Hot Yoga has become very popular over the last couple of decades with studios popping up all over. Hot Yoga combines a yoga work out with a detoxifying sweat session all in one. Most hot yoga classes are in a room that is heated to around 100 degrees F and participants lay towels on top of their yoga mats and sweat as they go through the yoga asanas.

Hot yoga has a few really good benefits. It opens up your sweat glands and skin pores while sweating out a lot of built up toxins. The body and the muscles are heated up so they become more pliable and can be stretched farther than normal making it possible for your body to explore new limits. You also expand your endurance as your body performs above its limits in the heat.

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The history of hot yoga is not very old. It started in the western U.S. over the last few decades. Bikram Chouadhury is probably the founder of hot yoga. He studied yoga in his home country of India and then migrated to the U.S. in the 1970s and started teaching yoga. He became successful selling yoga to the more wealthy people in Hollywood and Beverly Hills and started training teachers and selling franchises. Bikram made a routine of 27 basic yoga asanas, placed a copyright on them and markets them as his own. Training teaches for a fee and then in turn they become certified to sell training sessions and certifications.

Now Bikram has over 500 franchised studios around the world and lives in Beverly Hills from the profits of it. Many people believe he has no right to copyright yoga asanas that are thousands of years old and feel like his studios are just a scam catering to the yuppie recreation yoga crowd.

Like anything that is successful, there are spin offs so you can find a small variety of hot yoga studios that are very similar to Bikrams. Many use the same exact routines and asanas and the instructors probably were trained at Bikrams. Bikrams has never tried to use his copyrights in court and most people believe they would not hold up.

What to bring to a hot yoga session

Rubber Yoga mat

Usually you need your own yoga mat because they get covered in sweat each time and need to be washed. Some places will rent them for a fee to pay for the time it takes to clean them. If you would rather rent, be sure to call ahead and make sure the studio you are planning to use has them available for rent.

Large towel

Bring a towel large enough to cover your yoga mat and soak up all of the sweat. You will need this because without it, your mat will become a slippery mess.

Water bottle

You will be spending an hour in 100 degree heat and you will probably want at least a few sips of water. It is probably good for your body also to put some fluid back into yourself. Be careful because gulping down too much water at once can cause nausea or cramping. Most people bring a 16oz bottle and take small drinks and during short pauses in the routines.

Many studios will have beginners’ sessions where the routines are not as hard and the heat is not turned up as much. If it is over whelming at first, don’t get discouraged. Most people’s bodies get used to it fairly quick. The first session is the worst and by the 3rd session, most people have adapted to the point it is no longer overwhelming.

If you haven’t tried a hot yoga session, it is worth a try. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards to replenish your body.