Bikram vs Hot Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a form of Hot Yoga, but not all Hot Yoga is considered Bikram Yoga. So what’s the difference? Hot Yoga is a blanket term for any style of yoga that’s practiced in a heated room with temperatures ranging anywhere from 85 degrees to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Bikram Yoga is a specific style of Hot Yoga, consisting 26 postures and two breathing exercises, performed in the same sequence for 90 minutes, in a studio heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and about 40% added humidity.

I ventured out of my Bikram Yoga studio recently and try something different. I checked out CorePower Yoga’s version of Hot Yoga, Hot Power Fusion. The Hot Power Fusion class sequence was inspired by multiple yoga styles including Bikram and developed by CorePower Yoga creator, Trevor Tice and based off of his own personal yoga studies, various trainings and individual yoga practice.

Even after taking my first Hot Power Fusion class, I noticed a lot of similarities and differences between this type of Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga.

Time

The first obvious difference between the two Hot Yoga styles is time. A traditional Bikram Yoga class is 90 minutes. A Hot Power Fusion class is 60 minutes. Yes there’s a bigger time commitment required for Bikram classes, but for me, the extra 30 minutes really does make a difference. By the end of every Bikram Yoga class I take, I feel completely worked, from head to toe. My body feels way more flexible and I walk out feeling a whole lot taller. I feel like I never leave with the same body I walked into a Bikram class in.

With Hot Power Fusion, classes are only 60 minutes. This is a great option for those who want to practice Hot Yoga, but want to spend less time in class. If you practice Bikram Yoga, you’ll find a lot of familiar postures in a Hot Power Fusion class including Half Moon, Forward Head To Knee, Balancing Stick, Triangle, Awkward, Eagle and Standing Head To Knee, just to name a few. Not all of these postures are performed in the same order as Bikram. Since the class is only 60 minutes, not all postures are performed twice like they would be in a Bikram class. I noticed that my body wasn’t able to go as deep into some of these familiar postures like it could in Bikram because it didn’t feel as warmed up. This is where I really missed the extra 30 minutes.

The bonus with a Hot Power Fusion class is that it includes a core workout halfway through class. Not something you’d find in a traditional Bikram class!

Savasana Position

The second difference I noticed right away was the way everyone laid in Savasana or Dead Corpse Pose. This is the posture where you lie on the back with your arms and legs spread at about 45 degrees. Most people will typically be resting in this posture while they wait for their yoga class to start. Each time I walked into a Hot Power Fusion class, I saw people in Savasana lying on their mats with their heads towards the back wall and their feet towards the front mirror. In Bikram Yoga, you’re always instructed to lay in Savasana on your back with head towards the front mirror and feet towards the back wall. If you don’t lie this way, a teacher will more likely instruct you to do so.

I personally don’t care which way I have to lay in the Savasana position. It all feels good. This was just another reminder for me of how strict and specific the Bikram Yoga sequence is. The Hot Power Fusion classes were way more laid back and nowhere near is rigid as Bikram. This laid back feeling could easily make this type of Hot Yoga more desirable for those looking for a little more flexibility in their classes.

Heat

What makes Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga different from any other style of yoga is the heat. Bikram Yoga classes are always heated to 105F degrees and about 40% humidity. Hot Power Fusion classes are heated anywhere from 100F to 103F degrees with added humidity. The actual temperature and added humidity can vary from teacher to teacher and class to class. I didn’t get nearly as drenched in sweat in a Hot Power Fusion class like I typically do in a Bikram class. This was okay because I didn’t feel like I needed to take a shower right after each class. Saved me some time and laundry after class.

Water Break

In both Bikram Yoga and a Hot Power Fusion class, you get one official water break, which is right after the warm up series. After the water break, teachers will encourage you to take water breaks during class, as you need them, in-between postures.

Instruction

With Bikram Yoga, teachers will lead you through the entire sequence, all 26 postures, twice, with only the use of the dialogue as they sit on a podium at the front of the class. Teachers do not perform any of the postures during class. The sequence and dialogue is always the same in every class and in every Bikram Yoga studio you practice at. You perform each posture twice and then move onto the next one. I really enjoy this aspect of Bikram because no matter which studio I’m at, I always know what to expect in class. I also don’t have to worry about learning a new posture or need to look at someone else in class, trying to figure out which posture I should be in.

In a Hot Power Fusion class, teachers will lead you through class using a script, but it’s very loose. Teachers have their own interpretation of the class script. Some start off their class with a discussion about setting a specific focus or intent for class. Others start class with a breathing exercise and a standing posture like Mountain Pose. Each Hot Power Fusion class I took began a little bit differently. This is great because it helps keep class fresh for students who might get bored easily, but since I’m used to the rigid structure of Bikram, it threw me off a bit not knowing how each class would start.

All of the postures performed in a Hot Power Fusion class flowed together, sort of like a yoga dance routine that was directed by the teacher. This was certainly a nice change of pace because with Bikram, there is no flow. It’s the same routine with every class – hold the first set of the posture for a minute, rest. Hold the second set of the posture for 30 seconds, rest. Then move onto the next posture.

Vibe

When it comes to Bikram Yoga, there are no frills. It’s the same series of 26 postures, performed twice, in the same sequence, in every class. There’s no music. A Bikram studio may or may not have carpet. Most studios will have mirrors located at the front and on the sidewalls of the studio.

Every Hot Power Fusion class I took had music. I LOVED THIS!! Every teacher seemed to have his or her own playlist for class. Even though the music wasn’t something I was used to having in class, it certainly was a nice addition. All CorePower Yoga studios have hardwood floors and mirrors located at the front of the studio.

My overall experience with taking the Hot Power Fusion classes at CorePower Yoga was awesome. I loved listening to music while doing yoga in a heated room. I also enjoyed getting my core kicked in the middle of class. Each teacher’s vibe varied as much as his or her playlist. Each class seemed to have its own flavor, even though the general sequence of postures for each class was the same. The 60-minute classes seemed to fly by, especially after being used to spending 90 minutes in each class. I enjoyed getting a good workout with having to spend less time in the studio.

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