Post coming soon.
25 Q & A Hot Yoga
#1. Q: Do I need previous yoga experience to start hot yoga? A: No, your very 1st yoga class ever can be a hot class. (Click to→ Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga.)
#2. Q: Does hot yoga benefit weight loss? A: Yes, but just like everything else, you’ll need to do it several times a week to see any weight loss. (Click to→ Hot Yoga for Weight Loss.)
#3. Q: Can I do hot yoga if I’m pregnant? A: Most likely, yes, but check with your doctor first, and you’ll need to modify some postures. (Click to→ Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga.
#4. Q: Can hot yoga be dangerous? A: For people in general good health, hot yoga is not dangerous if you go to a reputable yoga studio with qualified instructors.
#5. Q: Isn’t it true that hot yoga can raise your core temperature to unsafe levels?
A: If the studio you attend keeps the hot yoga room at the correct temperatures, i.e. 105° and under, and you do not practice for longer than 90 minutes there should not be a problem. Your body is smarter than you think, if you really need to leave the room, no one is locking the door! If you have a previous history of heat induced conditions, you’ll probably want to give hot yoga a miss.
#6. Q: Where does hot yoga come from? A: Yoga is a 5000 year old practice originating from eastern cultures.
Adding heat and humidity to the practice is an development that is attributed to Bikram Choudhury starting in the early 1970’s.The theory is that India, considered the mother of yoga is already a temperate climate, therefore no additional heat is needed to practice there. Those of us living in the northern hemisphere are known to flock to the heat whenever we can get it, therefore the practice of hot yoga has gained favour in many cold weather climates. (Click to→ Bikram Yoga)
#7. Q: Some yoga teachers are against hot yoga, why? A: As with anything that deviates from the original version, there will be those that feel that more traditional ways are better. There are yoga professionals and practitioners who do not like hot yoga because they do not see the benefits, however like anything else, each individual should be free to decide what feels good for their own bodies and not anyone else’s.
#8. Q: Is it true that you sweat out toxins in hot yoga? A: Surprisingly, No. Your liver and kidneys are the main organs doing most of the actual detoxification work in your body. That doesn’t mean that sweating isn’t good for you. It does help clear pores, giving your skin a healthy glow, but no, the sweat dripping into your eyeballs does not contain any toxins.
#9. Q: Can children do hot yoga? A: Children do not have a fully developed heat regulation system and are therefore susceptible to overheating, so hot yoga is generally not recommended for children 12 and under. However, non-heated yoga is absolutely wonderful for kids of all ages. To read more about children’s yoga (Click to→ Not Hot Yoga)
#10. Q: How about teenagers, can they do hot yoga? A: A resounding YES. Once they have gone through puberty, teenagers are physically the same as any adult. Mentally, they’re a little different and it’s here that hot yoga is very beneficial for them. Once you get them into the hot room there’s no checking text messages or chatting online. Being in the hot room build’s mental focus and physically improves their flexibility. Just make sure they are properly hydrated, as they tend to forget to drink afterwards.
#11. Q: Is hot yoga more expensive than normal yoga? A: Yes, it usually is due to higher operating costs. If your are attending a dedicated hot yoga studio such as Bikram or Moksha (Moda) it could be between $20-$30 more per month for a membership. In my city the Bikram studios charge between $100-$130 per month for unlimited memberships and Moksha is slightly higher, but only by a few dollars. If you choose a yoga studio that offers only limited hot classes, you may find there is no cost difference. If you choose a higher end yoga studio with more amenities (steam room, massage, etc) you’ll pay more at a higher end studio than the average hot yoga studio.
#12. Q: What time of day is the best for taking a hot yoga class?
A: Morning is the general consensus amongst my fellow yogi’s, although this is an answer that is up for debate. It depends on your body clock and daily schedule, really. For many people practicing in the morning is logistically easier (1 shower needed as opposed to 2) and many people feel an energy surge after a hot yoga class and that works well into the rest of the day if you practice in the morning. Occasionally when I’ve practiced in the evening after 8:00 pm, I’ve had some trouble getting to sleep. Again, you need to know your body clock and how it ticks. Evening classes do work well for many people as well.
#13. Q: Can I practice hot yoga at home? A: Probably not, unless you have some kind of special set up at home (like a sauna or steam room), raising the heat and humidity levels in any room of your home could cause damages to the building, so for the general public, hot yoga is not an at home practice. However there are many other options for a variety of styles of at home yoga practice. Read more… (Click to→ Not Hot Yoga)
#14. Q: Can it be bad to do too much hot yoga? A: Depends on what you would consider too much. For most people 3-4 hot yoga classes a week is a full plate. As long as you are careful to stay sufficiently hydrated you can practice as you please. I practice 5 times a week, but I do sometimes intersperse with reduced heat and non-heated classes when I feel like I’ve had enough of the heat. Again, only do what feels right and good for you.
#15. Q: I am underweight, is hot yoga still ok for me? A: If you’re slightly underweight, and in general good health, hot yoga is fine. If you suffer from Anorexia, Bulimia, or other eating disorder, please talk to your doctor before beginning a hot yoga practice.
#16. Q: Can I start hot yoga in menopause? A: Menopause is not a disease, it’s just another phase of life, but many women do suffer from hot flashes so it’s logical to think you wouldn’t want to add hot yoga into that mix. However, that assumption for many women does not match the experience. For this question the answer is too long to answer in a brief Q & A format, to read more (Click to→ Hot Yoga Over Fifty)
#17. Q: Will hot yoga aggravate my skin condition? A: Possibly, yes. But it might also work wonders. You would need to check with your doctor before trying a class, but in hot yoga circles we hear of people’s eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis improving after taking up hot yoga. It’s essential that your skin condition is non-contagious. Also make sure there is no medication on your skin during a hot yoga class because it can run into your eyes with your sweat and cause stinging. (Click to→ Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga)
#18. Q: What should I bring to my first hot yoga class? A: Bring your yoga mat, a mat towel or just a big towel to put on your mat, another towel to shower with, and a water bottle. Those are the bare basics. (Click to→ Stuff you need)
#19. Q: I have previous injuries, can I still try hot yoga? A: Most likely not a problem. Speak to the instructor before the class and let them know your concerns. They should show you how to modify your postures if needed. Many people find yoga a very healing practice, whether it’s hot or not. Hot yin maybe a good place to start (Click to→ Types of Hot Yoga)
#20. Q: I’ve heard you can overstretch in hot yoga and hurt yourself, is this true? A: You can overstretch and hurt yourself in any activity, this isn’t specifically to do with hot yoga. Just because the room is hot and you feel like you can might be able to stretch a little more than usual doesn’t mean you leave your common sense at the door. If you are mindful of what you’re doing, and follow the instructions of a qualified instructor, this should never happen.
#21. Q: But injuries do happen in yoga, don’t they? A: Yes, they do but yoga injuries, for the most part, are completely avoidable. First, don’t follow any instruction that doesn’t seem safe or right for you. Second, don’t try full inversions unless you’re one on one with an experienced instructor. Finally if you’ve lost your breath, you’ve lost the yoga, back off and re-group. If you’re interested in some of the main safety cues instructors should be calling (Click to→ Teacher’s Corner)
#22. Q: Are there any men doing hot yoga? A: Hell, yeah! Conservatively speaking I would estimate the rise of men participating in hot yoga classes to be well over 100% in the last five years. To define what that means: say in 2010 you might have seen 5 out of 25 participants in a hot yoga class being male. Today, it will be more like 10 out of 25. Especially in the more strenuous classes like Bikram yoga, I’ve been in many classes where the gender ratio is more like 50-50.
