Bikram Yoga, which is also known as Hot Yoga, is getting more popular among yoga community. One of the key reasons is that people believe that hot yoga will help them to lose weight in a quick and easy way. The perception comes from the experience of sweating profusely in the class.
Now, is it true that Bikram Yoga will help you to lose weight? Read on to find out more.
Bikram Yoga class is conducted in a room heated to 105°F (40.5°C) with a humidity of 40%. Therefore, everyone will sweat like pig. Some gyms are pushing hot yoga packages to their members with the following claims:
- Hot yoga make you sweat. The more you sweat, the more calories you burn.
- Sweating will also detoxify your body with healthier circulatory system which brings positive effect on metabolism. With better metabolism, you can shed your weight easily.
- Warm temperature warm your muscles easily. By warming your muscles, you can burn fat easily.
- Hot yoga will help build your willpower and mental strength that comes from the challenge of practicing yoga in a heated environment. You can then resist temptation to overeat and will lose weight.
Now, are all of the claims true?
Let’s look at the first and second point. Hot yoga makes you sweat. Fine, but is sweating really a good indication of detoxification and therefore helping you to lose weight faster? When you sweat, you lose mainly water. Once you drink water to rehydrate yourself, you will regain the weight. In fact, it is not true that the more you sweat, the more calories you burn. Check out my article of The Truth Behind Losing Weight by Having Sauna or Steam Bath which is based on the same concept.
As for the third point saying warmed muscles will burn fat easily. I do not find any scientific proof about the direct correlation between warmed muscles and calories burning.
Last point, hot yoga build your willpower. I think that it is possible and it may really work for some people. But, many other sports or activities you can do so to build the similar mental strength too.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying hot yoga is bad. Hot yoga, just like the other types of yoga, is good. My thought on this issue:
- My concern is that people are expecting miracle after attending only few sessions of the hot yoga class. Right after the class, some people will quickly stand on the scale and jump for joy after seeing the “weight loss”. Those are temporary loss. Like other exercise, you can only see results after attending Bikram yoga for several times a week and for at least few months. After practicing yoga for sometime, you will develop muscle tone through various asanas or postures.
- Second, hot yoga should NOT be the only weight loss tool if you seriously want to lose weight. You need to have health eating plan and do other exercise too. In fact, other cardiovascular exercise such as jogging, swimming or cycling may help you lose weight faster than yoga.
Weight loss should not be the only reason you start learning yoga. Yoga improves flexibility and also help release stress. At the end of the day, exercising frequently is important to lose weight and maintain your weight. So, if you join Yoga class next time, do not expect you will experience weight loss immediately. Treat it as a bonus if you really lose weight.
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