Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hot Yoga Vs. Bikram Yoga

I usually go to Bikram Yoga Classes (at Bikram Yoga Farmington...come and say hello some time!!!), but tonight at the Fuller Movement Center, they are having a free introductory "Hot Yoga" class, and I am going to take it. I am not sure how much different it will be from Bikram Yoga, but I will surely keep you posted.

My friend Katie (who dances with me in Soma Dance Company) will be taking her first EVER Hot Yoga class (never taken Bikram either...) so I will be sure to tell you know she liked it too!



We went to the Hot Yoga Class last night! Myself, my dancer friend Katie, and 2 of my YogaDirect co-workers, Tom and Colleen went as well. None of us have been to a "Hot Yoga" class, but Colleen and I had been to Bikram Yoga before and were anxious to see what the differences were between the two styles of Yoga in a heated room. Here's the differences we noticed:

The Atmosphere:

Bikram Yoga Class is strict. As soon as you walk into class, you begin your meditation. You only use energy to move and talking is not allowed in the room.

Hot Yoga on the other hand, was a bit more lenient when it came to class etiquette. Everyone was smiling and the room felt more relaxed. There was (rock!) music playing and no one got yelled at for talking.

The Heat

Bikram Yoga- Walking into a Bikram Yoga class is like walking into a wall of heat. There is no escaping it and you just have to learn to deal with it ASAP.

Hot Yoga- The heat was less intense, and it felt more dry. It really wasn't unbearable at all, except Tom was right next to one of the heaters and remarked that at times he couldn't take the heat anymore and wanted to leave the room!

The First Pose

Bikram Yoga begins each class with the breathing exercises. They are supposed to warm you up from the inside out and set your breathing pattern for the whole class.

Hot Yoga class began in Child's Pose, and the instructor, Adrienne talked us through bringing air into our lungs like bringing gas into a car's gas tank. Then slowly, she had us pressing down into the floor using our energy, and before we knew it we were in Sun Salutation headquarters.


Bikram Yoga class makes me sweat from the moment I walk into the room until I get home and into the shower. When i leave Bikram class I am completely COVERED in sweat, and so is my towel, and my Yoga Mat.

Hot Yoga class didn't have me sweating until the 2nd set of Warriors, and from then on I sweat a lot! The only thing I didn't like about sweating in this particular class was that we did so many inverted postures that sweat kept dripping in my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. At the end, I left pretty sweaty, but not as bad as if I had been in a Bikram Yoga Class.

The Postures

Bikram Yoga has the same 26 postures in the same order every single class. There's no surprises and I know exactly what pose is coming next and how to prepare myself for it.

Hot Yoga class was much different. The teacher's style had a flow to it, and she took us through Sun Salutations, Warriors, and even inverted postures at a fast speed. Tom and Colleen agreed they thought the class was a little fast paced. Katie and I struggled a bit with the fast paced class as well, but I think it was Adrienne's dialogue through the postures kept me going. I think also because Katie and I are dancers we understood the flow of the postures and caught on faster. I did like that we did all sorts of postures that were different from the ones I am used to in Bikram because it is good to change it up!

The Dialogue

Bikram Yoga has a set "script" the instructors recite. I have been going to class so long I can even sometimes recite it in my head with them. Every so often the instructor may break free of their script and give the class a some little tidbits about life, stretching, or the benefits of the posture, but usually the dialogue in class stays basically the same.

Hot Yoga class conversation was more open. Adrienne explained postures, talked about chakras, said some funny jokes, remarked about the music that was playing, and more while we went through the asanas. It was more relaxed, which led my mind to wander a bit more than if I were just to be left to focus on silence and breathing. While the talking surely helped me stay in many of the hard postures without realizing it, it sometimes it made me chuckle and lose my concentration. I'm not saying that it is bad to have fun in Yoga class, but I just wasn't used to it.

The End of Class

Bikram Yoga Class end the way it begins - with a breathing exercise. After, you are instructed to lay down in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 3 minutes to let all the Yoga you just did just kind of settle in your body. I usually struggle to relax myself after such a tough class, and am not sure if I have ever had enough discipline to remain in Savasana for more than the 3 minutes.

Hot Yoga Class ended with Savasana as well, but I found my body wanting to relax more after this class. I am not sure if it was the difference in heat or the postures we did, but I do believe I could have laid in Savasana after that class forever!

So here's the lowdown:
If you are looking for an intense yoga class where you can practice in heat, meditate inwardly with minimum help from the instructor, you'd be best taking a Bikram Yoga Class. However, if you are into practicing Hatha yoga postures that flow in a heated room filled with music and an instructor that interacts with the class, you should take a Hot Yoga class.

All in all, I think I enjoy both. It is nice to go regularly to Bikram Yoga class, and then to every so often go to a Hot Yoga class. If you want to go to a really great Hot Yoga Class, take Adrienne's class at the Fuller Movement Center! I know I will be back :)


Amy Lynn said...

Hey I like the comparison chart. Usually a hot yoga class is just a vinyasa (which is a variation on ashtanga) class with heat. Bikram is supposed to challenge your mind and body. I prefer regular hot classes.

YogaMaendy said...

Thanks for your comment Amy! I am not sure if I prefer one over the other..but I do wish you could have taken the class with me! ;) See you ALL next week in class!

BabYpose said...

Just can't wait to join you for any yoga after i get a baby :)

YogaMaendy said...

BabYpose - congratulations!!! let me know when you are back in class ;)