Whilst hot yoga has become somewhat of a craze in London and the rest of the western world in recent years, the practice of yoga in hot conditions is not modern. Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram yoga, created this “heated” style of practice, in efforts to meet the climate in India, where yoga originated around 5,000 years ago.
Bikram yoga is the most common type of yoga associated with hot yoga. Although other styles can be applied in a hot room too, such as Vinyasa yoga or Power yoga.
Hot yoga benefits
Bikram yoga became highly popular in the west when Bikram Choudhury moved to the United States in the 1970’s and opened his chain of studios. This was following an injury he incurred in his teenage years that left him with the possibility of being unable to walk again. After designing a sequence of 26 yoga poses, which he claims enabled him to make a full recovery in just 6 months, he took his technique to the west and has since watched it grow exponentially.
The types of yoga that tend to be suited to these high temperatures are high-energy types of yoga where the added heat becomes an extra challenge for yogis. There are though in fact, many benefits from practicing in these conditions regularly.
Here are 5 great reasons to opt for hot yoga
(1) An intense cardio workout
There is no doubt about it, hot yoga increases the cardio work-out. This in turn strengthens the entire cardiovascular system, including your heart and lungs. If weight loss is one of your health objectives, then it may be interesting to know that a 90 minute Bikram yoga class can burn over 1,000 calories. This is dependent on your body weight, height and other variables and you do have to work for them!
(2) High levels of focus and concentration
90 minutes of intense stretching, posing and breathing, in tropical temperatures is difficult without good levels of focus and concentration. The added heat in the room means even more discipline is required with breathing. All in all it means there is little time to think about your shopping list, or the email you forgot to send for work.
(3) Greater determination
With Bikram yoga the routine is the same in each class. It is therefore possible to deepen your stretches and practice as a whole, as you are not pre-planning or pre-empting what pose comes next – the order is always the same 26 poses, practiced twice in a session.
This results in being able to really strive to hold your stretches and poses longer, or strive to perfection with your alignment. This attitude can get healthily addictive, as you become determined to master your practice.
Ashtanga yoga holds this same virtue but the energy created in a hot yoga class can hook even the most sceptical of yogis!
(4) Increased flexibility
The heated conditions of the yoga studio allows muscle relaxation so yogis find deeper stretches are easier to execute. This increased flexibility can help further your yoga practice and enhance a sense of achievement.
It is not uncommon to leave a hot yoga class absolutely soaked through to the bone with sweat! This heavy sweating enables toxins to exit the body through the skin pores.
Also, unused hormones and enzymes are released as the nervous and endocrine systems kick into action.
Hot Yoga in London
These are just a handful of the reasons why you may like to give hot yoga a try. There are plenty of options in London, with studios dedicated to hot yoga or Bikram yoga, as well as many studios that mix hot classes into their schedule.