Hot Yoga is a specific style of Yoga developed by Bishnu Ghosh, the youngest brother of World-Famous Guru Paramahansa Yogananda! One difference between Hot Yoga and other styles or forms of Hatha Yoga is the heat. In Calcutta (or Kolkata) India where Hot Yoga originated, it gets very hot with high levels of humidity! When my teacher, Bikram Choudhury moved in Japan to teach Yoga where the temperatures were much cooler he needed to improvise! He came up with the idea to heat the room with heat lamps or space heaters thus simulating the conditions of Hot Calcutta!
Bishnu Ghosh with Bikram Choudhury
BUT…there are many differences between Hot Yoga and other styles of Yoga beside the heat more important and significant:
- Alignment: In Hot Yoga we do many postures (not practiced in other forms of Yoga) that curl or round the spine. Standing Head to Knee or Dandayamana Janushirasana is one great example.
Jimmy Barkan & Liza Aguirre
- Names of Postures: Not every style of Yoga name poses exactly the same. What we (Hot Yoga) call Wheel pose or Chakrasana others call Upper Bow or Urdhva Dhanurasana!
Hot Yoga is a style of Yoga defined by concepts, alignment and philosophy not just heating a room! If you practice Ashtanga Yoga in a hot room you are not doing Hot Yoga. You are doing Ashtanga Yoga in a heated room. On the other hand if you practice Hot Yoga in a cool room you are still practicing Hot Yoga. In India they refer to our style as Calcutta or Ghosh Yoga! Ghosh Yoga
I as travel the world teaching yoga I notice a separation in the Yoga world! Some Yogi’s claim their style is superior or original. Yoga is too old and the science too vast for any one style or form of Yoga to be traditional! Most styles have a lineage and history sacred to it’s practitioners. Some Yogis can also be dogmatic in thinking their style is the best or most authentic. But Yoga is first and foremost about connection. It’s what the word means; Yoke, Union! Dogma does the exact opposite, dogma separates, and judges. Who am I to judge what kind of Yoga others are doing. I’m just happy there are more people practicing Yoga in the world than ever before in our history. If someone wants to practice gentle Yoga and do “Puppy Pose” or Little Mermaid Pose” God Bless them! It’s not the way I practice but I have no right to make them wrong.
Thanks for reading!