Hot Yoga vs Regular Yoga (10 Differences & 14 Reasons Why You Should Try It)

A group of people taking a group hot yoga session

“Hot yoga” is a type of yoga that includes the use of heated rooms, sometimes with temperatures reaching up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat helps to keep muscles loose and increases flexibility by breaking up muscle tissue.

Regular yoga is also a wonderful form of exercise, but hot yoga offers so much more! Check out these 10 ways that hot yoga differs from traditional yoga.

Hot Yoga vs Regular Yoga: 10 Core Differences:

A woman and a man practicing hot yoga on towels

1) Hot Yoga is performed in a heated room.

The temperature during Bikram Hot Yoga, the most popular type of yoga, is usually 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity to ensure maximal sweat evaporation.

Other types of hot yoga have lower temperatures, but the higher temperatures allow you to reach your maximum level of flexibility and enhance blood flow in the body.

Don’t worry, though! You’ll be given a yoga mat and two towels when you check in at class so you will feel comfortable for your entire practice.

2) Increased flexibility

Heat plus increased blood flow encourages muscles and connective tissue to become more flexible than in a regular yoga class.

Poses such as the boat pose will be much easier when you understand how to engage your core and utilize your glutes, legs, and thighs!

Not only that, but the heat definitely helps when it comes time for headstands and other arm balances.

3) Sweatier than normal

You’ll find that you sweat quite a bit during hot yoga. This is because of both the temperature of the room itself as well as working much harder than normal due to using props like blocks and straps which take certain muscle groups out of the movement. Sweating is actually very healthy though because it releases toxins from the body which are responsible for sickness.

4) Your joints are more protected

When working on muscles in a heated room, there is less strain placed on the joints of the body which can be especially helpful for anyone who has conditions such as arthritis or who has been injured in the past.

Injuries from yoga happen very rarely, but they typically occur because someone has done too much too soon while being in an environment that’s not warm enough. (there are many more benefits of heat therapy which hot yoga is close to)

5) You burn a ton of calories

If weight loss is something that you’re looking for, hot yoga might be perfect for you! The increased blood flow and sweat will help flush fat and toxins from the body. Although it might not happen as quickly as in a spin class, you’ll still see some serious results if you can stick with what you’ve started!

6) Better sleep

Some people claim that they sleep much better after practicing hot yoga. This is especially true of Bikram (Hot 26), but other types of hot yoga may also help improve your night’s rest.

It could be because sweating so much releases toxins which could cause temporary insomnia or simply because exercising calms the mind and allows one to relax more.

Either way, this is a beautiful thing and should be experienced by everyone! 

7) Less clothing needed

Due to the temperature in hot yoga classes, there are fewer restrictions on what you can and cannot wear. (e.g. men wear only slippers)

Related article: Best non-see-through leggings for yoga

8) Your blood pressure will drop

I always thought that yoga was one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but did you know that it can also help regulate your heart rate?

Blood pressure drops significantly after about 45 minutes into a hot yoga class because of how relaxed and focused on the breath students become.

This will also get your blood flowing which helps get rid of toxins more quickly. When these things happen, many health problems such as hypertension and insomnia begin to decrease.

9) Students are encouraged to listen to their bodies

The first rule of hot yoga is that no one should push themselves past their personal limits! It’s very common for people who have never done yoga before to try Hot Yoga because it offers so many health benefits, but they quickly realize that there’s a fine line between pushing yourself and hurting yourself as well as knowing when you need to take a break.

Although this is the case for all types of yoga, it’s even more important in hot yoga because you’ll be going through more intense practice and will have no way of knowing how your body might react at first.

10) More suitable for people who have some Yoga experience

If you are new to yoga, hot yoga might not be for you just yet! It’s important to have a good grasp of basic yoga poses and breathing techniques so that you don’t injure yourself during practice.

There will also be an increased need for props such as blocks and straps to help get into certain poses so this may be intimidating if you haven’t taken a regular yoga class before.

So now that we’ve defined the distinctions between hot yoga and regular yoga, let’s look at some of the advantages that hot yoga may provide to your life.

You may also be interested in: Why am I so tired after yoga?

Hot Yoga vs Regular Yoga: 14 Hot Yoga Benefits

1) It’s great for your heart

Studies have shown that regular practice can reduce blood pressure[source] and lower cholesterol levels while improving overall cardiovascular health.

This might be because it reduces stress hormones like cortisol which negatively affect the immune system and increase inflammation in our bodies, or because it strengthens your heart by pumping more oxygen-rich blood around your body (which lowers inflammation). Either way, it’s a win!

2) It reduces stress

The heat increases blood flow to the skin which can make you feel more relaxed. The stretching in hot yoga also helps to release tension and increase flexibility and mobility too!

