Key Differences between Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga

If you enjoy yoga, you must’ve thought about trying interesting practices such as hot yoga or Bikram. While many people think that hot yoga and Bikram are one and the same, they are wrong.

Both practices mean doing yoga in a heated room. Just like Fit Booty Barre and Cardio Barre Fusion are variations of the barre workout, hot yoga and Bikram practices are derived from the idea of doing yoga while cranking the heat up.

The differences between Bikram and hot yoga may seem subtle to some, but huge to others. Check out the basic differences below and decide for yourself.

The heat

One of the first (and for some, the most important) differences is how hot the studio actually is during the session. A Bikram yoga studio should be heated to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. By contrast, hot yoga studios can be heated to anywhere between 80 and 100 degrees (usually 85-95 degrees).

Our bodies may feel the difference in heat in completely different ways. We may experience high temperatures in different ways, which is often reason enough to make a choice between a Bikram yoga and hot yoga-style class.

The studio

You will easily distinguish between a hot yoga and Bikram yoga studio by the number of mirrors there are. Bikram studios typically have wall-to-wall mirrors, which is usually not the case with hot yoga rooms.

Bikram yoga strays from the traditional yoga practice in this sense. Traditional-style yoga practices see mirrors as a distraction from being aware of your body ‘’from the inside’’. They are felt to boost the awareness of the outer body, while the focus should be on the inner body.

By contrast, hot yoga studios may or may not have mirrors, depending on the instructor’s preference. Also, while a Bikram studio typically has bright lighting, a hot yoga studio may feature dim lighting such as candlelight.

The presence/absence or music is another difference. There is usually music in a hot yoga room, sometimes even upbeat rhythms, while there’s no music in Bikram studios.

The style

Bikram yoga is felt to be more rigid than hot yoga because it has a clearly defined set of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises that you repeat in each session. The poses are not only repeated in each session, but the order in which they are done is fixed. On the other hand, hot yoga instructors may incorporate different poses based on the class they are teaching or their personal style. Some poses do repeat, but never in a fixed order.

The duration

A Bikram yoga session lasts for 90 minutes, while a hot yoga session typically lasts shorter. Some experts believe that an hour of sweating the toxins out is more than enough to account for an efficient workout. However, doing authentic Bikram-style yoga requires 90 minutes because that’s how long it takes to go through the 26-poses routine.

The behavior

If you like interacting with other students in your yoga class, Bikram may not be the best style for you. Students should remain silent throughout a Bikram yoga session, and all interaction is strongly discouraged, which is usually not the case with any hot yoga class.

Enjoy the benefits of hot yoga at Fit Solana Beach and Downtown San Diego

Fit Athletic offers different hot yoga classes and aqua deep water aerobics for you to choose from. Try out Vinyasa Mixed at Gyms in Downtown, Carmel Mountain Fit or Fit Solana Beach, flowing from Ashtanga to Hatha to Vinyasa to improve balance, flexibility, and strength. Or challenge yourself in Fit Downtown’s Heated Inversion Flow class, in a studio heated to 95 degrees. If you are keen on trying out Bikram-style yoga, Fit Downtown offers Hot Yoga, a mix of traditional-style yoga and Bikram.

Grab our Fit Day Pass and try out different styles to see which one you like best!

Fontayne Sisson

Fontayne Sisson