Bikram Yoga Vs. Hot Yoga – Which One Is The Best For You

Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA Experience: 3 years

The other day, I chanced upon an article that spoke about Bikram Yoga for weight loss. I read through it diligently so that I could decide whether or not to join a Hot Yoga class that was just down the road. Basking in ignorant bliss, I had almost made up my mind, when I realized that Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga are quite different from each other. In fact, all Bikram Yoga is Hot Yoga, but all Hot Yoga is not Bikram Yoga.

Before we delve into the differences, let us determine what these two forms of yoga are all about.

What Is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a form of Hatha Yoga that is unique because of the specific postures and breathing exercises that are performed in a heated room.

Bikram Choudhury is the founder of Bikram Yoga. He formulated a set of 26 yoga poses and two pranayamas. This yoga champion founded a Yoga College in Beverly Hills, California, and began to teach his method of yoga, which went on to become one of the most popular styles of yoga practiced in the West. Hollywood began to endorse this form of yoga, and its benefits became the talk of the town.

What Is Hot Yoga?

Hot Yoga is a Vinyasa style of practice that includes a series of linked poses. It is done in a warm room that is set at a particular temperature and humidity. Since it is a vigorous style of yoga, you tend to sweat a lot and also lose weight.

What Is The Difference Between Bikram Yoga And Hot Yoga?

Now that you have a rather broad understanding of what these two forms are all about, let’s get into the finer details and look at the differences between the two.

1. The Studio

At the outset, one of the very first differences you will notice between the two forms of yoga is the studio. While a typical Bikram Yoga studio is mirrored from wall to wall, the Hot Yoga studios do not have mirrors on the wall. The reason behind this is that yoga believes that mirrors are distracting. It is said that they curb your full potential of awareness. This is not only counterproductive to your practice, but it also defies many yoga principles

2. The Temperature

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Bikram Yoga studios are usually called torture chambers. They are heated to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, with a humidity level of 40 percent.

Hot Yoga studios are fairly cooler at around 35-38 degrees Celsius. The humidity levels in these classes vary.

3. The Conduct

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When you begin to practice these form of yoga, you will also notice the difference between the conduct expected from you. Bikram Yoga expects army-like discipline, where you are not allowed to talk or laugh for the duration of the practice. Hot Yoga is a lot more lenient. You can ask questions, play music, and if the situation demands, have a good laugh too.

4. The Duration

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Time is also a big differentiating factor between the two practices. A Bikram Yoga class has a set time of 90 minutes. You have to do the practice in a hot room for this time period without a break.
A Hot Yoga class never goes over 60 minutes. They believe that you sweat, lose toxins, and gain flexibility without getting dehydrated in this time span.

5. The Postures

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A Bikram Yoga class is scripted. The teacher is made to say the same things every day as you practice the structured 26 postures in the same routine along with the two breathing exercises.

A Hot Yoga Class has a diverse range of asanas that are practiced in different sequences set by the Yoga teacher, depending on their own style. This, in some sense, allows your body to react differently to every class, and change itself every day.

6. The Schools

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Bikram Yoga is a single school of yoga, which is taught in a strict, set pattern. This form of yoga allows no scope for interpretation or change in style. It concentrates more on the body.

Hot Yoga is structured on different styles of yoga. You could adopt Ashtanga, Iyengar, or Vinyasa, or any form that the teacher adopts.

Now that you have these pointers, it will be easy for you to decide which form of yoga you want to take up. While Bikram Yoga concentrates on the stringent training of the body in severe conditions, Hot Yoga adheres more to the principles of yoga, adding a little vigor to make the practice more effective. You could try both and make that final decision. Just make sure you know what you are getting into. Consult with your doctor before you do so as there are a whole lot of contraindications involved in both these forms of yoga. If you are pregnant, steer clear.

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Shirin Mehdi

Shirin MehdiHealth & Wellness Writer

Shirin is a health and wellness writer with three years of experience and specializes in writing articles on yoga and has extensive knowledge about the postures of the asanas. Prior to joining Stylecraze, she interned with an advertising firm as a copywriter and as an editorial intern for a luxury fashion magazine. Always muddled up between traditions and modernism, full bio

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