The difference between Bikram and hot yoga

164_A_YogaYou may have heard of both Bikram and hot yoga: students pile into a heated studio where they sweat while moving through different yoga poses. What you may not know, however, is that these two types of yoga are actually not the same thing. While every Bikram class technically falls into the hot yoga category, not every hot yoga class qualifies as Bikram. If you’re interested in giving either of these practices a try, here are some of the key differences to know and what you can expect in your first class.

Bikram yoga defined

Founded by Bikram Choudhury, this type of yoga is a bona fide brand that has been copyrighted by its founder. Because of this, Bikram yoga follows a very strict set of guidelines. First off, every instructor must actually be certified to teach the class – meaning, a studio or teacher can’t advertise their class as Bikram unless the instructor has gone through the Bikram training program.

In addition to certified teachers, there are number of strict circumstances that must be met in order to qualify as a Bikram class. Here are three key requirements:

  1. The studio must be heated to 105 degrees with a 40% humidity level
  2. Classes must be 90 minutes long
  3. The same 26 postures, repeated twice, are done in the same sequence each class

In addition to these key requirements, the general atmosphere of a Bikram class can also feel very militant and disciplined. Both speaking and interaction with other class members is frowned upon. And you will rarely, if ever, hear a laugh in a Bikram class. You are expected to follow the postures, and little else.

Hot yoga

hot yoga classes are a lot more lenient than Bikram in both atmosphere and structure. To start, the temperature of a hot yoga room can be set anywhere between 80-105 degrees. And as for postures, they can vary from class to class depending on the teacher.

Also, talking and interacting with classmates is allowed in hot yoga classes, and you may even have a playful teacher who cracks a joke or two. And one last thing you may find in a hot yoga session that is strictly forbidden during a Bikram class – music. It may not be played during every session, but don’t be surprised if you yoga out to some tunes.

Want to learn more about hot or Bikram yoga? Have questions about other types of yoga like Hatha and Vinyasa? Check out our class schedule today, or call us to talk with one of our experts.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Three ways to do yoga at your desk

Yoga_Aug17_AIt can be difficult to fit regular yoga practice into a busy, work-dominated lifestyle – we get it. Like most of us, you spend most of your waking hours sat at your office desk, and by the end of the day you simply lack the energy or motivation to get to the studio and start on your yoga poses. But the sedentary office lifestyle can take its toll on your body, making it even more important to build in exercises that give you the stretches you need. Here are three yoga poses you can do even while you’re sat at your desk – so now there’s no excuse.

Seated Twist

The spine and lower back feels much of the pressure of our days spent sat in one position, and this pose helps you to release the tension in an easy-to-achieve way. Sat forward in your office chair with both feet flat, put your right hand on your left knee and slowly twist towards the chair by placing your left hand on the back of the seat. Hold the pose briefly before releasing, then repeat the same in the opposite direction.

Hamstring Stretch

As well as your lower back, your legs feel the effects of remaining still for too long while you work. It’s important to get up and give them regular exercise during the day, but you can also give them a quick stretch with this pose. Position yourself right back in your chair and raise one leg until it is parallel to floor, then run one hand as far along the shin as you can comfortably go. Hold for a second, return carefully to your normal position and then repeat with the other leg.

Shoulder Stretch

The neck and shoulders can easily tense up from too much time spent hunched over your computer while typing. To relieve the pressure, lock your fingers together while sat upright, and then stretch your entwined hands right above your head and facing upwards, with your palms out. After a few seconds, rest your hands on the back of your neck while keeping them locked, then raise them skyward once more. Unlink your fingers while keeping your arms in the air for a few more moments, then slowly lower your hands to your sides.

With moves like these, it really can be easy to squeeze a gentle yoga practice into your workday and reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle. To find out more about how yoga can help you remain fit and healthy, give us a call.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

Let yoga influence your daily life

Yoga_Aug10_AYou started practicing yoga in order to achieve more mindfulness and compassion. And while you’re on the yoga mat, that’s what you manage – you project your sense of connectedness with Mother Earth, while perfecting that toned body. But what about when you’re back to your day-to-day life? It’s all well and good being in touch with your inner self when you practice, but to get the most out of yoga you need to take the habits it inspires and put them to use when you’re away from the studio, too. Here’s how to do just that.

