What’s The Difference Between Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga?

I have tried both Hot yoga and Bikram yoga to know that the two, while similar, are not the same. Both forms are practiced in a heated studio where postures are instructor-led…that is why perhaps some are confused but let me detail how they differ.

  • Hot yoga studio is heated to about 80-100 degrees with varying humidity. Bikram yoga setting is several degrees hotter: 105 degrees with 40% humidity.
  • Hot yoga poses vary while Bikram has 26 steady poses which includes 2 breathing drills imagesperformed consistently in a 90-minute session.
  • There is no bright light or surface requirement for Hot yoga sessions while Bikram requires
    mirrors and brilliant lighting.
  • Music, student-teacher interaction and clapping are common in a hot yoga class as opposed to Bikram’s hushed sessions.

The mirror

The mirror in a Bikram yoga studio serves as a tool to help establish a deeper relationship with yourself as you practice union of the mind and the body. It is there to help you appreciate what you find lovely about your body and confront, accept and liberate of what is not so lovable. It helps to have a deeper understanding of yoga.

Session duration

A typical Hot yoga session is 60 minutes long, enough to sweat it out really good and flush toxins out. Bikram is a longer 90-minute session which you may find tougher to get through but it is a matter of preference depending on your fitness level.

Class variation

As I mentioned above, Bikram follows a set of patented postures where all 26 are practiced consistently session after session. Hot yoga sessions on the other hand could vary depending on the instructor’s teaching style.

Teaching method

For those familiar with different yoga forms, you are likely to connect some Hot yoga styles to Vinyasa, Forrest, Iyengar, Ashtanga, etc. This is the kind of variation present in Hot yoga. Bikram yoga, meanwhile, strictly follows one style interpretation based on the training provided by its founder Bikram Choudhury where instructors and studios need to be affiliated.