What Is Hot Flow Yoga?

Hot flow yoga is a fast-paced, strength-based style of yoga practiced in a heated room. It’s great if you’re ready to take your practice up a notch or looking to combine your yoga practice with exercise.

During a hot flow yoga class, you’ll practice movements in a room heated above normal temperature. Expect sweat, exciting sequences, and a great workout.

Let’s learn about the benefits of hot flow yoga, what it is, and when and how to practice it. We’ll also be sharing a few of our favorite poses and online classes so that you can start today!

Hot Flow Yoga Definition

Hot flow yoga (also called hot yoga) is a version of Hatha yoga practiced in a room heated to 95-100 at 50-80% humidity. The higher the humidity, the more you’ll sweat!

In increased humidity, your sweat won’t evaporate as quickly, meaning that your body takes longer to cool down. The benefit of this is that your body stays nice, hot, and flexible throughout your hot flow yoga class – you’ll also feel less sticky!

Although it’s a version of hatha yoga, hot yoga derives from Bikram yoga – a style practiced in a heated room that follows the same sequence every time. With hot yoga, teachers can put their own spin on the class and incorporate any poses they choose. This can make it easier to make classes more accessible for beginners – it can also make classes much harder!

Benefits of Hot Flow Yoga

There are general and more specific benefits to practicing hot flow yoga, as with any yoga practice. Here are just a few of the benefits that you may experience from practicing hot flow yoga.

Builds bone density

Practicing yoga regularly can increase bone strength and density. Yoga also improves balance, strength, and mobility, making it less likely that you’ll fall and injure yourself.

Improves flexibility

The increased heat in a hot flow yoga class will help warm your muscles so that you can stretch beyond what you would consider being your normal limit. In time, and with regular practice, you’ll find that your flexibility improves.

Nourishes the skin

Sweating is a great way to cleanse pores, increase circulation, and help your skin to glow.

Improves cardiovascular health

The combination of heat and movement during a hot flow yoga class will increase your heart rate and, with regular practice, improve your overall cardiovascular health.

Related: Hot Yoga vs. Regular Yoga: Which Is Better for You?

When to Practice Hot Flow Yoga

Hot flow yoga is ideal if you’re familiar with yoga and have practiced several times before or you’re looking for something a bit more strenuous. If you like to combine yoga with exercise and a little heat, hot flow yoga could be perfect!

Hot Flow Yoga Poses

Hot flow yoga poses include:

Pyramid pose

Start by standing at the front of your mat. Take a step back with your right leg so that your feet are about two feet (60 cm) apart. Turn your right toes out to 45 degrees so that they’re facing the top right corner of your mat. Keep your left toes facing forward. From here, bring your hands to your hips. Hinge at the hips to bring your torso parallel with the ground, focusing first on bringing your belly towards your front thigh. If you have no pain in the back, you can round the spine to bring your chest and forehead towards your leg. Place your hands on blocks on either side of your foot or the ground.

Exit the pose by grounding through the hands and bringing your back leg forward, coming into a forward fold.

Wide-legged forward fold

Start in a standing position facing the side of your mat. Bring your feet about three feet (one meter) apart and keep your toes facing towards the side of your mat – your feet should be parallel. If this causes pain or discomfort in your knees, you might like to turn your toes slightly away from each other. Grow tall through the spine as you bring your hands to your hips and take an inhale. As you exhale, hinge at the hips, keep your spine straight, and place your hands on the ground, your ankles, or on blocks that are shoulder-distance apart.

Exit the pose by walking both of your hands to frame your left foot, then step forward with your right leg into forward fold.

Warrior III

Come to a standing position at the front of your mat with your feet slightly apart. Bring all of your weight into your left foot as you bend your right knee to bring your foot away from the ground. Bring your hands to a prayer position at your chest and hinge at the hips to bring your torso parallel to the ground as you kick your right foot back to be parallel with the ground. Lift the chest slightly as though trying to practice upward-facing dog with your upper body and gaze to the front of your mat. For a core boost, reach your arms in front of you. If you’re struggling to balance, you might like to bring your hands to blocks or a chair.

Exit the pose by gently bringing your raised foot to rest on the ground and your hands back to a prayer position.

Seated forward fold

Start in a seated position with your legs straight out in front of you and your toes pointing towards the ceiling. Use your hands to bring your glute muscles out to the sides to rest on your sit bones. Grow tall through the crown of the head. On an exhale, walk your hands down your legs as you bring your belly towards your thighs. Come down as far as you can with a straight back, then round your spine to bring your forehead towards your legs if you have no pain in the lower back. Your hands can rest on your shins, ankles, or the floor on either side of your legs. Adding a folded blanket below your sit bones can make this pose more accessible, as can adding a bolster or rolled-up yoga mat below the knees for a gentle bend in the legs.

To exit the pose, slowly come back up to seated. Then place your hands on the floor behind you and push your shoulders back to open your chest.

How to Practice Hot Flow Yoga

You can start experiencing hot flow yoga from the comfort of your own home by picking a couple of the exercises that we’ve described above. However, the best place to experience hot flow yoga is in a studio where they have the equipment to control the heat and humidity of the room.

If you would like to familiarize yourself with hot flow yoga before heading to a studio, start with a couple of the poses outlined above or follow a YouTube video below.

Start Hot Flow Yoga at Home

Check out these follow-along videos if you can’t make it to a yoga studio or simply want to try hot flow yoga at home.

Hot Vinyasa Flow with Alexia

30 Minute Hot 26 Yoga Class

Hot Yoga Workout – Full 50 Minute Hot Yoga Class

Hot Flow Yoga FAQs

How Many Calories Do You Burn in Hot Flow Yoga?

For an hour-long hot flow yoga class, it’s estimated that you’ll lose between 400 and 500 calories. Because of this, you’ll need to ensure that you’re refueling with healthy snacks or a meal following your class. It’s also important to bring water to stay hydrated throughout your hot flow yoga class.

Is Hot Yoga Ok for Beginners?

If you’re attending a hot yoga class as a beginner to yoga, we recommend finding a Bikram class or a class intended for beginners. Although suitable for every level, the heat, exercise, and poses can be overwhelming! If you’re unsure, speak to the teacher running the class.

What’s the Difference Between Yoga and Hot Yoga?

While yoga refers to any style of yoga and a yogic lifestyle in general, hot yoga is the practice of asanas in a room where both the heat and humidity have been increased.

Important: Check with your doctor before trying hot flow yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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