Clearing Up the Ambiguity of Hot Yoga

When asked if I teach Hot Yoga, I often answer with a question, is it Hot aka Bikram yoga, or is it Hatha yoga done in a heated room?

Hot as in Bikram

Bikram yoga is composed of 26 poses done in 105 degree heat. Some studios and teachers call it Hot Yoga mainly to avoid litigation and lawsuits from Bikram Choudhury, the creator of this specific yoga sequence. I described the details of this issue in my post Bikram Yoga – A Hot and Heavy Subject.

In some cases, people say Hot Yoga when referring to Bikram yoga because they enjoy the Bikram practice, but prefer to distance themselves from Bikram Choudhury and his controversial lifestyle and viewpoints. He’s drawn heat (har. har) by saying things such as “When in Rome, I must do as the Romans do. When in America, copyright and trademark”, “The whole Bikram class is one big brainwashing session”, and “Why are your legs spread? Women should not spread their legs any time, anywhere! Only in emergencies.” For more Bikram gems, check out YogaDawg’s Bikram quotable collection.

Hot as in Hatha

There is another type of yoga also called Hot Yoga, which is Hatha, specifically Vinyasa or Power Yoga, done in 80-95 degree Fahrenheit. This kind of Hot Yoga may involve a specific sequence, such as Baptiste Yoga, or a creative flowing sequence depending on the teacher (also sometimes called Flow Yoga). Some Ashtanga Vinyasa classes may also be done in a heated room.

There you have it, I hope this clears up the liberal use of “hot yoga” a bit. And to answer the question, no, I don’t teach any flavor of Hot Yoga. If the room is warm, that’s fine, but I’m not crazy about doing yoga in a scorching heat.