The Dangers of Hot Yoga, Pilates, and More

Bikram Yoga has been around for a while, the fitness trend of heated classes seems to be picking up. Hot workouts laud benefits like increased flexibility, more calories burned, weight loss, and detoxification. And while we know that these classes certainly make us sweat more, is the torture really worth it?

Proponents of heated classes argue that the environment serves up a slew of positives: “The heated room intensifies any practice, and I found it to be a perfect accelerator for Pilates,” says Shannon Nadj, founder of Hot Pilates, LA’s first heated Pilates studio. “The heat speeds up your heart rate, intensifies the workout, and makes it more challenging. It also ensures that you warm your body faster,” she explains.

Aside from the physical benefits, the mental connection you develop to your body during a heated class is also different from non-heated classes, says yogi Loren Bassett, whose popular Hot Power Yoga classes at Pure Yoga in NYC are always packed.

You won’t necessarily burn more calories or speed up weight loss just by working out in the heat though, says Sumbal. When the body gets hot, the heart pumps more blood to help cool the body, but the slight increase in heart rate doesn’t have the same effect as running short intervals on the treadmill, explains Sumbal.