The difference between Bikram and hot yoga

164_A_YogaYou may have heard of both Bikram and hot yoga: students pile into a heated studio where they sweat while moving through different yoga poses. What you may not know, however, is that these two types of yoga are actually not the same thing. While every Bikram class technically falls into the hot yoga category, not every hot yoga class qualifies as Bikram. If you’re interested in giving either of these practices a try, here are some of the key differences to know and what you can expect in your first class.

Bikram yoga defined

Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this type of yoga is a bona fide brand that has been copyrighted by its founder. Because of this, Bikram yoga follows a very strict set of guidelines. First off, every instructor must actually be certified to teach the class – meaning, a studio or teacher can’t advertise their class as Bikram unless the instructor has gone through the Bikram training program.

In addition to certified teachers, there are number of strict circumstances that must be met in order to qualify as a Bikram class. Here are three key requirements:

  1. The studio must be heated to 105 degrees with a 40% humidity level
  2. Classes must be 90 minutes long
  3. The same 26 postures, repeated twice, are done in the same sequence each class

In addition to these key requirements, the general atmosphere of a Bikram class can also feel very militant and disciplined. Both speaking and interaction with other class members is frowned upon. And you will rarely, if ever, hear a laugh in a Bikram class. You are expected to follow the postures, and little else.

Hot yoga

hot yoga classes are a lot more lenient than Bikram in both atmosphere and structure. To start, the temperature of a hot yoga room can be set anywhere between 80-105 degrees. And as for postures, they can vary from class to class depending on the teacher.

Also, talking and interacting with classmates is allowed in hot yoga classes, and you may even have a playful teacher who cracks a joke or two. And one last thing you may find in a hot yoga session that is strictly forbidden during a Bikram class – music. It may not be played during every session, but don’t be surprised if you yoga out to some tunes.

Want to learn more about hot or Bikram yoga? Have questions about other types of yoga like Hatha and Vinyasa? Check out our class schedule today, or call us to talk with one of our experts.

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