The closest experience I had with Hot Yoga until about 4 weeks ago was doing Yoga in a tropical climate. I used to live in Thailand for a while back in 2014 and practiced Yoga there on a almost daily basis. With temperatures over 29° already at 8 in the morning, you could say that you are practicing Hot Yoga. I always felt much better doing Yoga in a warm an pleasant climate, my body gets warm so much easier and I am way more flexible in general.
So, I kind of missed to practice in the warmth and feeling that extra bit of flexibility. It get’s warm here in Germany too, of course, but it’s not really the same warmth in my opinion. And to practice out in the sun when it’s like mid-day is not really an option either.
What actually is Hot Yoga?
So far, to my understanding, there are really only two kinds of Hot Yoga. There is Bikram Yoga and there is Hot “Enter any Yoga Style here” Yoga. Hot Vinyasa for example.
This image pretty much summarizes Bikram Yoga. One person in front of the class, or running around in the class, while constantly talking instructions (seriously, they don’t stop talking, it’s part of the practice, so you don’t need to think, just follow). The room is heated up to 40° and you run through a series of 26 Asanas, those never change. It usually takes up to 1 1/2 hours to finish.
General Hot Yoga
As mentioned before, “Hot Yoga” can be any still of Yoga. It can be a normal Vinyasa class, just in a 40° room. It could also be a Yin Yoga class. So you can probably find lots of different styles around the globe.
My experience with Hot Yoga
So, now that you know what different styles there are, let’s talk about my experience with it. A couple of weeks ago I thought, I really want to have that feeling of practicing in the hot and being more flexible again. So I looked up a Hot Yoga place near me. After a little search, I found Bikram Yoga Schwabing in Munich.
My first Bikram Yoga class
I decided to go for a trial class of Bikram Yoga. God, was I underestimating how exhausting and hard Bikram Yoga is. The class was set for 1 1/2 hours. After being a bit baffled why the teacher won’t stop talking finally (as mentioned above, they won’t stop), I was quite tuned in and started to like it. About one hour later and after leaving 5 liters of sweat on the mats, I thought I was gonna die there. The heat, the exhaustion, all the sweat and the constantly changing poses were really hard (and I consider myself quite fit..).
But I got into poses I never got into before. It was amazing. I loved it. I was so flexible again, I already knew I had to come again.
I pushed through the remaining 30 or so minutes and the words “Shavasana” never sounded that good before. After relaxing for a while and taking an ice-cold shower for about 5 Minutes (Wim Hof style), I felt absolutely glorious. I felt like I was floating over the ground, super relaxed, ready to pass out in the bed.
Even I liked it, I decided to try something else next time. I found out that they offer Hot Vinyasa for 1 hour. That sounded amazing.
The next week I came again. This time I was in for my first Hot Vinyasa class. It was in the same room, hence also 40° degrees. After 15 minutes in, I knew this was gonna be my thing. It was much better than Bikram for me.
It was a regular Vinyasa class in a hot room. Amazing, exactly what I was looking for. Still tons of sweat, but staying longer in the poses. That was what I needed.
I came back the next week again, and the following. I will keep coming back every week and integrate it into my practice regime.
If you have followed me until here, you probably already know that I prefer Hot Vinyasa over Bikram. The constant talking in Bikram is just too much for me. Also, the never changing poses would get boring for me very fast.
You might think that you are just more flexible because it’s a hot room, which is partly true, but the amazing thing is, I found that a little bit of this extra flexibility I gained through Hot Yoga even stays with me on my regular practice.
After every Hot class, I take a bit of extra flexibility home with me that seems to stick around, which is absolutely amazing and which is why I will keep coming.
So, you have to figure out for yourself what is right for you, but I recommend you to try it out! If you don’t like Bikram, don’t give up there. Try another style, if you are like me, you will eventually fall in love with it.
Don’t be scared that Bikram might be too hard for you, you can always slow down and take it at your own pace. I hope this can motivate some of you folks to try it out, it’s worth it.
Let me know in the comments below if you had a Hot Yoga class before and how you liked it!