Hot yoga is, well, hot. And if you literally like to sweat your buns off by doing your asanas with the studio furnace cranked from, 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, you'll be happy to know there are more choices than ever.
Because what constitutes "hot" is in the sweat pores of the yogi, there's no official set of standards and practices. You'll need to see for yourself what various hot yoga studios have to offer. Any form of yoga that is practiced in a heated room technically counts as "hot yoga," including heated Vinysasa and Yin.
Here are a few of the better established and currently popular options.
Bikram Choudhury invented hot yoga in the 1970s when he founded Bikram’s Yoga College of India. That makes Bikram Yoga the granddaddy of sweaty yoga. It's at the deep end of the pool in terms of tropical intensity: Bikram studios are heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and moistened to 40 percent humidity.
There's not much middle ground when it comes to Bikram. People either love its unvarying 90-minute series of 26 poses (or 60 minutes if you're doing Bikram Express) and tightly scripted instructors, or they don't. If you're looking to bliss out with a soothing touch, Bikram may not be for you.
Moksha Yoga -- also known as Modo -- is based on the grass-roots concept of community-based, independently-owned studios that disseminate its founders' seven philosophical pillars.
What, you may ask, are those pillars? Think environmental consciousness and:
- Be Healthy
- Be Accessible
- Live Green
- Community Support
- Be Peace
- Live to Learn
- Be Peace
Moksha varies from studio to studio and so may the temperature. It focuses on whole body strength and flexibility, beginning each class with a mind-centering relaxation pose.
Evolation is a rapidly expanding branch of yoga that teaches of Bikram's original primary hot series full blast at 105 degrees. But if you like the idea of warm but aren't so crazy about going all the way hot, Evolation offers Flow, Ashtanga and Yin classes at temperatures ranging from 75 to 90 degrees. Evolation, which places a fair amount of emphasis on lifestyle and inner work, has studios in 25 countries, including the United States, South America and Australia.
Founded in the 1940s, Baptist Yoga finds its origins in Krishnamacharya's Hatha Yoga and the yogis that evolved from them, including BKS Ivengar and TKV Desikachar, the latter whom founder Baron Baptiste studied with personally.
Baptiste is hot, but not crazy-hot, with studio temperatures set to the mid nineties. Baptiste Yoga emphasizes "a true immersion into your physical and mental self." Baptiste's Power Vinyasa Flow Yoga is a particularly vigorous form of yoga that connects breathing to movement, incorporating flexibility, strength, balance and mental focus in each session.