Hot Yoga was created by Bikram Choudhury; this name is used interchangeably to describe yoga classes done in high temperature environments (room heated to 95-104 degrees).
The high temperature promotes profuse sweating – a form of cleansing– as well as loosening tight muscles. Bikram method comprises a set series of 26 yoga pose, but this series are not used by all hot classes.
Any yoga class that takes place in a heated room is referred to as hot yoga. Although hot yoga classes have a few styles, the original hot yoga and best known yoga in a heated room is Bikram yoga. Although some individuals may use Bikram and hot interchangeably, fact remains that not all hot yoga is Bikram, but all Bikram yoga is hot.
This yoga style usually takes a Vinyasa flow style of yoga, here the instructors guide students in a series of yoga poses that are linked to one another. The temperature of the class is usually maintained at 95 F – 105 F degrees. Practicing a vigorous yoga at high temperature keeps the body warm and stimulates lots of sweating. The aim is that the heated environment will make your muscles loosen up and the profused sweat cleanses the body.
Bikram yoga is a part or aspect of hot yoga. Other hot yoga options you can try out include the CorePower yoga and the Canadian Import Moksha yoga, known as the Modo Yoga in the US. Most independent and locally-owned yoga may have their own style of hot yoga.
Hot Yoga Tips & Precautions
You need some gear as well as preparation so you can handle the heat environment.
- Since you will be sweating profusely, it is important you have a personal yoga mat for yourself. Some hot yoga accessories that will come in handy include Skidless, mat towels, yogitoes, and so on. The towels are placed on the mat to remove sweat from the mat and improve traction.
- You also need to select the right yoga wear that will be suitable for hot yoga. Woman and men usually prefer tight-fitting tops and capris or long pants to prevent slipping during sessions.
- The temperature used in heated classes may vary depending on the yoga studio or style of the instructor. Some can be as low as 75 degrees, and others can be as high as 108 degrees.
- A popular catchphrase used by yoga students practicing hot yoga is “sweating out the toxins.” Just so you know, sweating is not a part of the body’s detoxification system, although it makes you feel better.
- To prevent dehydration from profuse sweating, make sure you are hydrated. Drink lots of water before the class, during the class, and after the hot class. It is advisable you don’t eat about 2 hours before taking a hot yoga class.
- Since hot yoga increases the core body temperature, it is not suitable or advisable for pregnant women.
Bikram yoga was invented by Bikram Choudhury.
His method which is a set series of 26 postures is the original style to be practice in a heated room. This style also includes 2 pranayama exercise which can be performed twice in a single class designed to last 90 minutes.
Choudhury was born in the year 1946 in Calcutta, India. In his youth, he was a champion in yoga, his wife, Rajashree was also a yoga champion.
Choudhury founded the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California in 1974. Later on, his style became among the popular yoga styles in the West.
As Choudhury yoga style started attracting more members, he became flamboyant; he was famous for wearing expensive jewelry and his fleet of sport or exotic cars. However, he got involved in several lawsuits and allegations on sexual assault.
Bikram and Copyright
Choudhury copyrighted his hot room series in 2002. After that, he got involved in several legal disputes over unauthorized use of his name as well as his methods using a different name.
In 2003, he was successful in suing a Los Angeles yoga studio for copyright and trademark violation. In 2004, he was sued by a San Francisco-based collective of hot yoga teachers; this group received cease-and-desist letters over using Bikram method. According to them, copyrighting yoga is wrong.
In 2005, both parties came to a settlement, they agreed not to use Bikram name and Choudhury agreed to drop all charges.
In 2011, Choudhury filed a high-profile suit against the New York-based studio, yoga to the people, this studio offers classes for yoga by donation in different cities in the Us. The case ended in 2012 when the owner of yoga to the people, Greg Gumucio accepted to drop Bikram’s series and name.
The case was significant even though it did not go to trial cause the Copyright Office of the United States made known that the copyright issued to Bikram series was a mistake, and that postures in yoga could not be copyrighted.
Bikram Sexual Assault
Things turned around in 2015, he got involved in lawsuits that were not related to his methods but sexual assault. He got involved with about 6 lawsuits on sexual assault or rape.
Although the details vary, they revealed a pattern of Choudhury preying on his students and teachers. A court in Los Angeles in 2016 ruled in favor of a formal legal advisor of Choudhury, who mentioned how she was harassed sexually and fired from her role for investing the harassment claims laid by other women.
Within this period, his wife, Rajashreee filed for a divorce. Choudhury fled the US, and a warrant for his arrest was issued for Bikram in California in May 2017. In November that same year, Bikram and his organization filed for bankruptcy.
The fall of Bikram served as a warning in the yoga sphere. The nature of practicing yoga usually creates close relationships, and some people may prey on this. His studios are still functional and most are managed by independent yoga instructors.
It is important you know that only the founder of this yoga style was found guilty.
Miss Yoga Fit advice
Even though Hot yoga is more intense compared to other cooler room classes, it is still a viable option for most yoga students.
Before you enroll for any yoga class, it is vital you consider the medical implication of the yoga style, contact your doctor or physician to know which style is suitable for you.