Hot Yoga vs Bikram Yoga: What’s The Difference?

The answer to the most asked yoga question.

Yoga image via shutterstock

Yoga image via shutterstock

Newsflash: Bikram yoga is not hot yoga, and hot yoga is not Bikram. Get it? While both are set in a heated room designed make you sweat, there are key differences that separate the two. For starters, Bikram is hotter, sometimes much hotter. Invented by Bikram Choudhury, a yogi from India who has made quite a name for himself amongst celebrities, Bikram yoga must be performed in a 105 degree heated room, while hot yoga can be heated at pretty much any temperature the instructor or studio wants it to be. And while hot yoga consists of many different poses, Bikram’s patented 26 poses do not change. Below is a comprehensive list of what makes a class hot or Bikram yoga.

  • Bikram yoga consists of the same 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in the same order every class for exactly 90 minutes.
  • Hot yoga can be comprised of many different poses that vary by class and studio.
  • Bikram yoga studios, what Choudhury calls “torture chambers,” must be heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity.
  • Hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and are generally heated to anywhere from 80 -100 degrees.
  • The floor of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted with mirrors on the front wall and bright lighting.
  • Hot yoga may be performed with dim lights, by candlelight, and on any surface.
  • Bikram yoga instructors must be trained by Bikram Choudhury himself and their studios must be affiliated in order to be considered true Bikram yoga.
  • There can be no music, clapping, or hands-on instructor adjustments in Bikram yoga.
  • Hot yoga often has music playing during the class and is followed by a round of applause.
  • Students are not permitted to talk during Bikram yoga.
  • Hot yoga students are allowed to interact with each other and with the instructor.

Click here for an affiliated Bikram studio near you. In Boston, here’s where you can find Bikram and hot yoga studios:

Bikram Yoga Boston

Known for their lofted, open spaces, Bikram Yoga Boston has multiple locations in the downtown area. Rates start at $16 for students and seniors and $22 for adults with special rates for residents of the area.

Bikram Yoga Financial District at 108 Lincoln Street; Bikram Yoga Back Bay at 561 Boylston St; Bikram Yoga Harvard Square at 30 JFK Street, 2nd Floor,

South Boston Yoga

South Boston Yoga is conveniently located close to the Broadway and is open seven days a week. Hot yoga classes are at 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. every week day and rates start at $15 with monthly and multiple class packages available.

36 W Broadway Street, 617-315-7448,

All One Yoga

Offering hot yoga classes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 6 p.m., All One Yoga is located close to the Packards Corner and Babcock Street T stations on the Boston College Green Line. Rates start at $15 with monthly passes and student rates available.

1065 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston, 617-789-3733, 

Sadhana Yoga 

Sadhana’s Fundamentals class is a heated, flowing style class for all levels that is designed to build a strong foundation for yoga students. The class is held every Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and walk-in rates start at $5.

15 Worcester St, 617-536-9642,

JP Centre Yoga

JP Centre Yoga holds hot yoga classes every weekday at 6:30 p.m. with additional 9:30 a.m. classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Drop in rates start at $15, and they offer an special for new clients of 14 days of free unlimited yoga to try before buying a multiple class pass. Two weeks of free yoga? Sign us up.

670 Centre St, 3rd Floor, Jamaica Plain, 617-942-8936,