What is the Difference Between Hot Yoga and Bikram?

October 30 | Beginner Yogi | The Practice |

by Yoga Six


While both Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga take place in heated studios, that’s almost the end of their similarities. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, but in fact, these are two very different practices.

Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga can refer to any yoga class conducted in a heated room. Generally, heated yoga studios are kept between 95 and 105 degrees and the series of poses can vary quite a lot depending on the studio, the instructor, the class composition and the day. Hot Yoga classes are usually an hour long, although some studios offer longer 75 minute or 90 minute classes. Make sure you check your studio’s schedule to find the class that’s the right length for you. Classes may incorporate music to help inspire you and keep your energy flowing.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga, on the other hand, is a very specific and fixed-pose practice developed by Bikram Choudhury in the early 70s. This set of 26 poses is practiced in the same order the same way every time, with teachers following a prescribed script. There is no music and the room is kept at 104 degrees with at least 40% humidity for the full 90-minute class. Studios are carpeted, with mirrors on most walls. Bikram Yoga is only practiced in studios certified by the Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills, and all Bikram studios follow very particular studio and teaching standards to maintain their Bikram certification.

Hot Yoga and Power Yoga Classes

At each Yoga Six studio location, we offer two heated yoga classes in our schedules—Hot Yoga and Power Yoga. Some Hot Yoga classes, like those at Yoga Six, are highly structured with a consistent pose sequence, while others can vary. Many Hot Yoga classes are taught in a flow style, with linked poses that flow with the breath. At Yoga Six, this is how our Power Yoga class works, with creatively sequenced poses to keep you moving and sweating — the sequence will vary from class to class.

Taking a yoga class in a heated room can be an adjustment at first since you’ll find yourself sweating a lot more than in a non-heated class. As such, make sure you’re prepared for class with plenty of water, close fitting clothing that wicks your sweat, a towel for your mat and one for wiping your sweat. Hydrate well before your first class and don’t eat in the two hours before class begins. Once students have adjusted to the heat, however, many find that they enjoy the detoxifying feeling of sweating it all out. Students who feel particularly stiff may also find they enjoy the heat.

Why not give it a try? Whether you live in San Diego, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, Milwaukee or Leawood, you’ll be able to try a heated yoga class at any of our Yoga Six studios and discover which version of Hot Yoga is right for you. Our certified instructors are here to help you discover your ideal yoga class for a mind and body that is stronger, braver and calmer.