What started as an ancient system to help purify the mind and body has evolved into a mainstream form of exercise for millions of individuals. With the rising popularity of traditional yoga, there now exists countless variations of styles to attempt, depending on one’s lifestyle and physical objectives.  

Avid Yogi, Peter Schieffelin Nyberg of Charlotte, North Carolina, claims that one of the most prominent forms of yoga is hot yoga, the most common being “Bikram.” Consisting of a fixed sequence of 26 postures, Bikram is often practiced at a room temperature of 105 F or 40 C. The intense heat – intended to replicate the climate of India, is meant to enhance endurance and increase strength. Peter Nyberg takes the time to highlight some of the various differences between traditional and hot yoga. 

Common Misconceptions of Bikram and Hot Yoga

Although many studies have proven that both forms of yoga offer a myriad of health benefits, there are several key differences between the two. According to Peter Nyberg, a common misconception is that hot yoga is an effective way to detox the body and eliminate unwanted chemicals. However, most experts will agree that sweating mostly eliminates water and toxins are instead released through the liver, kidney, and intestines. Individuals also stress that Bikram burns more calories than classic yoga, but current studies indicate that both forms of yoga will produce similar results when it comes to weight loss goals. 

Extended Duration

A primary difference between Bikram and traditional yoga is the duration of the class. Bikram consists of the same 26 poses and breathing exercises performed in the same order every class for exactly 90 minutes. Traditional classes typically last an hour, but the systematic sequence of Bikram aims to improve one’s endurance. Peter Schieffelin Nyberg states that Bikram can also function as a form of meditation as the classes are often very quiet with minimal audio. 

Hot Yoga Can Be a Mood Booster

Bikram yoga is an effective way to improve balance, tone muscles, and increase flexibility. However, studies also demonstrate that heated yoga offers various mental health advantages as well. A recent study involving 74 university students found that those who performed yoga and other relaxation techniques in a group setting were more likely to see results than those who performed exercises at home. Experts also suggest that spending an extended period in a heated room allows for a greater sense of accomplishment and as a result, individuals leave feeling good.  

Peter Nyberg on Starting Your Hot Yoga Journey

For individuals wanting to try hot yoga, it is imperative to take the necessary precautions to avoid overexertion. He suggests avoiding eating heavy foods approximately two to three hours before class as it can hinder digestion and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. 

Ultimately, hot yoga may not be for everyone, but for those who currently enjoy its traditional form, Bikram is a great way to switch up your workout routine. Peter Nyberg states that above all it is essential to find what works best for you and your long-term fitness objectives.

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