Sweating it out in a hot yoga class studio can make you question a lot of things. Starting with can it get any hotter? Can an average person do that pose? And how many extra calories you are burning by practicing in all that heat? I mean, with all that sweat rolling off of you (sorry to be gross), you are probably sweating away some extra calories.
Does Hot Yoga Burn More Calories?
Although the belief that hot yoga helps you lose weight has been making the rounds, spoiler alert, it is not backed by science. Practicing yoga will burn calories, an important integral part of weight management. However, the scientific jury is still out on whether or not hot yoga burns more calories than any other style of yoga.
So, Should You Quit Your Hot Yoga Class?
The heat makes your body work harder to keep cool, which in turn increases your heart rate. This often makes you feel as if you are burning more calories. But don’t despair, hot yoga lovers, this doesn’t mean that hot yoga isn’t good for burning calories and furthering your weight-loss goals. It just means that it may not be any better than other types of vigorous yoga, such as vinyasa or power yoga.
And it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other benefits of hot yoga. The heat makes your muscles more pliable, so it is easier to stretch and get deeper into poses. That’s one of the things I like best about doing yoga in the summer since my yoga studio doesn’t use any air conditioning. It’s a naturally hot yoga studio.
You’ll undoubtedly feel like you are burning extra calories, as hot yoga classes challenge your muscles and encourage you to push yourself harder.
It’s Not the Sweat. It’s the CO2
Another benefit of practicing in a heated room is that you focus more on your breath and breathing deeply. This is good for your lung capacity and can improve your performance in calorie-burning activities such as cardio. And a practice that causes you to breathe more deeply and increase the oxygenation of your body can help with weight management. The oxygen we breathe in and the carbon dioxide we exhale plays a part in weight loss since the weight we lose is not just burned up but exhaled as CO2.
The copious amount of sweat you drip onto your yoga mat doesn’t have much to do with the calories you burn. Sweating is our body’s temperature regulation mechanism. The sweat from your practice is just water weight, and you gain it all back the minute you drink some water. Which is something you’ll be doing after a tough hot yoga sesh.
Bottom Line: Hot Yoga Can Help You Reach Your Weight-Loss Goals
While hot yoga may not burn more calories than other types of yoga, it can help you achieve your health and fitness goals, including weight management. And by reducing stress and improving mindfulness, a hot yoga practice might help you focus on eating a healthy diet.