#23. Q: I’m over 50, is it safe for me to do hot yoga A: Being over fifty does not have any bearing on whether hot yoga will be suitable for you. Just like anyone else you will need to be aware of your own body history and listen to your body once you enter the hot room. If you have any special health concerns, speak to the instructor prior to the class and ask their recommendations regarding any concerns particular to your body. To read more about this (Click to→ Hot Yoga Over Fifty)
#24. Q: I’m over 60, is it safe for me to do hot yoga A: See answer above. Case in point, a few of the most avid, long time devotees of hot yoga I’ve seen were in people in their 70’s. I can think of at least 4 practitioners I’ve met that put many in the class to shame with their prowess in the hot room. Although yoga isn’t really like that, it gives me a thrill to watch a septuagenerian perform a pose with such strength and grace that it makes me want to crawl under a rock.
#25. Q: Can you do too much hot yoga A: Yes, and your body will tell you how much is too much. You just need to make sure you listen. One person may find the heat overstimulates their immune system, while it has no such effect on another person. Know you’re body, listen to it and learn what it’s telling you.
If you a general hot yoga question that hasn’t been answered here or in any of the related posts please leave you comments in the box below. Cheerio, Connie.
CALLING ALL HOT YOGA BEGINNERS
You probably wouldn’t be reading this unless you or someone you know is interested in taking your first hot yoga class. Or maybe you’ve already taken a couple of classes and that has peaked your interest to find out more about hot yoga. If you haven’t yet, you should read my post about the different types of hot yoga classes in the yoga market place these days.
If you’re looking to try a hot yoga class the most accessible way for many people is to find a studio nearby that offers hot classes. Location and convenience is an important factor when you’re starting anything new. You’re just more likely to go if it’s easy to get to with convenient class times that suit your schedule.
I started hot yoga classes at my local studio and that was perfectly fine for me as a beginner. Now, I’m willing to travel a little further to go a studio that is dedicated to hot yoga. You will know when and if you are ready for that. For more information about two styles of dedicated hot yoga series please see my review Bikram vs Moksha.
So, dear hot yoga beginner, let’s arm you with some information to give you the best start possible in your first hot yoga class and beyond.
BEFORE YOU GO
- Make sure you arrive about 20 min ahead of class time.
- Pre-hydrate. No one ever told me this until much later and I wish I had known better. Drink at least a litre of water 30 min-1 hour prior to class.
- Eat a light snack about 1 hour before class, a piece of fruit, small sandwich, snack bar, etc.
- Make sure you don’t eat a large meal closer than 2 hours before class.
- Clean your nostrils. No, I mean it. It really helps your breathing once you’re in the class. Those of us who have been through traditional style of yoga teacher training will fondly recall the lessons on the “Neti-pot”. Beginners, if you don’t know what a neti-pot is, you won’t need to, I digress.
- Wash any make up, sunblock or moisturizer off your face and chest as these products can run into your eyes along with your sweat and may cause your eyes to burn.
WHAT TO WEAR & WHAT TO BRING
Ladies Yoga Wear: Sleeveless, stretchy tank style top or sports bra, stretchy shorts with a deep crotch or yoga pants
Mens Yoga Wear: Luckily you can go topless. Bike style shorts or Underarmour.
What NOT to wear: Loose gym shorts with or without netting. There are alot of forward folds, you may unknowingly expose people behind you to an “eyeful”. Gym shorts with a netting inside will restrict your movement in the standing series of postures. Loose tops on ladies will have the girls spilling out during forward folds, as said there are a whole lot of those.
Stuff you need: A water bottle, insulated stainless or glass, plastic is not recommended for hot yoga. A good mat, rent one from your studio if you don’t have one. Don’t buy a higher end mat until you’ve practiced for at least 30 days and determined that hot yoga is indeed up your alley. 2 towels, one to lay on your mat and one to shower with afterwards.
ONCE YOU’RE IN THE HOT ROOM
- Before the class begins take Savasana (Corpse Pose), with your feet pointing to the back of the class (lay in the direction everyone else is laying in). Breathe naturally and enjoy the heat. If the class is crowded, pull in your wings!
- For at least the first few classes choose a spot nearer to the back of the class so you can see what the other participants are doing.
- Place your mat in a position that allows you to have at least a partial view of yourself in the mirror and don’t place your mat directly smack dab in front of someone else’s mat eliminating their view!
- Try to do a “single entry”. That means go in and stay in, not in and out to get water, have a chat, go pee, etc. Do everything you need to do before you go in, then stay in. This helps the room retain the heat and courteous for the practitioners who arrive early just to enjoy their pre-class Savasana.
- Once in the hot room, silence is usually observed until the teacher enters.
DURING THE CLASS
- Breathe, make this your #1 focus. In and out THROUGH THE NOSE, unless otherwise instructed by the teacher.
- Listen to the teachers instructions and watch the people in the front row, they’re usually the more experienced participants.
- As a beginner don’t try too hard to keep up. Rest when you want. Take a kneeling position to rest if you’re just tired or take child’s pose, then Savasana if you really need to.
- Resist the urge to leave the room, even if you need to lay down for most of the class, just remaining in the hot room for the whole class is the end goal the first few times.
- If you start to feel dizzy, don’t try to leave the room quickly because you could fall over. Stay on your mat, take a kneeling pose first, concentrate on breathing in and out through your nose, if you feel you need to go to child’s pose, then take Savasana if your body tells you that’s what you need. If, after the dizziness subsides you really do need to leave, then do so for a few minutes, once your heart rate calms down, GO BACK IN.
- If you feel nauseous, don’t be shy, let the teacher know and they will assist you.
AFTER THE CLASS
- Re-hydrate and replenish electrolytes. Lemon water (or a small chunk of himylayan salt in your water), unsweetened coconut water or kombucha are all good choices.
- Now you can eat a healthy meal, you’ve earned it!
- Book your next class right away. In order to feel the full benefits of hot yoga you should try to go to at least 3 classes the first week. Even if the first class is a challenge you may feel quite different after the 3rd class. Like anything else, you should give hot yoga a chance to produce positive effects (although I personally did feel fantastic after my very first hot yoga class).
- Wash your mat and use a mat spray, then hang it to dry. If you don’t it’ll get funky on you.
IS HOT YOGA GOOD FOR EVERYONE?
No, it won’t be for everyone. Nothing is good for everyone. You know you, you know your body, you know your health history. So, use your common sense. If you try it out for a couple of weeks and it doesn’t make you feel good or you don’t see the benefits, maybe it’s not for you. Just because everyone and their down dog are into hot yoga doesn’t necessary mean it’s the right thing for you. Only you can decide that. And if you decide hot yoga’s not your fancy then check out NOT HOT YOGA.
IS HOT YOGA OK DURING PREGNANCY?
Please talk to your doctor about this and/or discuss with the manager of the studio you’re going to. I’ve seen over the years at least a dozen different pregnant ladies practicing hot yoga right up to full term, always adjusting their postures accordingly and never seen or heard of any negative effects on those particular pregnancies (gone to a few yoga baby showers!). However, every woman and every pregnancy is unique and what one pregnant woman can do isn’t any indication that it’s ok for every other pregnant woman to follow suit. At bare minimum you will need to have proper instruction about how and when to adjust the postures to suit the various phases of your pregnancy. Some postures are absolutely not suitable for a pre-natal practice regardless of whether it is a hot class or not. Please remember that even though you are the one attending the class (which may feel good to you) your unborn baby may be affected differently and cannot exactly voice their opinion yet!
