Is Hot Yoga Good For Weight Loss? So, you’ve decided to give hot yoga a try. It exercises your body and helps improve its flexibility. Sounds like a great way to get in shape, but is hot yoga good for weight loss?
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot Yoga encompasses a variety of yoga types, including including hot vinyasa, Bikram, Barkan, and Babtiste yoga, which are all practiced at The Hot Yoga Spot. A hot yoga class is practiced in a heated room, anywhere from warm (90-95 degrees) to hot (95 -105 degrees). You can find both slower-paced hot yoga such as a hatha style, and faster paced powerful flows like vinyasa. While there are a variety of hot yoga offerings to try, each type can promote powerful weight loss benefits.
How Can Hot Yoga Help You Lose Weight?
While Hot Yoga provides a high calorie burn, the weight loss benefits it provides can be seen off the matt as well. Some of the most common benefits people can experience from hot yoga are listed below.
Increased Calorie Burn
Performing yoga moves in an environment that has been heated to a much higher temperature than normal can increase the heart rate and lead to more calories being burned through the course of the workout. This can assist with a faster progression of weight loss over time.
Yoga of all types is well-known for increasing flexibility. However, hot yoga can be even more beneficial for this purpose. Heat can help relax the muscles and make them more pliable, leading to an increased level of flexibility and a decrease in muscle strain. Increased flexibility can also allow you to engage in even more types of physical activities that can all come together to help you lose weight efficiently.
Improved Detoxification and Circulation
Sweat is a natural part of the body’s detoxification process. Many internal impurities can build up inside our body over time and can be effectively released through our skin when we sweat. Performing yoga moves in a heated environment helps boost circulation and can improve overall cardiovascular functioning. This can lead to more consistent and effective weight loss efforts.
Increased Mind-Body Awareness
One of the greatest benefits many people experience from engaging in hot yoga is an increased mind-body awareness. An improved mind-body awareness can allow them the insight needed to make better decisions regarding their health. Many active yoga participants report that they have an increased motivation to consume healthy foods, drink more water, and make other lifestyle enhancements that help boost weight loss and improve overall wellness.
Benefits of Hot Yoga That Are Actually Legit
I’ve never taken a hot yoga class, but I’ve always had an easy time imagining what it might be like—thanks, in part, to my roommate (a walking ad for the workout), and also because the A/C in our apartment broke once. After sweating through my sheets, I decided hot yoga belonged on the back burner.
But in a recent effort to turn up the heat on my workouts (pun intended), I’ve been thinking about giving it a go. Is it legit, though? Do 100-degree temperatures actually make a difference? Or am I just going to end up slipping on my sweat for no reason?
Before risking a fainting spell mid-downward dog, I checked in with Jorianne Numbers, MS, an exercise physiologist at Northwestern Medicine, who walked me through the benefits and downsides of hot yoga.
The Benefits Of Hot Yoga
It makes you more flexible.
“Temperatures are usually up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Numbers, and the humidity is way up there, too, at around 40 to 60 percent.
The warmer room will make it easier for your muscles to stretch. The steamy temps “allow you to increase their range of motion and stretch deeper within each pose,” since heat makes muscles more pliable, says Numbers. Unlike stretching it out in a standard cool yoga studio, the heat will have you feeling like a pro and extending further than you thought you could.
As an added challenge, the heat in a hot yoga studio will make your heart pump way faster, because it needs to push more blood toward the skin in an effort to keep you feeling cool, says Numbers. And more heart-pumping means a better cardio workout than you’d get doing the same yoga sequence in a cooler setting.
It helps kick stress to the curb.
Okay, yeah, regular yoga practiced in air conditioning can help you chill out, but the heat’s an added bonus. “Usually, hot yoga makes you focus on your breathing more,” since it’s sweltering in those rooms, says Numbers. And breathing deeper is key to relaxation and stress-relief.
It ups your lung capacity.
While you might think a stifling room makes it harder to breathe, the breathing exercises in hot yoga can actually help train your lungs to retain more air, says Numbers. Deeper breaths force them to expand more than usual, which allows for more oxygen to enter the blood stream and get to the other organs.
It burns major calories.
