What's the Difference Between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?

Kaisa Kapanen
What's the Difference Between Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga?

You have most likely seen Hot yoga offered in many studios, as Hot yoga is gaining popularity quite fast. And then there is Bikram yoga, which is also done in a hot room.

So what's the difference between the two? Are you practicing Bikram yoga when you attend Hot yoga class? Actually, you are not, but you are practicing Hot yoga when you are attending a Bikram class.

Although they get mixed up a lot, the only similarity between Bikram yoga and Hot yoga is that they are both done in a hot room. Let's examine the two and see what's happening.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram yoga was started by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970s. This patented practice is taught in special Bikram yoga studios with carpeted floors, mirrors on the walls, and bright lights. The classes follow the same sequence for exactly ninety minutes, and the teachers need to be certified by Bikram himself.

The classes go through the same twenty-six poses every time, in the exact same order, and the teachers talk you through the same script. The room should be heated to exactly +40°C degrees (104°F) and with a humidity percentage of forty. There should be no talking among the students, no interaction (including hands on adjustments by the teacher), and no music.

Bikram yoga builds up muscle strength and flexibility, and additionally it is said to release toxins because of the heat and sweating. Whether this is true or not, it is a workout and you will sweat a lot!

Hot Yoga

When entering a Bikram yoga class you pretty much know what's going to happen. Hot yoga, on the other hand, will always be different depending on the teacher and the style of yoga offered.

Hot yoga can be more active Vinyasa, Power yoga, or quiet like Yin yoga. The sequence is therefore always different, and there are no rules on how the environment should be set up.

Hot yoga is basically various yoga classes offered in a hot room. The room temperature of a Hot yoga class varies between 32-40 degrees Celsius (90-105 F).

Helpful Tips

As you can see, although these two may seem alike, Bikram yoga and Hot yoga are actually two very different concepts. In both cases, it's important to stay hydrated, and start slowly. Drink enough fluids before the class, and take a bottle of water with you.

Listen to your body and any warning signs it may give you. If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous, this may be a sign of a heat stroke, so take a break or get out of the hot room.

Hot yoga, as well as Bikram yoga, can bring a nice touch to the approaching winter days if you're keen to try them, so stay safe and enjoy the warmth!