I will say that I love seeing the beauty of those glistening bellies practicing along side me, it’s a testament to the fact that women can be at their strongest, and triumphantly active during these nine special months. Both my boys were born before my “yoga revolution” but I swam 40 laps every other night during both pregnancies up until the week of delivery and there were people who thought I was crazy doing that. Both my boys today are robust specimens of perfect health, so to say I believe in staying active during pregnancy is an understatement. But just to reiterate, please seek the advice of your health care professional before participating in hot yoga during your pregnancy. If you have specific questions regarding practicing Bikram yoga or Moksha yoga during your pregnancy, I touch on this in my review Bikram vs Moksha.
Also, check out → 21 HOT YOGA Q & A.
In the meantime, if you have other questions that aren’t answered here…your comments are welcome, please leave them in the box below.
Bikram vs Moksha – A Comparison
Comparing Bikram vs Moksha yoga is a little like comparing fraternal twins. Both practices are grown from the same root (hatha yoga) and also connected in other ways. After practicing Bikram yoga for 4 years followed by Moksha yoga for the last 7 months I now have enough insight on both sides to do a comparison. I have read other online reviews on this subject and some bloggers are simply regurgitating what they’ve read in other online reviews or they have a strong bias or affiliation with one or the other of these practices. I do not. I am a Hatha Yoga teacher, but not a hot yoga teacher. My viewpoint for this post is strictly as a practitioner and hot yoga enthusiast.
If you haven’t already done so, you can go to the individual reviews of each practice for the facts and ratings of both Moksha (Moda) yoga and Bikram yoga. This post is strictly a comparison post with the view to provide some clarity for people wanting to start practicing hot yoga and trying to choose between these two big players in the hot yoga marketplace.
Are Bikram and Moksha are related?
At the most basic level both practices are based on traditional Hatha yoga postures. On a more interesting note, the founders of Moksha yoga were both trained Bikram yoga instructors prior to their incarnation as founders of their own regime. Does this make Moksha yoga a watered down version or worse yet, an altered plagerization of the Bikram series?
I have pondered this carefully and for me the answer is no. Bikram did not invent any of the 26 postures in the Bikram yoga practice. He simply put them in a certain order and added heat and humidity to the mix. It was a serendipitous recipe for Bikram, combined with the age old lucky strike of ‘the right time and place’, the practice was embraced and he now has over 1000 franchises bearing his name. I believe that the Moksha founders did have the Bikram practice in mind when they designed their series. They took what was there and changed it to suit the masses, keeping some aspects of the series and changing others so the entire series would be more accessible to the beginning or average yogi. There would have been nothing to stop Bikram from doing this himself. Yet he did not, so really at some point someone had to. Then along came Moksha.
What is Bikram – What is Moksha
Bikram: This practice is more difficult, the teachers “dialogue” is unforgiving, urging participants to push further, try harder, hold poses longer. All classes are 90 minutes, which is a long time in a room that is hotter and more humid than most other hot yoga rooms. Each posture is repeated so just when you think you can’t do the posture again, you have to. In my opinion the Bikram series is not suitable for an absolute beginner, although they claim it is. It is gladly embraced by more experienced hot yogis the world over.
Moksha (Moda): Definitely the easier yoga series. The teachers are very careful not to push the participants to do anything outside of their comfort zone. Quite the opposite mentality to Bikram, and likely designed to be that way. Most classes are 60 minutes, with some longer class options. Different class types offered, some studios even offer non-heated classes. The average participant is at beginner to intermediate level.
Bikram: The teachers have been put through the ringer, so to speak. Nine weeks of grueling training presided over by the man himself (Bikram Choudhury). The training costs an arm and a leg. Of the roughly 30 some odd Bikram instructors I have met and taken classes with, I would say about 50% of them fall in the “edgy” category. To me “edgy” does not have a negative connotation. It means the instructors have interesting personalities and quirks, despite teaching from a scripted “dialogue”. I’ve met the odd warm and fuzzy Bikram teacher, but they are in the minority. There is a cult like quality amongst the teachers who are often quoting or telling stories about Bikram. That they are teaching from a script written by Bikram speaks to the level of dedication and belief they have of the power of the practice. I found certain phrases from the dialogue to be annoying (“now fold together like a japanese ham sandwich” -really?) but as a participant I found it generally worked well. Also, I would often see teachers practicing in the room with me when not teaching which is again a testament to their dedication to practice what they teach. Still, generally, the nature of the scripted practice means you get a consistent work-out, fairly comprehensive safety tips, and it doesn’t matter who the instructor is, you can depend on the same 26 x 2 postures time after time.
Moksha (Moda): The teachers all have a Moksha yoga basic training, 1 month long, then they are assigned to one of the franchise locations to complete the next 11 months of training, somewhat like a practicum or a stage. Moksha teachers are actually warm and fuzzy. They all talk in a very mindful manner and since they do not use an actual script, there is the opportunity for them to interject their philosophies of life, yoga, and other subjects once in awhile. Bikram teachers do this too but sooner or later have to get back to the script so it’s not as prevalent. For me the yoga, the breath, and the heat is what brings me to a spiritual place. I tend to tune out when the philosophizing starts. One thing I’ve noticed about some Moksha teachers is their tendency to speak very very slowly, enunciating each syllable of each word. This drives me a little batty because it sounds somewhat inauthentic. I have a post touching on the subject of “the authentic voice” in the teacher’s corner page.
Bikram: I have been inside 5 different Bikram locations. One word: Spartan. Just like the many of their teachers, these places are not warm and fuzzy. Comparing the 3 main studios I attended, the classes at first location still had carpets in the hot room (which frankly is pretty gross) which is the main reason I went to the 2nd location, which was ok, but it had open showers which brought back memories of grade 7 (not a good year for me). None of these locations were places I liked to hang out in after I was done class, ever. The facilities range from adequate to in need of maintenance. If you’re looking to get comfy Bikram yoga isn’t too conducive to that. The staff at every location I’ve been are rather perfunctory which for me is not an issue. I go, I do my yoga, I shower, I leave. If you’re a member some (but not all) Bikram locations offer a free first class if you bring friends or family (sometimes they provide a mat and towel also), which is a very nice offer, that I’ve taken advantage of several times. For more details about the Bikram practice, the studios, the negatives and positives please see my specific review of Bikram Yoga.
Each franchise is individually owned so the vibe of each location can be very different. However, I’ve visited 3 Moksha different locations so far and they were all very inviting. They all have a common area where people can and do gather, sip tea, have a chat both before and after their classes. Teachers, studio owners, and students all mix and mingle. In my studio there is always tea and sometimes people bring treats to share. I never expected to, but I’ve made some pleasant acquaintances in a few short months. The staff are very engaged and do a great job remembering everyone’s names, which is part of what creates the “community” feeling of Moksha yoga. They have an “ambassadors” program allowing select individuals help out in exchange for free class and merchandise benefits. The changing facilities are excellent, spotless, and very well maintained. Operations wise Moksha definitely wins hands down over Bikram. For more details about the Moksha practice, the studios, the negatives and positives please see my specific review of Moksha Yoga also known as Moda Yoga
Which is better Bikram or Moksha?
Full disclosure, I actively practice both Moksha and Bikram yoga. I go to Moksha for my everyday practice and I top up at Bikram when I’m needing the extra “jolt”. Lately that’s been once or twice a month. But If I had to choose one or the other, it would be …. drum roll please …. Moksha, pretty much hands down.
That’s all folks for the comparison of Moksha vs Bikram. For more information about the basics of hot yoga please see click on → Types of Hot Yoga ←.
Comments are welcome, please leave them in the box below. Regards, Connie
Hot Flow – Vinyasa Yoga
What does Vinyasa mean?