“Any kind of movement that increases your heart rate will help burn calories and promote weight loss,” says Numbers. And hot yoga is a pretty good calorie-torcher. Even though you’re not running and jumping around, again, that hot room gets the heart going. One study from the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found women burned an average of 333 calories during 90-minute slow-moving, heated yoga session. Add a fast-moving Vinyasa practice to that mix (which made the Women’s Health list of top calorie-burning exercises) and you’ll really feel the, well, burn.
Types Of Hot Yoga
1. Bikram Yoga
This style of yoga was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. Choudhury is also the founder of Bikram’s Yoga College of India. He came up with a 26 pose sequence which, according to him, could result in a healing of the body and mind. It is practised in a heated studio set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit because it allows students to be more flexible, sweat out toxins and get a cardiovascular workout
2. Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga
Baptiste power yoga is another type of hot yoga that can successfully help you burn calories. It was developed by Baron Baptiste, and it is more of a blend of several styles including Bikram, Iyengar and Ashtanga.
It is performed in a 90 degrees Fahrenheit room with challenging postures and sequences that increase the heart rate. Several other types of power yoga achieve the same results, but not all types get your heart rate up enough to burn calories and result in fat loss.
Ted Grand designed the Moksha hot yoga. This type uses the same sequence for each class, but there is no regulation on the poses that a teacher has to use. The Moksha yoga classes last 90 minutes, and they begin with a relaxation pose to centre the mind before the practice begins.
Moksha instructors are encouraged to design classes in a way that enables their students to develop strength and flexibility throughout the body. Moksha studios have variations, but they all focus on the use of green and eco-conscious building materials.
4. Hot Power Yoga
Hot power yoga refers to a broader type of yoga practice which does not have as many limits as the other types mentioned above. This type borrows a lot from the tradition-based Ashtanga style, but it does not specify a particular style or school of yoga
This type of yoga can broadly cover classes that incorporate a blend of common principles such as the use of a Vinyasa flow to shift from one posture to another and heating the studio from anywhere between 85 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Is Better For Weight Loss: Hot Yoga Or Running?
The more intense the exercise, the more calories will be burned, and the better the hot yoga everyday weight loss results. For example, sprinting burns more calories than jogging because it is more intensive. Similarly, jogging will burn more calories than walking. You will burn more calories depending on how long you practice, your fitness level, your current weight and even gender.
A 2014 study conducted by the Colorado State University’s lead researcher Brian Tracy established that on average, men burn 460 calories while women burn 330 calories per hot yoga class. There are Bikram practitioners who claim that 1,000 calories are burned per class, but such claims are not backed by research.
Typically, running ought to be better for weight loss, but the problem with running is that you get exhausted very quickly. In the long-run, hot yoga may be better because one can work on the entire body. If a part of the body is feeling weak, you change the pose and continue with your practice, but when it comes to running once you are exhausted, that’s it.
Whether you opt for hot yoga or running, the bottom line is that the results are dependent on a range of other external factors. Some of those things include your diet plan, the duration of your workout and the condition of your body.
Calories Burned in Hot Yoga
Typically, more intense exercise burns more calories. For example, jogging burns more calories than walking and sprinting burns more than jogging. How long you practice, your current weight, your fitness level and gender also play roles in how many calories you’ll burn.
But one thing is for sure: Estimates for calories burned during a Bikram yoga class, for example, vary widely and may be inflated. While some practitioners claim you can burn 1,000 calories per class, scientific research doesn’t support that.
In a 2014 study performed at Colorado State University, lead researcher Brian Tracy found that on average, women burned 330 calories and men burned 460 calories per Bikram class.
Hot Yoga vs. Other Types of Exercise
Burning 330 to 460 calories per day through exercise will help you create the deficit needed to burn fat. Combined with a reduced-calorie diet, you’re well on the way to creating the 500- to 1,000-calorie daily deficit needed to lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week. But you might burn even more calories — in less time — if you participate in other types of exercise.
The average calories burned in a 90-minute hot yoga class, according to Tracy’s findings, are about equivalent to walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour for the same amount of time. You can burn the same number of calories in half the time by running at a pace of 5 miles per hour or cycling at a pace of 12 to 13.9 miles per hour. Cycling at a pace of 16 to 19 miles per hour burns just about as much in 30 minutes as a 90-minute Bikram class.
Ultimately, however, the most important factor in fat loss is finding an activity you love to do that keeps you exercising day after day. If hot yoga is your favorite activity, keep on doing it. Combine it with a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and you’ll achieve fat loss success.