Heat is a key element when it comes to Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga. It’s also the thing people either love or dislike the most about this type of yoga. Whenever I talk to friends about Bikram Yoga, the first thing they mention is the heat. In fact, the number one excuse I hear from friends who refuse to try Bikram Yoga is their fear of not being able to handle the heat. Whether you love or hate the heat, there are benefits to practicing yoga in a heated studio. Heat makes the body more flexible and helps reduce the chance of injury. Adding heat to a yoga studio also encourages the body to sweat and improves circulation.
According to the official Bikram Yoga website, yoga can change the construction of the body from the inside out, from bones to skin and from fingertips to toes. Before the body is able to change, it has to be heated up. The reason why Bikram Yoga studios are heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity is due to the belief that a warm body is a flexible body. Once the body has been heated, it can be reshaped any way you want.
The Bikram Yoga Sequence is a form of hot yoga consisting of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and two breathing exercises performed in a 90-minute series, inside a heated studio. Hatha Yoga enables the body to flush away waste products and toxins from the glands and organs of the body. This type of practice provides a natural irrigation for the body through the circulatory system and with the help of the respiratory system. It brings nourishment to every cell, organ and fiber in the body, enabling each system to perform its function optimally and helps keep the body healthy. The heat in a Bikram studio helps further this cleansing process. When the body sweats, impurities are flushed out of the body through the skin.
In addition to increasing flexibility, reducing injury, improving circulation throughout the body and acting as an irrigation system that eliminates toxins and waste from the body, practicing yoga can also help increase the body’s supply of oxygen and teaches us how to use the oxygen in our body properly. We learn to control the breath through Pranayama, breathing exercises that help create an essential and happy marriage between the heart and lungs.