Vinyasa in sanskrit has a variety of meanings. In relation to yoga it means “a gradual progression from one pose to the next pose, initiated by breath”. When a teacher says “now take a vinyasa” in most classes what they’re actually meaning is for you to perform a “sun salutation” which is the most common form of vinyasa practiced in yoga classes. In fitness jargon, the vinyasa-flow class is a dynamic class (constant movement) as opposed to a static class (maintaining stillness, such as in Hatha yoga).
Sun Salutation Flow – Vinyasa:
The above version of the sun salution is adapted as per the instructors lesson plan. Especially in hot flow-vinyasa classes you may see posture #4 and #9 omitted and then inserted in another part of the class. This series looks fairly easy and is suitable for most beginner but if done correctly in a properly heated room, you will work up a sweat after just 2 or 3 rounds, trust me!
The most important thing to remember in a hot vinyasa class is to:
Breathe, Breathe, Breathe!
A down dog knows that a qualified Vinyasa instructor should be preceding each posture call with either an “inhale” or “exhale” cue. This should be the case during the entire class. Without the breath, there is no yoga. The sun salutation vinyasa is the basis of most flow classes, hot or not. This basic vinyasa is combined with a standing series, usually followed by a floor series. However I’ve attended classes that combine the sun salutation with Pilates mat exercises, arm balances, and other variations. But the basics remain the same, in-hale, move, ex-hale, move. If you’re a yoga instructor looking for some cueing tips, please go to the teachers corner page.
Because a vinyasa or flow yoga class involves constant movement, there is sometimes the assumption that it must be more difficult.
Hmm, let’s have a look at this…
Vinyasa (Flow) vs Hatha yoga (non-flow)
Some studios name their flow classes Power Yoga which implies that flow classes are more strenuous than non-flow classes. So, which type of class is easier? There’s no homogenous answer to this because everyone is different. I personally find flow classes to be LESS difficult and I will attempt to argue in favour of that. When you are flowing from one posture to another at some point you will use momentum to assist you, especially if the instructor cues the flow in quick succession. You have little or no time to focus on specific muscular tension, i.e. your muscles don’t usually do the “shakey” thing in vinyasa classes.
A quick experiment might be more meaningful:
A test – Is Vinyasa or Hatha harder?
- Take your resting heart rate.
- Make sure you’re warmed up before beginning the flows
- Set a timer
- Do 4 sun salutions in a row timing yourself, beginning to end
- Note the time.
- Take your heart rate.
- Rest (back to resting heart rate, or do #8 the next day)
- Set the timer for the time it took to do the 4 vinyasas
- Get into chair pose, go to your edge, hold it for as long as you possibly can or until the clock runs out.
- Take your heart rate as soon as you come out of the pose (you may not last the whole time)
- The higher heart rate tells give you which yoga is harder for you.
Hot Vinyasa for Beginners
If you’re a complete yoga beginner I would recommend you try a Hot Hatha based class to start with, just to get the hang of the postures and the effect of the heat on your body. After a couple of classes, definitely go for a Vinyasa / Flow class. I do a combination of various hot classes and I know definitely, for my body, the Hatha series is more challenging, however I favour the flow classes because, again just for me, they are more fun and dynamic. For more beginner information please read Types of Hot Yoga and Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga.
And, that’s a wrap. See you next post.
Comments are welcome, please leave yours in the box below. Cheerio, Connie
REVIEW OF MOKSHA (MODA) YOGA
Hot Yoga for Everyone
This is an everyman series of yoga. Moksha Yoga was founded by Jessica Robertson and Ted Grand, yoga professionals from Toronto Canada in 2004. There are now franchised studios in many major centres in Canada and the US bearing the Moksha (Modo in the US) emblem, as well as Sydney Australia. Likely there are Moksha trained instructors teaching in studios around the world in hot yoga studios not officially bearing the Moksha emblem. Yoga teachers tend to get around that way. This is a very accessible series of postures designed to appeal to the general median of yoga practitioners seeking an unintimidating, nurturing kind of practice. Although each studio is independently owned and operated they are all guided by the company core values known as “the 7 pillars”. More about that later. It is difficult to review Moksha without referencing Bikram yoga. Because there is a connection. For an more in-depth comparision of the 2 practices please see our review Bikram vs Moksha.
NOTE: Below is the description of Moksha (Moda) Yoga as presented by their website literature, studio owners, and instructors.
Temperature: 100° Fahrenheit, 35% Humidity
Duration: 60-90 Minutes
Postures: Approximately 40 Hatha Postures, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises).
Level: Beginner, and all levels
Instructors: All certified specifically to teach Moksha/Moda Yoga. If you’re interested in teacher training please → click here ←
Variations: Moksha, Moksha Flow, Hatha, Yin, and others dependent on the studio
Good to know: Karma classes once at week by donation
MY RATING: ♦♦♦♦♦
Variety is the spice of life. Moksha yoga is based a set sequence of Hatha postures, but they change it up just enough to keep it interesting, yet still keep it consistent for the most part. My very first Moksha class was live music class. They tucked 2 live guitarists/singers into the side the class on a mat and the teacher lead the class at the front with a very minimal verbal cues. I wasn’t sure how this was going to affect my practice, but I went in with an open mind. Well, it turns out that out of all the classes I’ve ever attended at any studio (that would be over 2000 classes) the Moksha Live Music classes may well be my all time favourite. I was not expecting it to happen, but I reached my yoga nirvana that day and now I attend those classes whenever they I can. As well as the music classes there are also Moksha flow, Hatha with reduced heat, Yin, and a number of other classes. Although this is a franchise, the individual studios make their own decisions as to what varieties of Moksha classes to offer so check your Moksha or Moda location to see what different classes are on the roster.
Butt of Course. I am in currently in my 7th month of regular Moksha practice which is usually 5 classes per week. Since starting Moksha I have noticed a remarkable improvement in the tautness of my butt. I say remarkable because my significant other has remarked on it several times starting about 3 months ago. It seems a little unladylike to talk about my own butt, but I think we’re past that, so here I go into detailed butt talk. Examining the Moksha standing series tells me that this is due to cueing method used by all the teachers for the Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1), Anjaneyasana (Crescent / Low Lunge) poses. Specifically they cue you to “try to drag your feet toward one another”. Your feel won’t actually move but if you follow this cue it completes the activation of the adductor, abductor and all your gluteus muscles. I won’t get into too much more of the technicalities except suffice to say I am a big fan of anything that can sculpt my glutes without using a sharp instrument or putting me under general anesthetic. Butt of course, the fifth star in this review can be attributed directly to this fact.
Community Minded. This is all about Moksha’s 7 pillars. They are 1. Be Healthy, 2. Be Accessible, 3. Live Green, 4. Community Support, 5. Reach Out, 6. Live to Learn, 7. Be Peace. I’m not really sure I’ve got them in the right order but you get the general drift. According to the Moksha website information they were the originators of the “karma” class which is a class open to all by donation. Proceeds are donated to various charitable organizations, such at the David Suzuki Foundation, to name just one. Since it’s inception in 2005, Moksha has raised over 3 million dollars from their karma class participants. At our studio the once a week Friday night karma class is always full and that’s when I’ll bring friends or visitors who want to try a class with me. I think this is a commendable way for any organization to give back to the community and the founders of Moksha and their studios deserve kudos for initiating this.
