga practice. 

You might want to bringing a towel to a Hot Yoga class to help with the excessive sweating and it is also worth investing into a quality non-slip yoga mat that will stop your hands and feet from sliding. 

To quench the thirst resulting from the heat and the sweating, you may want to have a sizeable water bottle by your side. 

Some Hot Yoga classes run as long as 90 minutes, so make sure the bottle can meet your needs.

What are the risks of Hot Yoga?

Just like any other form of exercise, Hot Yoga comes with a risk of injury. 

It is important to stay mindful of your body throughout the practice. If at any point you feel exhausted or lightheaded, it’s a sign to take a break. 

You should also stop immediately if you feel any sharp pain or discomfort. 

While the heat can help to extend the limits of your flexibility, it is crucial that you do not overstretch the muscles and tendons. The heat can lull you into a false sense of security, so make sure to check with yourself every step of the way. 

Lastly, the extreme sweating may result in dehydration. Drink plenty of water and ease off if necessary.

Conclusion

Hot yoga provides many proven benefits to your body, mind and spirit as well as regular Yoga does but it may not be for everyone. It depends what is your level of engagement with the practice in the first place, your tolerance to heat and even your overall health condition.

The main difference with regular Yoga is that it can help you burn calories on top of build bone density, boost your cardiovascular fitness, improve your flexibility and it may also help reduce stress.

If you have any health conditions you must consult your doctor first before doing a hot yoga session.

If you’re healthy and already enjoy Yoga practise, this could be your next big challenge and just what you were looking for.

Why not giving it a go!