Hot yoga is a vigorous form of yoga performed in a very warm and humid studio. There are many different types of hot yoga classes. During the Bikram form of hot yoga, the room is heated to approximately 105 F (40 C) and has a humidity of 40 percent.
Bikram yoga is a 90-minute program that consists of a series of different standing and stretching postures. The postures require lengthy, forceful and sustained contractions of all major muscle groups. The demanding nature of the poses and the heat are designed to raise your heart rate and exercise your muscles.
Researchers continue to study the pros and cons of hot yoga, including its effects on body fat and heart health.
Hot yoga is not for everyone. The intensity of the workout and the hot temperatures have the potential to cause heat-related illness. Be sure you check with your doctor before trying hot yoga, especially if you have any health concerns or if you are pregnant.
It's probably best to skip hot yoga if you have:
- Heart disease
- Problems with dehydration
- Heat intolerance
- A history of a heat-related illness (such as heatstroke)
If you have no health concerns and you want to try a hot yoga class, be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Stop if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or sick in any way.
Sept. 15, 2020
- Hunter SD, et al. Effects of yoga interventions practised in heated and thermoneutral conditions on endothelium-dependent vasodilatation: The Bikram yoga heart study. Experimental Physiology. 2018;103:391.
- Mace Firebaugh CJ, et al. Hydration and hot yoga: Encouragement, behaviors, and outcomes. International Journal of Yoga. 2017;10:107.
- Hewett ZL, et al. Effect of a 16-week Bikram yoga program on perceived stress, self-efficacy and health-related quality of life in stressed and sedentary adults: A randomised controlled trial. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 2018;21:352.
- Fishbein DB, et al. Overview of yoga. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 6, 2018.
- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 27, 2018.