Studio. Technically, Moksha has the most consistent heating system I’ve encountered. All studios are built with infra-red panels which delivers a gentle heat that doesn’t scorch your nostrils when you breath. They also build their locations using salvaged recyclable materials whenever possible. I commend their commitment to the environment and will add that company such as Starbucks should have a look at the way Moksha sets out parameters for their franchise and hang their heads in shame. I have only seen 3 Moksha studios so far but they all had the same vibe. If I could only choose one word to describe that vibe, it would be “inviting”. People working and running these studios are genuine, open, and very approachable. Where I have my membership, everyone seemed to know my name after just a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, not many yoga studios are like this. The first place I ever practiced was a very quiet atmosphere. People tip toed around and there wasn’t much chatting in the foyer or much of a community feel. Not that it wasn’t a nice place to practice but in comparison to the vibe at Moksha, it was just completely different.
Moksha for Weight loss. I will preface this by saying that what my experience has been with Moksha in regards to weight loss may not be typical and/or the same as what may or may not happen with anyone else. Since starting my Moksha practice 7 months ago, I believe I have lost 8-10 lbs. I say I believe because I don’t actually own a scale. I don’t believe in scales (and sometimes I just plain don’t believe them). After the first month at Moksha my pants started to slide down my hips and my love handles (oh yeah, I had’em alright) are now gone. I can actually see my abs in the mirror and yes, there are more than 2 of them. I want to be clear that if you think you can just go to Moksha yoga and the pounds will melt off, you’re probably wrong. So, why did I lose weight? Well, first off, I wasn’t trying to, or focused on, losing weight. If I had been, maybe I would’ve actually bought a scale. What I was focused on was building my practice to a consistent 5-6 times a week and working hard in every class. I believe both factors to be a key if you’re looking to lose weight with any yoga practice. If you are practicing 2-3 times a week, I don’t believe you can expect any weight loss. If you’re only practicing at half mast when you’re in the hot room, ditto, no results. Sure, I have my low days but in most classes I am giving it all I’ve got, using every muscle in every posture, my limbs shaking trying to build strength, sweat pouring off me. I’m not there to look pretty but when I’ve finished the class, I feel beautiful. To read more about hot yoga and weight loss → click here ←.
A little too easy. As described, Moksha is yoga for “everyman”. It’s right there in their 7 pillars, be accessible. However, I feel that there is room for improvement for those that are looking for a more challenging practice. My location currently does not offer advanced classes. With only 1 or 2 exceptions the teachers tend to cue the postures to be held for very short periods of time. It is not completely consistent in that regard. Verbally, the emphasis seems to be purposefully geared towards not pushing the participants to put in more effort than they want to. To temper my critique I undertand that while I sometimes do not find this practice challenging enough maybe the same reason beginners are drawn to it. Still, those beginners will progress as well and there could be a happier medium struck by some positive “pushing” for those that need it like myself.
A tad expensive. I have an all inclusive membership and it costs me $147.00 CAD a month. In comparison to other places I’ve practiced that is about $20-$30 more per month. Being a fairly astute consumer I wouldn’t pay it if I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. Still a fair note that Moksha is positioned on the higher end of yoga pricing.
Inconsistent teachers narration. Again, it’s difficult to review Moksha yoga without mentioning Bikram yoga. While the “dialogue” of a Bikram class provides complete consistency right down to how long the poses are held, Moksha teachers do not have such a tool. There are earmarks of some element of speech coaching when listening to a Moksha teachers speak but they do not have a solid framework to rule out cueing errors and ensure safety cues are not left out. Of particular concern to me are missing safety cues, one example is advising people not to let their front knee ride past their ankle in Warrior 2. This cue is part of the Bikram dialogue but I have only heard this safety cue mentioned a few times in approximately 140 classes I’ve attended at Moksha. To read more about yoga teacher safety cues please click to the → teacher’s corner ←.
That’s all folks, my on review on the practice of Moksha (Moda) Yoga. Click here to see my review of Bikram vs Moksha (Moda) yoga.
Your comments are welcome, please leave them in the comment box below. Thank you, Connie.
REVIEW OF BIKRAM YOGA
Why do they call it the torture chamber?
No, I did not make that up, they really call it that. This is straight from the lips of almost every Bikram yoga instructor I have had which is roughly 30 different instructors. The phrase is supposedly coined by Bikram Choudhury himself, the man who developed the practice and put together the sequence of postures that now has devotees and franchises all over the world. First, I will provide the details and description of what exactly Bikram Yoga is and then I will review Bikram Yoga with full disclosure that I have practiced this series for over 4 years and continue to practice it whenever I get the opportunity.
NOTE: Below is the description of Bikram Yoga as presented by their website literature, studio owners, and instructors.
Temperature: 105° Fahrenheit, 40% Humidity
Duration: 90 Minutes
Postures: 26 Hatha Postures, each posture done twice, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises).
Level: Beginner, and all levels (please read the above note, then my review below)
Instructors: All certified specifically to teach Bikram Yoga.
Variations: There are no variations on the original series. Some studios may offer advanced level class (usually by invitation only).
Good to know: Instructors teach from a memorized “dialogue” (their word). There are no variations to the order of the postures unless the instructor makes a mistake.
MY RATING: ♦♦♦♦◊
Consistency. I started Bikram yoga after attending my neighbourhood yoga studio hot classes where every teacher had a different take on what they wanted to teach in their hot yoga class. Some teachers would launch right into dancer’s pose at the get go (which is not an appropriate way to start ANY yoga class), yet others would put a camel pose in the first 4 or 5 postures (that, folks, is not safe to do at the beginning of any class). In Bikram, that never happens. Every posture comes in the pre-ordained order, every instruction has been scripted, every detail of the poses spoken to by the instructor. You would think hearing the same “dialogue” every class would be boring, but actually knowing what is coming up next allows you (after a few classes) to take the attention off the instructor and onto yourself and you really notice how you are performing each posture. I do admit that I don’t understand why the teaching script is called a “dialogue” because it’s obviously a monologue (no one else is talking!)
Noticeable Improvement. Because you perform the same postures every class you will notice incremental improvements in your ability to do each pose. One day in the wide legged forward fold you will realize your head just touched your mat with ease where it was 5 inches off the mat a few weeks ago. Same goes for almost every posture. This, I would say is the most satisfying and rewarding part of practicing the same series over and over again on a regular basis.
Challenging. First off, I disagree with the Bikram notion that this series is for beginners. Case in point, I took a friend to Bikram with me who had done a few Hatha yoga classes but never hot yoga. After their first Bikram class, they said they never wanted to go back. Actually what they said is, “I’d rather lay in the middle of the Highway on a scorching hot summer day than go back to Bikram ever again.” This made me consider the fact that I had participated in at least 50 hot yoga classes as well as non-heated classes at my local studio for over a year before going to Bikram for the very first time. I have also seen numerous first time Bikram students in class, only to never see any sign of them ever again. So, how does this become a positive? Well, for those of us up to the challenge, it is an exhilarating feeling to go into the “torture chamber” and make it out of there feeling more alive than ever before. There is challenge in every class, sometimes every minute of every class. This for me, is a huge positive. For others it may not be.
Somewhat Militant. Yes, this to me is a positive. I have heard tales of Bikram teachers yelling at or berating participants for not trying hard enough or not doing postures correctly. This never happened in
any of the classes I attended but many Bikram instructors do take notice when you are “flaking out” and not keeping up. They tend only to call you out if they know you are a regular participant. They do expect you to try hard and do your best. It isn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy atmosphere in the torture chamber, if you know what I mean. Perhaps that is why the gender ratio in these classes is often close to 50/50. I once had a teacher come over because I was in Savasana when I should have been doing the triangle pose. He asked me if I was feeling ok, I said yes, but that I was tired. He said as long as you’re not feeling sick please get up and do the work because if you came all the way here then you might as well do the work. He was 100% right. Bikram instructors tend to be edgy, they drop the “f” bomb once in awhile and they will catch you out if you are lazy. If you’re a very sensitive soul, Bikram might not be your cuppa tea. Me, I can be a little lazy in a hot class (cuz it’s darned hot) and can use the extra push so yes, somewhat militant is fine by me.
