Bikram Yoga VS Hot Yoga

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Bikram Yoga VS Hot Yoga

The Distinction Between Bikram and Hot Yoga

Any yoga class performed in a heated room is referred to as hot yoga. Though there are several types of hot yoga classes, Bikram yoga is the original and one of the most well-known. Despite the fact that some people use the terms "hot" and "Bikram" interchangeably, the truth is that all Bikram yoga is hot, but not all hot yoga is Bikram.

Yoga in the Heat

Hot yoga is frequently a flowing vinyasa style of practice in which the teacher guides students through a series of linked poses. During class, the temperature is usually kept between 95 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

As you might expect, a vigorous yoga session in high temperatures warms the body and causes profuse sweating. The goal is for the heat to relax your muscles and the sweat to cleanse your body.

Bikram yoga is only one form of hot yoga. Other popular hot yoga options include the Canadian import Moksha yoga (known as Modo yoga in the US) and the rapidly expanding CorePower yoga chain. Many independently owned and operated yoga studios also offer heated classes in their own unique style.

Precautions and Tips

Hot yoga will necessitate preparation as well as heat-resistant equipment:

During a hot yoga class, you will be sweating profusely on your yoga mat. Yogitoes Skidless mat towels (or other products of a similar nature) are popular hot yoga accessories. These towels are used to absorb sweat and improve traction on your mat. Many studios offer mats and towels for free or at a low cost. If you are concerned about germs, inquire about how the studio cleans its mats or simply bring your own.

The sweating involved in hot yoga necessitates the selection of appropriate yoga attire. To avoid slipping during poses, both men and women prefer tight-fitting tops and capris or long pants.

The temperature in a hot yoga class will vary depending on the style and studio. Some can reach temperatures of 108 degrees Fahrenheit, making the 75 degree Fahrenheit rooms appear almost chilly.

The phrase "sweating out the toxins" is popular among hot yoga practitioners. The truth is that sweating is not a part of our bodies' detoxification system, though it can make you feel better in the end.

Drink plenty of water before and after class to avoid becoming dehydrated. You can also take small sips of water during class, but doing so may cause bloating and impair your ability to feel comfortable in each asana. It is not advisable to eat within two hours of attending a class.

Hot yoga is not recommended for pregnant women because it can raise core body temperature.

Yoga Bikram

Bikram Choudhury is the creator of the Bikram yoga system and a hot yoga innovator. His method is the first to be used in a hot room. It is a one-of-a-kind set of 26 postures, including two pranayama exercises, that are performed twice in a single 90-minute class.

Some hot yoga classes adhere to the Bikram method, while others do not. Classes that explicitly state that they are Bikram will generally adhere to the proprietary 26-pose format. In contrast, a non-Bikram hot yoga session can be any series of yoga poses conducted in a heated room.

Bikram History

Choudhury was born in 1946 in Calcutta, India. In his youth, he was a yoga champion, as was his wife Rajashree. Choudhury established the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, California, in 1974 to teach his method. It quickly became one of the most popular yoga asana styles practiced in the West.

As the Hollywood elite began to flock to Bikram's yoga classes, he began to live an increasingly ostentatious lifestyle. He became well-known for his collection of sports cars and his extravagant jewelry.

Copyright Concerns

Choudhury copyrighted his series of 26 poses performed in a hot room in 2002. Since then, he has been embroiled in a number of legal battles, both over the unauthorized use of his name and the use of his method under a different name.

Choudhury won a copyright and trademark infringement lawsuit against a Los Angeles yoga studio in 2003. When a San Francisco-based collective of hot yoga teachers sued him in 2004, he became the defendant.

This group had received cease-and-desist letters for using the Bikram method without permission. The plaintiffs contended that yoga cannot be protected by copyright. In 2005, the parties reached an agreement in which Choudhury agreed not to sue and they agreed not to use the Bikram name.

In 2011, Choudhury filed another high-profile lawsuit. This time it was against the New York-based studio Yoga to the People, which offers donation-based yoga classes in a number of US cities. In 2012, the owner of Yoga to the People, Greg Gumucio, agreed to stop using Bikram's name and series.


The focus of Bikram's legal problems shifted away from the protection of his yoga method in 2015. He was named in at least six civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault or rape dating back several years.

Sexual Assault and Bikram Yoga

Though the specifics differ, they point to a pattern of Choudhury preying on young female yoga students and teachers, particularly those enrolled in his intensive teacher training program. A Los Angeles court ruled in favor of Choudhury's former legal advisor, who claimed she was sexually harassed and fired for investigating other women's harassment claims.

Rajashree Choudhury filed for divorce around the same time. Bikram also fled the country. In May 2017, a warrant for his arrest was issued in California, and by November, he and his company had declared bankruptcy.

Bikram Yoga Today

Choudhury's downfall can serve as a cautionary tale in the yoga community. Because of the nature of the practice, close relationships are often formed, and some people may choose to take advantage of this.

Bikram yoga studios are still open, and many are run by independent instructors. As a result, it's critical to remember that only the founder has been charged with wrongdoing in these cases.

Last Word 

Although hot yoga is a viable option for many yoga students, it is significantly more intense than classes held in cooler rooms. Consider any medical conditions you may have before enrolling in a class and consult with your doctor about whether it is appropriate for you.

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