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The Truth About Hot Yoga

by Marianne Navada

I go to a heated vinyasa yoga studio and here are the 6 claims I’ve heard teachers make regarding the benefits of heated yoga and the intense sweating generated from the heat.

Releases Toxins

Glowing skin

Burns calories 

Regulates Metabolism

Relieves Depression

Lowers Blood Pressure

I have read similar claims from wellness blogs as well. The problem is that when reading scientific journals and less simplified articles regarding hot yoga, the results are not so simple. 


Studies regarding hot yoga have a small sample size, they are usually not from a controlled group, and it’s hard to distinguish if it’s yoga, the heat, or other factors that lead to certain results. We have more to learn regrading the health effects of yoga. Although what we have is a promising start, we just don’t have definitive answers, yet.

Claims regarding detoxification are just inaccurate, since we don’t necessarily “sweat out” toxins. 

Extreme sweating such as hot yoga is “simply losing water” and the sweating process doesn’t burn off extra calories. 

So, should you try hot yoga and if you already are doing it, should you continue? 

If you want to try it, then read this article regarding the different types of hot yoga and see which one is right for you. And of course, always consult a physician or medical expert when trying any strenuous activity and exercise. 

We might not yet be able to definitively measure the health benefits of yoga, but one thing is for sure: if done safely it’s harmless. By safely, this means listening to your body and not pushing too hard to the point of injuries. Yes, like any activity, yoga can lead to injuries if done improperly. 

Claims regarding detoxification are just inaccurate, since we don’t necessarily “sweat out” toxins.

My Story

Personally, I practice regularly in a heated environment. Although I find that balancing my heated studio practice with an occasional free-flow movement at home helps when it comes to working on certain poses.

Here’s what I know for sure: 

  1. I feel more open when I practice in a heated room, especially when it comes to backbends and forward folds. 
  2. It’s easier to heat up the body so it cuts up my warm up time, which allows me to practice more advanced poses in a shorter period of time. 
  3. Con: I don’t get to feel the intense tightness and the eventual opening that follows from a non-heated class. For me, this process is lost in heated yoga. 
  4. When I started doing heated yoga, I felt fatigued an hour after the class ended, but I was able to address this by making sure to drink at least 32 oz. of water right after class. 
Commit to living.