International. There are Bikram studios in most major cities around the world so when I’m travelling I can practice anywhere. Language isn’t an issue because I know the whole series of postures, it’s the same everywhere so I don’t need understand what is being said and still participate.
Bikram for Weight loss. There was a recent study done by the American Council of Exercise (ACE) that disputed the correlation between Bikram yoga and weight loss. The same study also maintained that it could be considered a health hazard to practice hot yoga that could potentially raise your core temperature above safe levels. I am a member of ACE and I read their report very carefully, noting their concerns with interest.
However, I have also watched a man in his 40’s named Donald who started Bikram yoga after his doctor told him that if he didn’t change his diet and start exercising he would be dead in a couple of years. Donald weighed well over 250 lbs when he started. He went to Bikram 5 times a week, sometimes more. At the end of a year Donald was unrecognizable. I mean, literally, I didn’t know who he was because I had been practicing at another studio in between. I didn’t ask him how much weight he had lost after a year but it looked to be at least 50 lbs. He was also beaming from ear to ear. As for my personal experience, I started Bikram and during my initial 30 days of practice in July of 2008 I lost the proverbial last 10 lbs. But if anyone tries to tell you 30 consecutive days of Bikram yoga is a cinch, don’t buy it. It was a gruelling 30 days and I am still patting myself on the back for ever pulling that off.
Inconsistent Heat. This has been the case at each Bikram location I have practiced at (6 so far). Keeping the room at 105° with 40% humidity is apparently a difficult task. I have been to studios that were overheated to the point that more than 6 people were left the class. Sometimes you may get 1 person leaving the hot room if they aren’t feeling well, but if there’s half a dozen leaving there’s something wrong. I use this as an example because I was the 7th person out the door. I went back in as did the others but we all agreed the room was much hotter than usual. The opposite can also be true when the room isn’t hot enough. The humidity level is sometimes also an issue. One studio had numerous portable humidifiers lined up in the back of the hot room. This caused the humidity in the room to be uneven and if you were the last one in and got the spot right in front of the humidifier you were in for a double roasting. Still, this was not a new issue for me having come from another studio that offered mainly non-heated classes peppered with maybe 1 hot class a day. The temperature was sometimes 90°, sometimes 95° and so on, depending on how long beforehand they remembered to turn on the heat. In many studios that aren’t focused on hot yoga, just offering hot classes as an “add on” there may not be a humidity component.
Intimidating. This isn’t the case in all Bikram locations but in several that I’ve been to the front row is filled with die-hard practitioners, instructors practicing on their off time, and others who I am affectionately labelling the “human rubber band gang”. Even after practicing Bikram for over 4 years, I dare not breach the front row. I am not worthy or rubbery enough (or both). So, yes, I find the aficionados of this practice to be intimidating. They know they can bend in ways I never will be able to (or really want to).
Bikram Choudhury. This is the founder of the series based in Los Angeles, California and unless you’ve been under a rock somewhere for the last 10 years you will have heard some negative press about him. This is a review of the Bikram practice and not of Bikram Choudhury. In light of recent events and certain legal allegations in the last few years various owners of Bikram studios around the world have felt it necessary to distance themselves from the mother ship by clarifying in writing that they are independently owned and operated and are not funded or give funds to their namesake. Some Bikram studios around the world have chosen to change the name of their studios completely. I personally, will keep practicing this series of postures sequenced by Bikram Choudhury in the torture chamber because they work for me. Despite many in the Bikram fold who revere him as some kind of mega-guru, to me he is a person who may have done some reprehensible things, but just because I practise the yoga bearing his name does not mean I condone his actions or that I am obliged to worship at his altar. Enough said.
That’s all folks, my on review on the practice of Bikram Yoga. Click here to see my review of Bikram vs Moksha (Moda) yoga.
Your comments are welcome, please leave them in the comment box below. Thank you, Connie.
Is hot yoga good for weight loss?
The short answer is yes, hot yoga does benefit weight loss
Hot yoga can definitely help with weight loss but there are some caveats. You won’t lose anything with any activity if you only do it once or twice a week. That goes for any form of exercise, and hot yoga isn’t any different. The inches aren’t going to melt off just from the mere fact that you’re sweating and exercising in the hot room. The good news is that over the years I’ve borne witness to many a hot yoga loser, weight loser, that is. I’ve seen people transformed over a few months in both Bikram and Moksha yoga. Still, if you’re expecting an easy weight loss solution, this isn’t it. Sorry to burst your bubble. However, hot yoga does benefit weight loss, and I can personally attest to that.
About my hot yoga weight loss story
Here’s my experience of weight loss with hot yoga. When I first began practicing yoga 8 years ago it was at a local studio nearby. I was working full time at a high stress job at the time and started to notice that my waistline was, well, disappearing. I had gained about 5 pounds per year for about 3 years in a row, which put me at 15 lbs more than what I was used to weighing. I have to guess that my ideal weight was always around 120 lbs @ 5’2″. I don’t believe in scales and I’ve never owned one. At the beginning yoga was purely an oasis for me. I didn’t consider yoga to be any kind of aerobic exercise or a “proper” work out. Except for the hot classes, they really got my heart going. Although I gravitated to the hot classes straight away, they didn’t have them every day and they weren’t always compatible with my schedule so I could only squeeze in 1, maximum 2 hot classes per week, even though I tried to go to yoga every other day. I also continued to go to step aerobics and cardio box classes at the community centre during my first two years practicing mostly non-heated yoga. I didn’t lose any weight during the first 2 years of practicing mostly non-heated yoga interspersed with the once or twice a week hot yoga class, topped up with aerobics classes at least once a week.
Talk about starting hot yoga with a bang
The deal was 30 days for 30 bucks at Bikram Yoga, so I jumped in with both feet. You can read a detailed review of Bikram yoga here. I had never been in a 90 minute class before, and certainly never practiced in such a hot room, plus the humidity was a brand new component. Funny thing is the first 7 days were relatively easy but every day after that was not easy. Maybe because it was July and somedays felt as hot outside as it did in the “Bikram torture chamber” but every day after the first week took a will of steel to get myself to the class. I’m glad I did because if I hadn’t of completed those 30 days I wouldn’t have gotten the final results. One very interesting surprise was that after every 90 minute class, I discovered I wasn’t hungry at all. Thirsty yes, but absolutely no desire to scarf back the nearest burrito which is how I usually felt after any 60 minute aerobics class. Taking into account you can’t really eat anything up to 2 hours before any yoga class (because you turn upside down quite a bit), I was thrown for a loop by my lack of munchies after the class. I did google this and found many blogs and chats that corroborated what I was experiencing. I also noticed a rise in my energy level and around day 10 the weight loss became noticeable.
Regular or hot yoga for weight loss – what’s the verdict?
I had not expected to lose any weight at all when I switched from regular to all hot yoga classes because I hadn’t lost any weight from my previous 2 years of practicing non-heated yoga. I had not expected hot yoga to be much different, only harder. But for me the hot yoga had a very different effect my body and I began to lose weight after the first week of daily classes. By the end of 30 days at Bikram yoga I lost approximately 10 lbs. Remember, I don’t own a scale, but even my stretchy pants were bagged out on me. My double chin took a vacation and my love handles did actually seem to melt. Important to note that during these 30 days of hot yoga I didn’t do any other kind of exercise at all. Firstly because the hot yoga took everything out of me and secondly 90 minutes in class, plus travel time to and from, then shower time added up to nearly 3 hours of my day. I had more than used up my “me” time that month. Once I had finished my 30 day “trial by fire” I got curious as to why I had lost weight in hot yoga and never lost any weight in 2 years of non-heated practice. One fact I researched was:
How many calories are burned in a Bikram class?
