Is stretching in a hot room actually more effective long-term?

Someone asked about stretching in a hot room and after looking at the answers, I felt compelled to make a few points:

“hot” is a relative term

Different people consider different temperatures hot. When Bikram instituted hot yoga here, he was merely making the room similar to the normal temperature in India. “hot” here is normal there… and that also goes for Indian food and drinks. What they consider normal is actually scorching hot to us.

Everyone is Different

I know people who cannot get enough of the heat. 105 is nothing to them. Crank it up to 120 and they are finally satisfied. Other people wilt in 105…. I know personally that the type of heat makes a big difference. I hated the heaters in the ceilings at Bikram Yoga Boca Raton. But I loved the heat at Delray Beach. Same temperature, same practice but one place I could do 3 sets in a day if I felt like it and I could barely last through one at Boca.

Hot Yoga Works but some Bikram Followers advise a lower temperature

Hot yoga works and it works well. If you’ve read either of Bikram’s books then you can see a 70+ year old man doing things I still can’t do and it’s all because of hot yoga.

That being said, both Tony Sanchez and Jimmy Barkan use and recommend a temperature of 85 F over the standard 105 in Bikram studios. If you read any of their books they advise against 105 and mention the possible health risks of it. These are experienced teachers so they have reasons for what they are saying. But you have to weigh that against the fact that Bikram has trained 10s of thousands of teachers and many people swear by the recoveries they have made through hot yoga.

My main injuries have come from cold rooms

Cold rooms are ideal for yin yoga so that you stretch ligaments instead of muscle. But mixing an active yoga set without adequate warming up and it’s hello injury. The Bikram set is a masterpiece that starts with a breathing exercise and other poses to get the body warm and lubricated and ready for 90 minutes.

if hot yoga didnt work studios would not be in business and prospering

Bikram’s original hot yoga has spawned a number of variants and most are prospering. Modo Yoga was packed to the rim in Venice, CA while we barely had 6 people in our Sivananda classes! Some people use infrared heat. I used to do Ashtanga Yoga at Yogaworks in Santa Monica and they kept the room nice and toasty there too.

At the end of the day, you are at the center of your universe.

Talk to a health professional. Talk to your higher self. Do what feels right but realize that the best answer is within you. If you have doubts about this, then follow another path with proven results that you want to achieve yourself.

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