hot and hotter yoga

foujan at a yoga studio

Let me start by saying that I'm quite partial to this topic. Hot yoga is my absolute favourite. I crave it, I (sometimes) dread it, but I always love it.

To say that hot yoga is good for you is an understatement. Though it may feel unbearable at times, hot yoga offers unique health benefits that get you absolutely hooked. Being in a hot room gets your muscles (and the connective tissue around those muscles) limber letting you go further into that stretch. The cardiovascular benefits along with the added toning and strengthening elements help make hot yoga one of the most well-balanced workouts I've ever come across. On its own, it can do wonders, but partnered with a running routine - it's the perfect compliment.

I used to get very confused as to what 'hot yoga' actually meant, and it wasn't until I took the time to go to different classes that I really learned what I was getting into. The two most prominent types of hot yoga are Bikram and Moksha. Though they have many similarities, they're very different in practice.

Both Moksha and Bikram are a series of Hatha poses held for 30-60 seconds. While Bikram repeats every posture twice, Moksha incorporates a handful of flows to get the heart rate up and helps deepen the breath. Bikram is also practiced in a room at a few degrees hotter than Moksha; this is always relative to how many people are in the class - the more people, the hotter it gets. I especially love Moksha because of the instructor's ability to take creative license with each class; this energy really resonates with me and I've learned that some of my most creative moments come after a class - after countless hip and heart openers. That's what has kept me all these years, and I'm certain it's what will keep me coming back for years to come.

So should you ever want to try hot yoga, whether it's Moksha or Bikram, grab your mat (studios have mats to rent as well), your water bottle, and a towel and get ready to sweat and feel zen all in the same breath. It's rather liberating to feel so completely calm during such an amazing workout! Give it a try, I promise you won't be disappointed!


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I also got into hot yoga as my first experience. What I have learned is that it can actually rob your body of energy instead of giving it energy. I am becoming a bit of a purist, as you can see. I would offer this…Do some investigation of the energetics of sequencing in asana. I would offer that the hip and heart openers were not the cause of your creativity, but rather that you moved prana and the five prana vayus were affected. This is just my two cents.

All the best to you.

Comment by B — September 23, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

Thanks for this insightful post, Fouj. I’ve always been hesitant to try hot yoga, but your positive experience with it has opened my eyes to a whole other perspective. I’ll try it and let you know….!

Comment by Billie — September 23, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

Love it Fouj! Make me sweat.

Comment by Whit — September 23, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

Thanks for this post! I’ve never heard of Moksha and now I want to try it. I am however a Bikram fanatic and just finished my 60-day Bikram Yoga challenge. Yes, 60 days in a row of hot yoga. It’s life-changing!!!

Comment by J — September 24, 2009 @ 9:18 am

Amazing J! Moksha is similar to Bikram but it’s relatively newer and was created by Canadian students of Bikrams! You all should give it a whirl!!!

Congratulations for finishing your 60 days! You’re an inspiration!

Comment by Fouj — September 24, 2009 @ 10:32 am

I am soooo addicted to Bikram! :)

J – congratulations on completing the challenge! :)

Comment by Emma — October 11, 2009 @ 4:17 am

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