Bikram Yoga is hot yoga – practised in 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. By definition, a sauna uses dry heat to
induce sweat, and depending on the type of sauna (of which there are many), the temperature and humidity varies. Temperatures typically range between 70 degrees Celsius (158 degrees Fahrenheit) and 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). As a general rule, though, the higher the humidity the lower the heat. For example, Turkish Hamams tend to be set at 100% humidity. Any temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius would scald your skin, and therefore, temperatures are kept low.
Bikram Yoga is therefore not practised in a sauna, but rather, in a hot room. As Bikram Yoga originates from the ancient Hatha Yoga tradition in India, Bikram Choudhury further developed his sequence in a hot room in order to mimic Indian heat in the chilly West. Heat and sauna-sessions are commonly used by athletes to improve endurance performance, to soothe sore muscles, to improve exercise tolerance, and to increase respiratory oxygen intake. Regular sauna sessions alone are great for runners, footballers, dancers, etc. However, add the benefits of heat to the stretching, twisting and compression of inflexible calves, hamstrings, biceps – and you’ll get an overall more flexible, more refreshed and oxygenated you!
The benefits aren’t limited to the above, but it’s good insight to get you started! Apart from the spiritual and medical benefits of individual postures, the heat truly serves as an opportunity to detoxify your body, lose additional weight, flex your muscles, get deeper sleep and, ultimately, relax and de-stress after a long, hard day.