Hot, or Bikram, yoga is a great way to sweat and get in a solid workout. While there are many classes available, with some simple steps you can actually partake in the same thing at home.
Especially now, with the global pandemic and strict restrictions still affecting most of the population, the question, “How to Do Hot Yoga at Home?” arises quite often. You don’t need to go outside your home to practise hot yoga and reap the rewards. You can do it in the comfort of your own, safe space.
If you’re wondering how to set it up, and what to do afterward, then read on and we’ll show you exactly how to do hot yoga at home.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga refers to forms of yoga that are done in an artificially heated and humidified room.
The usual claim is that hot yoga is just to make the exercise more intense, but the initial creation was something a bit different. Bikram yoga, the original form, was founded with the goal of creating an environment like India.
This is often tougher for people from moderate climates.
These days most people view Bikram Yoga as a more advanced version of the usual Hatha Yoga affair. If you keep in mind the original intent, however, you just may see that the founder of Bikram yoga was on to something.
The Home Hot Yoga Setup
Setting up the room is the first step. You’ll likely want to pick a room in your home, and while you need room to move, you’ll find that smaller rooms are easier (and cheaper) to heat for the session.
Ideally, the temperature in the room will reach somewhere between 95° and 105° point, along with high humidity to assure that you have the sauna atmosphere used in Bikram yoga.
To achieve those parameters, you’ll need a space heater of some kind and a humidifier to increase the moisture content in the room’s air.
Begin by turning on the devices with all doors and windows closed. A draft can create a big temperature difference, so you may also want to put a towel under any doors if the rest of the home isn’t locked up tight.
Most space heaters have a thermostat of some sort. Set it in the right temperature range, somewhere between 95° and 105°. You’ll do better a few degrees above where you’d like, since the monitoring electronics use air closer to the heater. If this is your first time with new equipment, make sure to keep a thermometer around and don’t get the temperature too high.
A bit of fine adjusting will get things nice and toasty.
Humidifiers are usually a bit expensive, and there are other ways to increase the humidity in the room. The easiest is to use a stove-top steamer, but not all situations have a stove in the room and it’s a bad idea to use a camp stove in an enclosed area.
In that case, a pool of water in front of the heater will work well enough although it may not create a truly “steamy” atmosphere. The ideal humidity when performing hot yoga is 40%, if you’re able to keep a tighter control on it. The whole process is meant to mimic the climate of India, actually.
Once your routine is dialed in, most people find that the time spent waiting for the room to heat up and get moist is perfect for pre-yoga meditation and stretching.
Is Hot Yoga for Everyone?
You’ll need to be honest with yourself on this one. Hot yoga is just another permutation of the yogic arts, it’s not the be-all, end-all of challenging routines.
In addition to the normal contraindications for yoga, hot yoga’s environment introduces some new elements to the equation.
All the following are good indicators you may want to go down another road:
- Heart Disease
- Low Blood Pressure
- History of fainting
- Past trouble with tolerating heat
All of these can make hot yoga dangerous.
A wise practitioner will consult with their doctor before engaging in any new form of exercise. We recommend you do the same here, especially since Bikram Yoga can be very intense.
Safety Measures to Take
Bikram yoga isn’t super dangerous to the practitioner, but the increased heat and intensity lead to some unique risks compared to other methods.
Doing it at home also adds some small risks you should be aware of before you begin.
The main problem for most people with any form of hot yoga is dehydration. The increased heat and sweating you intentionally sought out can cause rapid fluid loss. Keep a bottle of water around while you’re engaging in hot yoga, no matter how short of a session you’re planning.
Any sort of indoor heating also needs to be examined. Nothing with combustion should be used in a room that is entirely sealed to avoid any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Camp stoves and any kind of charcoal burner are entirely out of the question.
Lastly, a partner is a good idea if you don’t mind. Hot yoga, especially in extremes, can cause people to pass out. It’s not required but be more aware of how you’re feeling if going solo. At the very least, you should acquaint yourself with symptoms of heat stroke.
These minor precautions, combined with listening to your body, should eliminate most safety risks.
Designing Your Hot Yoga Routine
Many people who engage in hot yoga have a routine in mind. Specifically, the Bikram Yoga method which includes 26 different poses and 2 breathing exercises.
It’s a solid way to do things, and it’s time tested.
The routine is simple enough, but some of the poses are a bit advanced:
- Deep Breathing Pose
- Half Moon Pose
- Awkward Pose
- Eagle Pose
- Standing Head to Knee
- Standing Bow
- Balancing Stick
- Standing Separate Leg Stretching
- Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee
- Tree Pose
- Toe Stand
- Dead Body Pose
- Wind-Removing Pose
- Sit Up
- Cobra Pose
- Locust Pose
- Full Locust Pose
- Bow Pose
- Fixed Firm Pose
- Half Tortoise Pose
- Camel Pose
- Rabbit Pose
- Sitting Head-to-Knee Pose
- Spine Twisting Pose
- Blowing in Pose
There are sometimes slight variances in different classes, but the above routine is a solid example of Bikram Yoga.
It also contains some relatively advanced poses that aren’t suitable for beginners or particularly stiff intermediate practitioners.
If that’s the case, but you still want to perform hot yoga, it makes more sense to come up with a basic routine on your own. That way you’ll be able to use poses that you can perform well, without straining yourself in an already harsh environment.
We recommend sticking with the general outline, especially since you’ll be able to advance into a more traditional routine with time.
The Benefits of Performing Hot Yoga at Home
Hot yoga does a lot for the body.
While normal yoga routines can range from relaxing to very challenging, hot yoga is designed to test our limits by its very nature. You’re putting yourself in a relatively extreme environment and performing exercises, as noted above Bikram yoga routines are often a bit advanced.
The collision of benefits is one of the reasons why people engage in hot yoga.
So, you have the normal yoga benefits:
- Improved muscle tone
- Increased flexibility
- Stronger joints
- Help with some joint and lower back pain
- Meditative mindset
It’s an impressive list, and the benefits often seem to go much further than that simple list. While you’re in the “hot” zone.
Keep in mind that for us this is “hot” yoga, but it’s actually meant to mimic the conditions in India. This leads to a lot of sweating. You may also feel a bit more flexible than normal.
Regular sweating helps keep the pores clear, increased heat often helps with flexibility, and you may burn more calories than you would in a normal yoga session.
If no other benefit appeals, well… it’s a great way to build up resilience. Getting through the first few sessions is often much harder than anticipated, but soon you’ll find yourself relishing the challenge.
Sweating, controlled breathing, and the asana used all contribute to a feeling of cleansing during and after the session as well. This last bit is what most people are hoping to find when they engage in hot yoga.
For many people, awareness of poses is important. After all, each pose brings its own sensations and awareness. If you practice Hatha Yoga (or any other variant) mindfully, you should see if the asana makes you feel differently during a hot yoga session.
For most, the result will be well worth the costs of the journey.
Hot Yoga at Home? Yes Please!
I hope this article answers your question of how to do hot yoga at home. Being able to do hot yoga at home is a boon for many people, especially those solo practitioners looking to increase their options. It’s not hard, it just takes some resourcefulness and the will to complete the routine.
Are you ready to try it out at home? Let us know in the comments!