3) Your mood improves

Studies have shown that practicing yoga regularly can decrease depression and anxiety symptoms by increasing levels of serotonin (the happy hormone). Yoga is also linked with better sleep quality because it regulates melatonin production which makes us sleepy at night.

4) You get stronger without lifting weights

Hot yoga requires so much effort from your muscles that they begin to work up to 20% harder than during regular classes, meaning you burn more calories while enjoying a challenging and fun workout!

5) You can lose weight

Studies have found that yoga is an effective way to reduce belly fat (otherwise known as visceral fat). Visceral fat puts you at risk of many serious health conditions so this is definitely something to be happy about!

6) You’ll reduce your blood sugar levels

Yoga has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 diabetes. That means that cells are better able to absorb glucose, reducing the strain on your pancreas and also lowering your blood sugars. As a bonus, practicing regularly can help you feel less hungry too.

7) It improves your flexibility

The heat helps loosen tight muscles and improve range of motion, meaning you can stretch further in regular yoga classes too!

8) You’ll get a healthier heart and lungs

If you have asthma, practicing in the heat may help to open airways and reduce symptoms making it easier to exercise regularly. Hot yoga also strengthens your respiratory system by pumping more oxygen around your body which can lead to improved lung function (and reduced risk of problems like COPD).

9) You’ll balance your hormones naturally

Hormonal balance is vital for many aspects of our health including mood, sleep cycles, and weight loss/gain. It’s been shown that practicing certain poses regularly can help to regulate hormones and keep everything in check.

10) You’ll get rid of aches and pains

If you suffer from occasional headaches or back pain, you may find that working out regularly in the heat gradually reduces your symptoms. Hot yoga has been shown to improve migraine symptoms as well as arthritis pain alleviation compared to regular classes alone.

11) You’ll have fewer colds and other illnesses

Research has shown that people who practice yoga regularly take fewer sick days from work due to illness. The heat helps you sweat out toxins and the increased blood flow helps your immune system to fight off infections so there’s a much lower risk of getting ill!

12) You’ll increase your lung capacity

Like other forms of exercise, hot yoga increases our maximum oxygen intake allowing us to breathe deeper and more efficiently each time we practice. This is a great way to reduce stress and tension throughout the body as well as get a good night’s sleep too!

13) You’ll strengthen your joints

Joint problems, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, are some of the biggest issues facing older people who want to work out regularly. Yoga has been proven time and again to be safe on all kinds of joints including knees, hips, and shoulders. In fact, hot yoga may even help improve existing joint pain caused by injury or overuse!

14) You’ll become more resilient

Those new to hot yoga often find that their bodies heat up much faster than they’re used to during regular classes (and some never get used to it!). This means you push yourself that little bit harder each time which makes your body stronger and more robust overall.

Some questions you may have

A group of people finishing hot yoga classes and asking some questions to the instructor

Which is better hot yoga or regular yoga?

Choosing between regular yoga vs hot yoga always depends on each person’s physical and mental state as well as their goals.  However, if you are a frequent yoga practitioner, hot yoga may be preferable as it can lead to increased strength and flexibility.

Does hot yoga burn more calories than regular yoga?

a woman counting calories on her phone

No, you burn the same amount of calories (roughly 200-450 each session) with either one of these, but since you sweat more because of the higher temperature, you eliminate more poisons from your body, resulting in a better mood.

Does hot yoga really detox?

Yes, hot yoga can promote detoxification by enhancing sweating, skin cleansing, and lymphatic activity.
All the toxins that are stored in fat cells are not released unless these fat cells break down. Hot Yoga helps to burn off the unhealthy fats so that more of your body’s energy is free to work on releasing those toxins locked away in other areas. Burning these bad fats also increases the level of heat you produce which will create a stronger detoxifying effect.

Why do I smell so bad after hot yoga?

A lot of people who try hot yoga for the first time are surprised by how much their bodies sweat. You’ll also notice that you will start to smell really bad because your body isn’t used to the heat yet. It usually takes about one month for your body to adjust

Conclusion

Wow, we went through a pretty impressive amount of differences and benefits right there! Regular yoga has many health benefits too so if you want a gentle, relaxing workout then aim for a basic class but if you really want an intense experience with lots of physical challenges then why not try a hot yoga class?

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Written by

Amanda Deep

Hi there! I am Amanda Deep, an avid yoga practitioner, and fan. My love for the practice began more than 7 years ago when I was in college studying abroad in India. I found that at the end of a long day of sightseeing, learning about ancient culture, or exploring new places on my own, practicing yoga helped me to wind down and find peace both inside and out.

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