There are conflicting statistics on how many calories are burned in a Bikram class. The answer is somewhere between 600 and 1000 calories, dependent on the individual exertion rate, age, fitness level and other factors. I certainly felt like I burned a 1000 calories a class but even if it was only 600, my weight loss was the proof I needed to continue the practice indefinitely. That, and the way I felt after each class, which was simply fantastic. Scroll to the bottom of this post to see a comparison table of calories burned performing a variety of different activities.
After my initial 30 days of Bikram I settled into a regular practice of 2-3 Bikram classes for the next 4 years. I didn’t lose any more weight, but I did maintained the ten pounds I lost. Then, last year I stopped practicing yoga due to an injury (unrelated to yoga) and I gained back the 10 lbs over several months of a lower than usual level of activity.
Back to the drawing board
Or should I say back to the torture chamber. As my injury was healing, I decided to go back to Bikram and picked up my routine of 2-3 classes per week. I felt good but the 10 regained pounds would not budge. At around this time a friend of mine recommended two books for me to read, Thinner This Year and Younger Next Year. I read these books with interest and got 2 important takeaways. The author, Chris Crowley imposes a theory that strenuous aerobic exercise 2-4 times a week is not enough to offset any kind of weight gain in people over the age of 40. He is insistent that exercising 5-6 times a week is the only way to maintain youth, vitality and stave off the weight gain that begins after 40. Yup, 5-6 times a week, you read that right. The author goes on to back his theory with scientific data presented by two doctor/co-authors. Ok, are you with me here? First takeaway, exercise hard, 6 times a week if you are over 40 and want http://any chance of staying young and fit. Next is the theory that sitting still (i.e. in front of a computer or TV) for long periods of time sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to go into hibernation. Depression is tool of survival that enables you to be still, sleep and store fat over for the winter months. When you exercise you send a signal to your brain that you are in hunting and gathering mode, which is also happy spring mode. So, the second takeaway is either your body is in hunting mode moving forward or in hibernation mode storing fat getting ready for the famine. Again, all backed up by the doctor written chapters with scientific data. Those books got me thinking, I recommend you give them a read. I’m not in agreement with everything in these books and the style of writing is a little on the preachy side but they definitely challenged me to find out if there was some validity to what they presented. Canadians → CLICK HERE ← to buy
What does this have to do with hot yoga effects on weight loss?
A lot, because I decided to increase my hot yoga practice to 5 times a week. Taking into account the takeaways from the two books by Chris Crowley and his doctor/co-authors, I was going to test out their theories with my hot yoga practice and try to kick start my weight loss efforts again. But logistically, I could not manage 5 x 90 minute classes every week. I worked full time, and like many busy women out there also have a home and family to take care of. The lack of shorter class options at Bikram meant I had to find an alternative.
Enter Moksha Yoga
I was apprehensive but excited to start a different type of hot yoga practice at Moksha Yoga but their introductory offer of $40 for a whole month of unlimited classes made it a no-risk option for me. The first month went by quickly, and I took full advantage of that month. I tried every type of class they had to offer. I attended 20 classes in the introductory month and then signed on for a monthly membership. To read more Moksha please click to my review of Moksha Yoga. http://In fact, I was enjoying myself so much at Moksha that I forgot about my resolve to lose the 10 lbs I’d lost and regained. I continued to practice and hit my goal of 5 times a week easily because there were many more time slots available than had previously been offered at Bikram. I had a lot more fun practicing hot yoga than ever before, and the weight loss slipped from the top of my mind. Until one day I put on a pair of jeans I had stuffed in the back of the cupboard (you can guess why) and they slid on and buttoned up. Didn’t even have to lay on the bed. I still don’t own a scale but now after 7 months of practicing hot yoga 5 times a week I have had to buy quite a few new pairs of pants that hug me better. Of course, then I had to know…
How many calories are burned in a Moksha class?
The amount of calories burned in Moksha classes differ. Most classes are 60 minutes, but they also offer 75 and 90 minute classes. Calories burned for a 60 minute class averages 440 and for a 90 minute class is 700. Again, depending on the individual, fitness level, age, and other factors. So, if Bikram (supposedly) burns more calories why when I was attending 2-3 classes per week didn’t I see any weight loss? Only when I did 30 days in a row did I initially lose. This brings me back to the theories in the Thinner This Year and Younger Next Year books. I wasn’t invested in those theories at all but like a curious bunny I had to try it out and see if it worked for me. It did work for me, and I am now a believer. The standard 2-3 times a week most people work out after the age of 40 just doesn’t cut it if you are looking to stay fit and functional ’til the very end, which you know I am.
How do I maximize the benefits of hot yoga for weight loss?
To maximize the benefits of hot yoga for weight loss you need to do more than just show up. The term “work to your edge” means just what it sounds like. Exert to the maximum extent of power you have by engaging all the muscles, moving that limb the extra inch to get into the edge of every pose. Holding the pose until you almost can’t. I see participants who barely break a sweat in class. If their goal is not to lose any weight but to simply enjoy the breathing and the communal feeling of the class then they are doing perfectly fine. But if your goal is weight loss in hot yoga, then you have to work it. If that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to be. I do attend restorative and Yin classes periodically and I take full advantage of that time to relax and let go, but that’s not why I do hot yoga. Know your purpose and know what you have to do to achieve it. If it’s weight loss, that doesn’t just happen without setting a specific intention.
How exactly do I lose weight with hot yoga?
- Practice more than 3 times a week (preferably 5, especially if you’re over 40)
- Work at your edge during class
- Stay hydrated (ok that doesn’t make you lose weight but it keeps you healthy)
Finally, if you made it down this far, here’s an interesting table so you can compare calories burned by engaging in a wide assortment of sports.
Maybe hot yoga isn’t the way you want to lose weight
Fair enough, if you don’t enjoy hot yoga the way I do, it may sound like just plain hard work. Different strokes for different folks, especially if you think doing yoga in a room heated up over 100° sounds like it might GIVE you a stroke. Maybe give it a pass. But there’s more than one way. Take a look at this video, I’ve seen the product and it’s a very well thought out plan, simple to follow and effective way to tackle weight loss involving yoga, but not related to hot yoga at all. Fair warning, do not click on this unless you have a good 20 minutes to spend watching it. I found it a little repetitive but watch it to the end for the full effect → Click Here ← for a non-hot yoga weight loss plan.
