If you’re a yoga pro, fitness enthusiast, or just looking for an exciting way to stretch your muscles, hot yoga is the way to go. By raising the temperature of your standard yoga workout, another dimension is added, which promises to make it the sweatiest exercise you’ve ever done.


This steamy variation isn’t just there to make you drip, as it comes with a number of physical and mental rewards: deeper stretches, cardiovascular improvements, enhanced stress relief, and loads more! So what does hot yoga involve, how does it help, and why should you be practising it?

To answer these questions, we’ve created a helpful guide with assistance from three yoga instructors. They help us explain what hot yoga is, the benefits of hot yoga, the risks, and how to prepare for your first session.

Our hot yoga experts

Zinzi Miller, Jessie Jones and Danny Garg
Our hot yoga experts Zinzi Miller, Jessie Jones and Danny Garg.

To help us understand more about hot yoga, we’ve enlisted the help of three yoga instructors. They know all about stretching in the heat and have decades' worth of yoga teaching experience between them.

Our first expert is Danny Garg, founder and CEO of Valka Yoga, a sustainable yoga brand. He can usually be found on his yoga mat, teaching or hosting a callisthenics/gymnastics class at his local gym.

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Our second expert is yoga expert Zinzi Miller. Zinzi is the co-founder and director of Ark Connect, a safe space for training, development and connection for well-being practitioners. Zinzi and Ark host yoga retreats and also provide a library of yoga poses and exercises to be used by trainers.

Our final expert is Jessie Jones, a yoga instructor at OriGym, where she helps aspiring and experienced yoga teachers and personal teachers in reaching their goals. She also teaches yoga outside of work and specialities in unlocking clients’ potential in a way that suits them.

What is hot yoga?

Hot yoga is a form of yoga practised in a studio which is heated up to a temperature ranging between 27C to 40C. Just like regular yoga, hot yoga sessions usually follow a sequence of yoga poses, also known as asanas. These poses are then combined with controlled breathing exercises.

Although hot yoga has been around since the 1970s, it is only over the last few years that it has seen a spike in popularity. It was first introduced as a style of yoga to recreate the hot and humid conditions of India, where yoga originated. The desire to feel like you’re in India isn’t driving the most recent popularity increase. Instead, it is the added physical and mental advantages that hot yoga has over regular yoga.

The most common type of hot yoga is Bikram yoga, consisting of a sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in a specific order. In recent times, yoga instructors have started teaching in a variety of ways which don’t always follow a specific pose structure. Alternatively, they have just taken their regular classes in a hot setting because of the benefits heat can have on the body when performing yoga.

Our expert Zinzi explained that hot yoga is “traditional yoga that is performed in a heated room. The exact temperature varies on the studio and instructor, as do the exercises performed.”

“The increased heat and humidity in the room can make the practice more demanding and intense and offer a unique and challenging experience that combines physical movement, breathwork, and mental focus. It also offers both physical and mental benefits, which are enhanced because of the heat in the studio.”

Woman Touching Toes During Hot Yoga Class

Five benefits of hot yoga

It won't come as a surprise that there are several benefits of doing yoga in a hot studio. After all, getting that sweaty has to come with some advantages, or why would anyone do it?

Our experts explained that the elevated temperature in hot yoga studios intensifies the benefits that would typically come with doing yoga at room temperature. It isn’t just physical benefits but mental as well. Here are the main ones:

1. Increased flexibility

Zinzi shared that “practising hot yoga has a multitude of potential benefits, with one of the most noticeable being flexibility. The heat makes the muscles more pliable (easily stretched), which helps aid more flexibility within the session and thereafter.” This is because the heat warms the muscles, which allows for a deeper range of motion and an increased ability to perform testing yoga poses.

Danny reiterated this and added that “the heat helps muscles relax, which then allows you to stretch them more deeply. This then leads to an improved range of motion.” Yoga as a whole is great for flexibility, and if you want to learn more about how yoga can increase flexibility, then check out our article on the best yoga poses for flexibility, as recommended by experts.

2. Skin and detoxification benefits

Jessie explained that “excessive sweating, which hot yoga promotes, is great for the skin as it brings nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the surface and improves circulation. Just make sure you shower straight afterwards to rid any toxins or salt from the skin that will irritate it!”

Zinzi adds that “sweating during hot yoga can help detoxify the body by eliminating toxins through the skin.” This is because the elevated temperature and sweating during hot yoga help to flush out toxins from the body. Sweating aids in the removal of these impurities, which then promotes a sense of cleansing.

