Hot yoga, such as Bikram, has divided yogis for years. Whilst some people, like Madonna and Gisele swear by it, there are several studies that show doing yoga in extreme heat provides no more benefits than doing it in a cool air-conditioned room.
During Bikram yoga you position yourself into poses whilst in a studio heated at approximately, 40°C heat and 60 per cent humidity. The heat is designed to promote sweating to flush toxins from the body, whilst also encouraging further stretching.
But what exactly are the benefits and disadvantages of Bikram yoga? Take a look at the pros and cons of the practice below...
Hot yoga has a devout following, but it's not without risks
It's good for your skin - Sweating causes your pores to open up, which helps to keep your complexion clear. Sweat also contains a natural antibiotic known as dermcidin that can help kill bacteria on the skin.
It aids your flexibility - When your muscles are warm you can get deeper into a stretch whilst reducing muscle soreness.
Hot yoga helps flush out toxins, keeping your skin clear
It helps you de-stress - Yogis swear that the endorphin rush they feel after a 90-minute sweat session is far greater than after any other class.
It helps you focus - As the heat makes it harder to breathe you are forced to concentrate more on your breath pattern, which is an integral part of yoga.
Hot yoga can leave you feeling dehydrated and nauseous
It's dehydrating - Although you are advised to drink roughly two litres of water before attending a class, the heat will still leave you feeling thirsty. Sip on water slowly during the class as too much will leave you feeling uncomfortable when you attempt the poses.
It can make you nauseous - The heat can be overwhelming at first, leaving you feeling dizzy and sick. If this happens it's important to take some time out and focus on your breathing until you feel better. Yoga is not competitive, so don't push yourself as it will just leave you feeling worse.
Hot yoga helps you focus more on your breathing
It's time consuming - All Bikram classes last for exactly 90 minutes, which can take a big chunk out of your day. Particurlalrly when you factor in that after sweating so much you will have to take a shower before going anywhere else.
You can injure yourself - Although working in the heat can help you achieve a deeper stretch, it's important not to push yourself too hard. If you force yourself into joint-heavy poses, you risk tearing a ligament.
Doing yoga in heat can cause you to stretch too far
Pro and Con
It's difficult - As you're having to focus far more on your breathing than you would in a regular yoga class, this can make it harder to balance. First-timers may feel slightly out of their depth for a while, but for seasoned yogis, the added difficulty may just help to give you the push you need.