Be kind

Yoga emphasizes being compassionate to yourself, respecting your body and generally being the best person you can. But that extends beyond yoga, too – it’s not much use having all those glowing attributes while you’re in your favorite pose, but then being a miserable naysayer as soon as you hit the outside world. Practice being nice in your day-to-day life – smile and say hello to a stranger as you pass in the street; let that old granny have your seat on the subway; let go of negative thoughts, and avoid gossip. It’s easy to be nice when you make a conscious effort, so channel your energy in the same way as you do in yoga.

Slow down

It sometimes feels like the world moves at a million miles an hour, and that inner calmness we feel on the yoga mat can seem like it’s worlds away. But life only keeps up this pace if you let it. If you stop feeding the unrealistic speed with which things happen – and instead prioritize, take your time and enjoy the things you genuinely and comfortably have the time time to do – you’ll project that same calming persona out into the world around you. Remind yourself frequently that there’s no rush, and that you won’t achieve more – or benefit from the experience as much – by being hasty.

Stop wanting

Yoga teaches us to be grateful for what we have, to take in our surroundings and appreciate that there is so much more positivity around us than we see at first glance. But when you’re on your way home or back to the office after class, and are surrounded by billboards convincing you that you need this, and that your life won’t be complete without that, it’s easy to become materialistic – precisely the opposite of how yoga should have you feeling. Take stock of the person you already are and what you’ve achieved – and be content with it. You’ll soon find that you’re happier and more positive in a wider sense, too.


It’s the simplest things that we forget most easily, as we get caught up in our day-to-day schedules. A smile is the best way to transmit your positive vibes to those around you – it’s non-contact communication at its finest. Better still, the mere act of smiling puts you in an instantly better mood yourself (just try it, and you’ll see). Smiles make everyone look more attractive, and we’ve all heard that a smile uses fewer facial muscles than a frown, meaning it’s great for your long-term appearance and wellbeing, too. Just smile – it’s that simple!

Keep these nuggets of wisdom in mind the next time you finish a yoga session, and you’ll make sure the wellbeing benefits continue long after you’ve left the studio. Want to learn more about yoga? Shoot us a grin and we’ll set you on the path to a more positive you.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

What’s more important: yoga mat or towel?

164_EXg_ASo, you’ve decided to give yoga a try. You look up the class schedule at your local fitness center, choose a time, and you’re all set, right? Well, maybe – but maybe not. Two integral parts of any yoga session may be missing: the yoga mat and towel. So which do you invest in first and which is more important? Let’s take a look at the purpose of each of these yoga accessories so you can be prepared for your first class.

What is the purpose of a yoga mat?

While yoga is often performed in a studio or fitness centre, it’s true that it can be practiced anywhere – from your back porch to the sands of a desert or beach. With that said, why do you need a yoga mat to begin with? People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years and never had a mat, right? While it is true that yoga has been around long before modern day mats accompanied it, today classes are generally held indoors in a studio with hard flooring. Simply put, a mat serves as protection between you and the studio floor.

In a typical yoga class, you’re sometimes balancing on your head, back, forearms or other hard parts of your body. Making bone-to-floor contact can be downright painful, and the cushioning of a yoga mat prevents this. Even worse, you’re going to sweat during your class. And when you mix sweat with a hard floor, a slippery surface is the result. The yoga mat ensures that you’re not slipping and sliding all over the place and potentially tumbling over and getting injured.

Why do you need a yoga towel?

15 minutes into your first session, you’ll quickly discover the purpose of the yoga towel. You’re going to sweat a lot, and the towel helps mop it up. Additionally, a towel can serve as a sanitary barrier between you and the mat – which you might appreciate most if you’re not its sole user.

While there are towels specifically designed for yoga mats – that are sized to fit the mat and are more absorbent of liquids (like your sweat) – a beach towel will do just as well.

So do you buy the towel or mat first?

If you’re taking a class at a fitness center or studio, a mat is an absolute necessity. You likely won’t be allowed to join the class without one. Towels on the other hand can wait. Not everyone uses them, but they can be handy – especially if you’re participating in a hot yoga class where you’ll be sweating buckets.

As a final note, many yoga studios will also rent out/provide yoga mats for new practitioners. If you’re not ready to invest in one yet, then this is an option. However, if you’re going to be using a community mat, be sure to bring a towel. There have likely been dozens of people sweating on it already.

New to yoga and have questions? Give us a call today, and our experienced teachers will be happy to give you the answers you’re looking for.

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.