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Why I don't do "Hot Yoga"



I know…EVERYONE loves hot yoga! I just can’t do it. Watch this video for normal temperature yoga https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAFQLda6AEE&t=3s

I wanted to like it. I know there are a lot of great benefits from the heat. But after giving it a shot these were my main complaints:

I kept almost blacking out. The room would start spinning. Everything began to go dark. I had to sit down. My friend, Amber, actually had a seizure in a Bikram class several years ago. The ambulance and EMT’s took her out on a stretcher. The teacher just kept the class going.

It’s hard to know how flexible you are. The heat makes your body extra limber. This might seem good until you over stretch. The possibility for injury is greater when you’re body is that hot.

The teachers can be kind of mean. I noticed multiple hot yoga teachers pointing out student’s mistakes to the class. It seemed that modifications we not welcome. It kind of scared me.

I know some people love hot yoga (but it’s not for me). I may have just had some bad experiences. It was a long time ago (probably 1997-ish), so things could be different now. The very first yoga classes I ever went to were at a Bikram studio. My friends were really into it and I had been wanting to try yoga. I was sooooo disappointed because I didn’t realize there were other styles of yoga. I was super happy to find that wasn’t the case. And…BTW, I actually know a couple of hot yoga teachers who are very sweet.

If you want to practice normal temperature yoga I recommend www.myyogapal.com

Love,

Lesley

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28 comments

  1. lol lol great story ……………….omg so funny

  2. My yoga teacher training was hot yoga and after practicing in the heated studio we had to sit and do our lesson in the hot studio. I threw up the first evening and had headaches. I am grateful for the training and loved my teacher but it's not for me!!

  3. about to watch the video but I know I hate hot yoga hehe!

  4. I agree with all of this. Hot yoga is dangerous for all the reasons you mentioned, and the idea of "toxins" in the body is essentially made up to market diets and products — if you have toxins in your body, your liver/kidneys/etc should be taking care of it, and if they're not, you need medical treatment, not hot yoga. I also have a distaste for hot yoga because yoga, at its core, is a spiritual practice that in India is practically religious for some people. It seems offensive to me to turn it into this sort of negative, unhealthy environment that is so far from where it originated. That's why your channel is my favorite, Lesley — I feel constantly reminded that this practice is about breath and connecting to the body, not physical achievement, and not only do I love that, but it feels like the most respectful way to practice in the West.

  5. I SO agree Lesley!
    I cannot even do Saunas! 😅😂🤣

  6. Interesting anecdote about how Bikram hot yoga was started in response to the room being so cold… When I tried hot yoga it was summer time in Miami beach and when the teacher put the heaters on I thought, this doesn't make any sense it's already So hot. I felt like I was going to pass out a couple times but at the end I did feel like every single pore in my body opened up. I never tried it again however because the hardcoreness of it wasn't too inviting. Thank you for your perspective.

  7. Its funny to me that simply sharing your opinion about not liking something upsets anyone. Maybe you should do a meditation video focused on allowing others to be who they are without feeling the need to bitch at them about it. 🙂 thanks for posting this Leslie. I 100% feel the same as you. Which is why I prefer doing your videos daily on my own or with my friends.

  8. Actually I can't avoid doing "hot yoga" specially in summer. That's because I live in Rio de Janeiro 😛
    Never tried this type of classes, I don't even know if there are classes offered in my city because, well, we already feel enough "hot" in the daily basis! Good explanation Lesley, loved these videos. Thank you!

  9. Also another question for Leslie and anyone else who wants to chime in but what’re your thoughts about this newer trend that’s starting in NYC about “Cold Yoga”? And I’m not joking, there’s a couple of studios in NYC that specialize is combing yoga with Cryotherapy! 🥶

  10. I’m interested to know from you Leslie and anyone else who would love to comment… but what is the fine line temperature where the yoga class becomes a “hot” or non hot yoga class. I teach one hot yoga class a week and that studio keeps it at 90 and it can change depending on the weather outside. But whenever I teach a non-heated class, I like keeping the room at 76-77 during the warm seasons and 78-80 during the colder seasons. I don’t feel like 80 is “hot” but I feel the room is at an appropriate amount of warmth especially during the winter season. I don’t like “cold” rooms (but that’s a preference influenced by my Vata dosha).

  11. I love your practices, especially the yin/restorative. Love your quotes, your voice, the instruction. I so agree with you about hot power yoga. At my gym it is the most popular style of yoga—but is it really yoga…or just gymnastics on a yoga mat? The pace is so fast that no one is linking breath to movement (if they are, they are hyperventilating!). People think they are getting rid of toxins (hello, your liver does that every second of the day) and burning calories. But in today's world, we need to calm down our nervous system, not ramp them up. I used to be intimidated by yoga instructors and followed all their protocol, including the not drinking water part—even during a hot yoga class—but until I have a yoga instructor who is also a MD and who knows me and my body, sipping water is something I will continue doing. The rationale for hot yoga is that yoga started in India and India is hot, but c'mon. Most of us are not Indian. And we aren't even doing yoga in the most traditional way. I don't think Indians years ago were practicing yoga wearing expensive leggings! Time to keep it real and remember that yoga is enough without all the gimmicks. We don't need to drink beer and or have goats climbing over us when doing yoga. I knew an instructor who said "We don't live to do yoga better. We do yoga to live better." I don't think a room filled with 40 people that's 108 degrees before all the bodies squeeze in where you are going as fast as you can while the instructor barks instructions while blasting hip hop music with lyrics that are anything but yogic enbales me to live better. But your videos do! Many thanks.