Calories Burned Various Activities
|125 pound person||155 pound person||185 pound person|
|Weight Lifting: general||90||112||133|
|Stretching, Hatha Yoga||120||149||178|
|Riders: general (ie., HealthRider)||150||186||222|
|Aerobics: low impact||165||205||244|
|Stair Step Machine: general||180||223||266|
|Weight Lifting: vigorous||180||223||266|
|Aerobics, Step: low impact||210||260||311|
|Aerobics: high impact||210||260||311|
|Bicycling, Stationary: moderate||210||260||311|
|Rowing, Stationary: moderate||210||260||311|
|Circuit Training: general||240||298||355|
|Rowing, Stationary: vigorous||255||316||377|
|Elliptical Trainer: general||270||335||400|
|Ski Machine: general||285||353||422|
|Aerobics, Step: high impact||300||372||444|
|Bicycling, Stationary: vigorous||315||391||466|
|Training and Sport Activities|
|Dancing: slow, waltz, foxtrot||90||112||133|
|Volleyball: non-competitive, general play||90||112||133|
|Golf: using cart||105||130||155|
|Horseback Riding: general||120||149||178|
|Volleyball: competitive, gymnasium play||120||149||178|
|Walking: 3.5 mph (17 min/mi)||120||149||178|
|Walking: 4 mph (15 min/mi)||135||167||200|
|Softball: general play||150||186||222|
|Walking: 4.5 mph (13 min/mi)||150||186||222|
|Whitewater: rafting, kayaking||150||186||222|
|Dancing: disco, ballroom, square||165||205||244|
|Golf: carrying clubs||165||205||244|
|Dancing: Fast, ballet, twist||180||223||266|
|Walk/Jog: jog <10 min.||180||223||266|
|Ice Skating: general||210||260||311|
|Racquetball: casual, general||210||260||311|
|Scuba or skin diving||210||260||311|
|Sledding, luge, toboggan||210||260||311|
|Basketball: playing a game||240||298||355|
|Bicycling: 12-13.9 mph||240||298||355|
|Football: touch, flag, general||240||298||355|
|Hockey: field & ice||240||298||355|
|Rock Climbing: rappelling||240||298||355|
|Running: 5 mph (12 min/mile)||240||298||355|
|Running: pushing wheelchair, marathon wheeling||240||298||355|
|Bicycling: BMX or mountain||255||316||377|
|Running: 5.2 mph (11.5 min/mile)||270||335||400|
|Bicycling: 14-15.9 mph||300||372||444|
|Martial Arts: judo, karate, kickbox||300||372||444|
|Running: 6 mph (10 min/mile)||300||372||444|
|Swimming: laps, vigorous||300||372||444|
|Swimming: treading, vigorous||300||372||444|
|Rock Climbing: ascending||330||409||488|
|Running: 6.7 mph (9 min/mile)||330||409||488|
|Bicycling: 16-19 mph||360||446||533|
|Running: 7.5 mph (8 min/mile)||375||465||555|
|Running: 8.6 mph (7 min/mile)||435||539||644|
|Bicycling: > 20 mph||495||614||733|
|Running: 10 mph (6 min/mile)||495||614||733|
|Planting seedlings, shrubs||120||149||178|
|Sacking grass or leaves||120||149||178|
|Mowing Lawn: push, power||135||167||200|
|Operate Snow Blower: walking||135||167||200|
|Carrying & stacking wood||150||186||222|
|Digging, spading dirt||150||186||222|
|Laying sod / crushed rock||150||186||222|
|Mowing Lawn: push, hand||165||205||244|
|Chopping & splitting wood||180||223||266|
|Shoveling Snow: by hand||180||223||266|
|Home & Daily Life Activities|
|Standing in line||38||47||56|
|Child-care: bathing, feeding, etc.||105||130||155|
|Food Shopping: with cart||105||130||155|
|Playing w/kids: moderate effort||120||149||178|
|Heavy Cleaning: wash car, windows||135||167||200|
|Child games: hop-scotch, jacks, etc.||150||186||222|
|Playing w/kids: vigorous effort||150||186||222|
|Moving: household furniture||180||223||266|
|Moving: carrying boxes||210||260||311|
|Wiring and Plumbing||90||112||133|
|Carpentry: refinish furniture||135||167||200|
|Lay or remove carpet/tile||135||167||200|
|Paint, paper, remodel: inside||135||167||200|
|Cleaning rain gutters||150||186||222|
|Hanging storm windows||150||186||222|
|Paint house: outside||150||186||222|
|Light Office Work||45||56||67|
|Sitting in Meetings||49||60||72|
|Sitting in Class||53||65||78|
|Truck Driving: sitting||60||74||89|
|Heavy Equip. Operator||75||93||111|
|Heavy Tools, not power||240||298||355|
|Steel Mill: general||240||298||355|
Comments are welcome, please leave them in the box below, Cheerio, Connie.
TYPES OF HOT YOGA CLASSES
There are 2 main types of hot yoga classes. Hatha and Vinyasa. Some studios are starting to offer Hot Yin as well.
Depending on which yoga textbook you read or online reference you google you will find differing lists of “styles” of yoga. Different yoga styles include Anusara, Iyengar, Sivananda, Ashtanga, Jivamukdi, Yin, Kundalini and the aforementioned Hatha and Vinyasa styles. There are more or other variations of this list, but those are the basics. There are also niche yoga styles such as pre/post-natal, arial, couples, just to name a few more. Some lists will include Bikram as it’s own style, or Hot Yoga as a style of yoga but in reality all the postures in any hot yoga class I’ve participated in have been variations on traditional Hatha postures or Vinyasa flows already in practice for centuries.
What kind of hot yoga is a Hatha style class?
Bikram hot yoga is a set series of 26 postures based on traditional Hatha asanas. The teacher guides you into each static (still) posture and you hold the posture for anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute (depends on the instructor). Please link to my Bikram yoga post for specific and detailed information about the Bikram practice.
Moksha hot yoga, the original series is also a set series of postures based on traditional Hatha asanas. Since there are almost 200 basic Hatha yoga postures and variations of each, it is expected that some of the basic poses are found in most hot Hatha classes. Go to my Moksha yoga post for a detailed description of their practice.
Bikram and Moksha are just two types of Hatha style hot yoga classes offered by specifically branded franchised operators. There are numerous other studios that offer hot yoga classes based on hatha postures taught by both instructors who may or may not be certified specifically to teach hot yoga. These classes may be a good choice for people who would like to try hot yoga to compliment other disciplines of yoga. Additionally, there are certainly going to be other styles of yoga offered in studios that are adding hot classes to their schedules to meet the growing demand from people interested in practicing in a heated room. Please leave a comment below if you have attended or heard about new and different hot yoga classes so I can follow up and check it out maybe add the information to my posts.
About Hot Vinyasa Flow
Vinyasa yoga, also known as “Flow” or “Power” yoga in some studios is also a popular style of hot yoga. It is based again on the Hatha flow sun salutation and in most classes combined with a standing series followed by the floor series. This is a dynamic (moving) sequence of postures that in certain ways feels somewhat like a dance. My post on Hot Flow – Vinyasa Yoga has full details.
There’s also Hot Yin
Yin is another practice based on Hatha postures. A hot yin class consists of a reduced number of postures (10-15) depending on the teachers plan and duration the class. Each posture is held for a longer period of time (3-5 minutes). The philosophy is that holding the postures longer will allow a deeper release right into the fascia and tissues, producing a generally restorative effect on the body. There are many that find this to be true and still others who find Yin to be one of the more challenging practices both mentally and physically due to the longer hold of the postures. This type of hot class maybe more difficult to find as it may be considered more of a specialty class by some studios.
Are there other kinds of Hot Yoga classes?
For the purposes of providing general information to those who are interested in hot yoga I will focus here on the hot yoga classes that people will most commonly be able to find, which are Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin. However, there are definitely going to be other offerings specific to studios anywhere in the world that are innovating the hot yoga practice or offering variations not widely offered elsewhere.
So, which type of class is best for me?
The tricky answer is: maybe all of these, or maybe just one. If you’re already a regular yoga practitioner and just want to branch into hot yoga for something different then any of the above classes might be to your liking. If you already know you like flow or yin yoga then just do the hot version to see if it suits you. If you’re brand new to yoga and want to launch straight into a hot practice (a very exciting way to start yoga) then you’ll definitely benefit from the advice in my post Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga. ← Also see this post if you are pregnant and interested in hot yoga.
Just go for it. You’ll never know if it’s your THANG if you don’t give it a go!
Comments are welcome, please leave yours in the box below. Thank you, Connie.