Hot yoga is one of the most popular yoga styles. It’s yoga performed in a heated yoga room set to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), lasting for 60 or 90 minutes.
Hot yoga is also called bikram yoga, centered around 26 basic yoga poses with a focus on alignment.
One thing that makes hot yoga so popular is how it’s promoted to increase weight loss by burning more calories (than other styles of yoga).
And if you’re considering it, something you might be wondering is how many calories you can burn doing hot yoga.
The short and simple answer is that depending on intensity, it’s possible to burn up to 200 or 300 calories per 90-minute session of hot yoga.
But for the full answer—including whether hot yoga burns more calories than other yoga styles—you need to keep reading!
Does Hot Yoga Burn More Calories?
It goes without saying that hot yoga can get intense. With the temperature cranked up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, performing each yoga pose feels more difficult as you get lightheaded and begin to sweat.
Many yoga studios promote hot yoga as a yoga style that can burn more calories than other yoga styles.
But the truth is that hot yoga does not burn more calories than other yoga styles.
Sweating more, whether that’s due to physical activity or heat, does not necessarily mean that you are burning calories.
So, unfortunately, if you were considering hot yoga over other styles as a means to burn more calories and lose weight, this is not the case.
Weight Loss Explained
To better understand why doing hot yoga does not necessarily result in burning more calories (and therefore losing weight), it’s important to understand how weight loss works.
Weight loss, the reduction of body fat, is achieved through two ways: burning calories and reducing your calorie intake.
Everyone has a daily calorie maintenance number (determined by age, current weight, and physical activeness). This is possible to find out using online calculators.
And, simply put, keeping your daily calories under your calorie maintenance number—by burning calories and/or dieting—is the key to weight loss.
How To Burn Calories
It’s no secret that burning calories is done through exercise.
However, what’s not as widely known is that exercise must be physically challenging to initiate the calorie burning process.
This requires elevating your heart rate to a point that your cardiovascular system is working harder than usual. More energy (calories) is needed as a result, converted from food sources or fat stores.
This intensity of fat-burning physical activity is called aerobic or anaerobic exercise. And you might be disappointed to find out that yoga, in general, is not considered aerobic or anaerobic.
So, as mentioned above, burning calories is not determined by how much you are sweating (for example, when doing hot yoga), but how fast your heart is beating (your heart rate, or BPM).
The Benefits Of Hot Yoga
While doing hot yoga does not necessarily mean you are going to burn more calories than doing other yoga styles, there are benefits to hot yoga that might be more than enough reasons for you to try, or continue doing, it.
The benefits of hot yoga include:
- Increases blood circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves skin
- Can reduce and help muscle pain
- Can reduce and help joint pain or inflammation
- Can increase flexibility and mobility
- Increases relaxation
- Induces sleepiness
So, as shown here, there are many benefits of doing hot yoga!
Hot yoga is generally very therapeutic and cathartic, offering advantages such as increased blood flow, reduced muscle and joint pain, and improved relaxation and sleep.
Why Do Hot Yoga Over Other Yoga Styles?
It should go without saying that many people do hot yoga for its perceived benefits for burning calories and promoting weight loss.
But now that you know that hot yoga does not necessarily involve more calories being burned than other yoga styles, why do hot yoga?
You might opt for hot yoga simply because you enjoy the hot environment, the poses and sequences involved, or the various benefits – such as better sleep, healthier joints, and improved blood circulation.
Of course, hot yoga can help you to lose weight by burning calories – as long as the routine is intense enough to elevate your heart rate. This can also be done by increasing your level of effort in a way that challenges your current fitness.
The Best Yoga Style For Burning Calories
Last but not least, if hot yoga does not burn more calories, which yoga style is best for burning calories?
The proven method for burning calories and, as a result, losing weight is an increased heart rate through challenging physical activity.
For this reason, ideal yoga styles for burning calories and encouraging weight loss are power yoga, ashtanga yoga, and vinyasa yoga – all of which are known for being physically challenging and dynamic in movement.
But, ultimately, any yoga style can be done to burn calories, as long as the yoga style challenges you.
This might be a physically demanding yoga pose that challenges your strength and flexibility, or a fast-paced, dynamic yoga sequence that challenges your stamina and endurance.
Looking for the short answer? It’s possible to burn up to 200 or 300 calories doing hot yoga.
This is a general answer, however, as factors that it can depend on include your age, weight, fitness level, the intensity of the hot yoga sequence, and the level of effort that you put in.
What’s also worth noting is that doing hot yoga does not necessarily mean that you will burn more calories than doing other yoga styles – despite hot yoga being promoted as an effective yoga style for weight loss.
This is because heat and sweat do not result in burning more calories, as the proven method to burn calories is increasing your heart rate to an aerobic or anaerobic heart rate through physically challenging exercise.