  12. I live in North Idaho and our winters can be tough — where you feel cold to your bones at some times. I’ve considered going to hot yoga just to hang out in child’s pose and get warm in those cold dark months 😅, otherwise not a lot of interest from me. I also really enjoy inversions and don’t feel like I’d do them as well if I was super sweaty. But everyone is different, and I love that yoga is for all bodies and all tastes ☺️

  13. Now how is this controversial? If you don't enjoy being baked alive in your own sweat, there shain't be anything wrong with that. Especially if its that hot and stinky.
    Toxins in the body? I bet a person who doesn't eat all that will still get dizzy. It's HOT and STINKY. That will make someone faint from the stuffiness.

  14. I agree 100% Lesley, thank you <3

  15. Not sure why not liking hot yoga will be controversial. I love it but also like to try other types which is how I found you. I’m blessed to go to a studio that is more about your inner being. If you need to take a break, take a break. Some instructors will tell you how to correct your poses but they don’t yell at you. This made me appreciate them more. I haven’t tried another studio so I’ll stick with them.

  16. Thank you for your insight as an amazing Yogini on how it may not be good to do Bikram so often.. 🙂 I loved it and wouldn’t mind it once in a while- but that ish drained my Chi- esp in the summer. 🙏🏾
    I love your channel! Thank you for your peace presence every morning in the comfort of my home 😇💕

  17. I don't like doing ANY sort of exercise in the heat! I like it if I can have the room a little cool. I suppose everyone's heat tolerance is different, but I would be very uncomfortable.

  18. So ironic. Yoga is meant to make you feel good, and hundreds of people have the same types of experiences with hot yoga. My gf threw up after the class for two days straight, I got a crazy headache, dizzy, felt like poop etc with bikram. I've tried hot yoga (not bikram) with my sister who loves it, and I have to drink TONS of water before hand, and really listen to my body, and stop with the slightest bit of discomfrot. But I have also felt really good coming out of a hot yoga session (granted the teacher was soooo nice, and so soft, and kind and told us to rest whenever etc etc..) So I have had both positive and negative experiences. I get both sides but honestly….I'd rather do yoga outside during the summer 🙂 and with your videos, its free! Win win for all 😀

  19. Ashtanga yoga was my introduction to yoga. And I love it! 😊🙏

  20. Thanks for your authenticity! I teach yoga in Texas and get ask this question all the time. I respond similar and suggest yoga outside in the summer. Namaste…. Love your channel!

  21. Simply put Hot Yoga works, the reason I do Yoga is to feel good , and nothing else I have ever done has given me that feeling of contentment to the degree hot yoga has and how accessible it is on a daily basis , Hot yoga is a very important tool in our society which is well needed, I average about 250 classes per year I never had a injury or seen anybody else , injuries still occur in a non heated rooms so I dont know why you want to push a negative vibe onto something that promotes clean living, and helps people feel good, I dont care who invented it or the history , it works

  22. My first time, I felt great. 2nd time, was the dizzy, nauseated, smelly…just like your experience. I went about 5 more times. It was OK but very boring. I felt like it focused more on the actual poses than getting anything out of it. I’ll say, though, that the instructor did encourage hydrating and pausing if you felt light-headed. I haven’t been back. I do, however, like “heated” yoga practices.

  23. I've been practicing with you for two years now between your channel and Yoga with Adriene and Yoga with Tim. I wanted to let you know, my life has become vastly different since practicing. Yoga has strengthened my relationships with myself and others. It's helped me accept and let myself flow. I've come to be sensitive to my body mind and soul, knowing what I need for myself. So thank you. I appreciate the work you put into this channel.

  24. Totally get the smelly feet carpet thing – PEEEUUW!! And as a retired professional dancer and dance teacher who's done a ton of lovely yoga in LA, the one hot yoga class I ever did came as a bad shock – when the very bossy teacher told me to LOCK my knee when standing on one leg, I was out of there. SUPER dangerous and irresponsible teaching. I'll never go back!

  25. Thank for sharing Leslie! I have tried hot yoga for my first time this year in California:I was skeptical but I later found it has its own benefits like the sweating, the mirror etc..still, I do agree with you that it is so much better for me to practice listening to my body in a room temperature environment because I get more improvement. I do believe that each one of us is different and that's why there are SO many types of yoga and fitness programs and sport disciplines! 🙂
    Take care and keep up the good work!

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