Hot Yoga, which is a Hatha yoga style originally developed by Bikram Choudhury, is often also called Bikram Yoga. This yoga practice is focused primarily on exercise and physical fitness, with emphasis on flexibility and muscle relaxation.
One of the most striking things about hot yoga -and the reason why it’s called “hot” at all- is that sessions are always held in rooms that are at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit, or 40.56 degrees Celsius. The temperature during hot yoga sessions are kept purposely high because the heat supposedly relaxes the muscles and allows them stretch farther. The heat causes the people in the room to sweat profusely, which releases toxins in the body and allows a person to push their stretching limits and make them more flexible.
Even though Bikram Yoga founder, Bikram Choudhury founded the Hot Yoga style and started the trend of practicing yoga in a heated room, there is a difference between Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga. Bikram Yoga is a specific yoga style that goes through 26 specific asanas, or yoga poses. A Bikram Yoga class can only properly be called “Bikram Yoga” if the instructor handling the class comes from the Yoga College of India in Los Angeles, California. This college was founded by Bikram Choudhury in 1974.
Hot Yoga, on the other hand, can be any style of yoga performed in a heated room. In fact, there is already another style of Hot Yoga becoming popular in Canada and the United States. Moksha Yoga, a yoga style that is also practiced in a heated studio, also follows some of the principles of Bikram Yoga, but has a different sequence of asanas. There are other, less well-known, Hot Yoga styles, but the one thing that makes all of these yogas unique is the fact that it’s practiced in a heated room.
Whether it’s Bikram Yoga, Moksha Yoga, or any other kind of Hot Yoga though, it’s important to remember to drink lots of water at least two hours before the session. There is a lot of sweating involved in Hot Yoga, and dehydration certainly isn’t something that yoga is about.
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