3. Improved cardiovascular health

As well as the general benefits of yoga for the body and mind, Jessie explained that “hot yoga is especially good for cardiovascular health because it increases your heart rate more than standard yoga because your body is working hard to keep you cool!”

It also improves cardiovascular health because hot yoga is strenuous, so elevates the heart rate, increasing cardiovascular endurance over time. The combination of heat and physical exertion provides a challenging cardiovascular workout which will help to improve cardiovascular health over time.

4. Helps burn calories

Danny explained that the intense nature of hot yoga can contribute to weight loss and calorie burn. The heat increases metabolic rate by activating thermogenesis, a process in which the body generates heat to maintain its core temperature. This means calories are burnt more efficiently than normal with consistent training.

5. Stress relief and mental benefits

Danny explained that “when performing hot yoga, it’s common for yogis to experience a feeling of heightened mental focus.” Zinzi reiterated this and added that “some people find that the heat and humidity help them to relax and relieve stress both physically and mentally.”

This is because hot yoga incorporates breathing exercises, meditation, and mindfulness techniques. The heat and focus on breath control can help to calm the mind, reduce stress, and promote mental awareness. Yoga is also a physical exercise, so releases dopamine which is the brain's ‘happy chemical’.

Woman during yoga class

What are the risks of hot yoga?

Taking part in hot yoga, especially in very hot temperatures, does have some risks and potential dangers. It’s important to be aware of these, so you can plan how to manage them and avoid illness or injury. It’s also worth noting that heat can have different effects on everyone, so it’s important to listen to your body during each workout and take a break if you need to. Here are some hot yoga risks to be aware of, according to our yoga experts.


Jessie explained that “because of the increased temperature and how much you’re sweating in the practice, there’s an increased risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of water or coconut water before and after the session.”

Zinzi added that “it's crucial to stay hydrated during hot yoga classes, as the combination of heat and physical exertion can cause increased sweating and fluid loss. Many studios recommend bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated before, throughout, and after the practice.”

Danny told us that “while hot yoga offers numerous benefits, there are risks to be aware of. The intense heat can lead to overheating or heat exhaustion if proper precautions are not taken.” The risks come because exercising in a hot and humid environment can increase the likelihood of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Symptoms of heat-related illness may include dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and fainting. It's important to listen to your body, take breaks, and seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms.

Overexertion and muscle strain

Jessie explained to us that “you can also overstretch without realising because some may assume the room takes care of warming up our muscles for us! This isn’t the case, so do some preliminary stretches if you can and don’t go to your full capacity in the first section of the class whilst you’re warming up your muscles.”

Practising proper form, modifying poses as needed, and respecting your body's limitations can help mitigate this risk.

Cardiovascular stress

Zinzi told us that “it's important to note that hot yoga may not be suitable for everyone. The heat can be challenging for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as cardiovascular issues.”

Hot yoga can place additional strain on the cardiovascular system due to the combination of intense physical activity and heat. Individuals with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular issues should consult with a healthcare professional before participating in hot yoga.

Male yogi drinking liquid for hydration

How to prepare for your first hot yoga session

Now you know all about hot yoga, how can you best prepare for your first session? Fear not, our experts have given some tips and tricks to help you before starting. With decades of experience guiding people through the practice, they know the best ways to set yourself up for a successful hot yoga sesh. Here are some of their top tips:

  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is crucial before, during, and after hot yoga. Drink plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your class to ensure your body is well-hydrated. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, breathable clothing that allows for ease of movement and helps wick away sweat. Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that can help keep you cool and comfortable during intense practice.
  • Bring the essentials: Pack a few essentials for your hot yoga class, such as a non-slip yoga mat, a towel to cover your mat or wipe away sweat, and a water bottle to stay hydrated. Some practitioners also find it helpful to bring an extra towel to use as a prop or for extra grip.
  • Eat mindfully: It's best to practice hot yoga on an empty stomach or have a light snack a couple of hours before the class. Avoid heavy or greasy meals that can make you feel uncomfortable during the practice.
  • Arrive early: Plan to arrive at the studio early to acclimate to the heat and get settled. This will give you time to sign in, set up your mat, and mentally prepare for the practice.
  • Listen to your body: During hot yoga, it's important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Pace yourself, focus on your breath, and modify poses as necessary. Don't push yourself beyond your limits, especially if you're new to the practice.

Want to learn more about yoga and see some more expert-led reviews and fitness guides? Head over to The Recommended’s fitness section. Here you can see The best yoga mats as recommended by experts, Yoga vs Pilates, and The best full-body workouts to perform at home.


Finn ByrneEcommerce Writer

Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.