It’s funny how gaining weight is often easier than losing it. In fact, we have to resort to various ways on how to experience effective weight loss. There’s exercise, diet, and other factors that we’d have to consider just so we can start burning calories. For some, engaging in vigorous or more energetic types of workout are more helpful if your goal is to lose weight.

But how about a meditative exercise like yoga?

Yoga seems to be far more passive and relaxing compared to other forms of physical activity. But don’t let those characteristics fool you. Apparently, there’s evidence that practicing yoga can be an effective tool in weight loss, particularly one type of yoga that’s heated.

In this blog post, we’ll tell you all about Bikram yoga and the amount of calories it can help you burn.

What is Bikram yoga?

Bikram yoga, also commonly referred to as hot yoga, is a style of yoga that involves practicing a sequence of movements in a heated room. The series of movements done in this yoga session involves 26 different poses. These poses must be executed typically in 90 minutes while being in a studio or a room that’s heated up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. Imagine all that sweat, right?

The heat in Bikram yoga is believed to imitate the climate in India, where yoga originated from. It was founded by world-renowned yoga master, Bikram Choudhury.

But is it really true that Bikram yoga burns calories?

Can Bikram yoga burn calories?

There’s been a debate regarding Bikram yoga’s effectiveness in weight loss. The idea of executing a number of poses in a room with a high temperature seems to be a good way to shed some pounds. In fact, there was a university study involving a group of individuals that participated in a 90-minute hot yoga session. The male participants burned about 460 calories while female ones were able to burn 330 calories.

However, there are doubts as to whether practicing Bikram yoga alone is enough to lose weight. There are also other types of yoga known to be also effective in burning many calories.

Find out how many calories you burn in Bikram Yoga

The number of calories you burn depends on a lot of variables such as the duration of the Bikram yoga session and the amount of effort you put into the execution of each pose. Of course, if you exert more effort in doing the poses the more calories you burn. The longer you practice Bikram yoga or hot yoga, the more calories burned. It’s all about the math, really.

But to put it simply, the average number of calories burned in a Bikram yoga class may range from 107 to nearly 500. Some say that if you just put enough effort into it, you might even burn as many as 600 calories in a single 90-minute session. True enough, it might not be the form of yoga that has the most calories burned, but it does prove itself to be an effective tool in weight loss.

How to increase the number of calories burned in a Bikram yoga class

If you think that hot yoga isn’t doing enough justice in your journey to fitness, there are things you can do to improve the process. To increase the calories burned, you must do the following:

  • Move between the postures more quickly
  • Hold the poses for a much longer period of time
  • Engage the right muscles while doing the postures
  • As much as possible, take fewer breaks during the yoga class

What are the benefits of Bikram yoga in weight loss?

In the concept of helping you lose weight, here are the notable benefits of engaging in hot yoga classes:

Deep breathing increases metabolism

As we all know, breathing is a major part of Bikram yoga or any type of yoga in that matter. Breathing techniques allow us to execute and hold the postures better, as well as smoothening the transition of the sequence. By focusing on proper breathing allows more oxygen to go into our cells and therefore helps us produce more energy. Having great energy is vital in Bikram yoga classes because it helps us move around faster and stronger. It also increases our metabolism, an important factor in burning calories.

Tones muscles and reduces body fat

Yoga is a great way to strengthen our bodies and tone our muscles. All the stretching, bending, and breathing contribute to making our muscles more strong and refined. Along with this comes the reduction of our body fat. We tend to build on muscle mass and get rid of the unwanted fat.

Sweating gets rid of water weight

Hot yoga doesn’t just burn calories, it actually feels like it burns. You’ll be sweating all over! Sweating is the natural way for our bodies to regulate body temperature. Although perspiration doesn’t necessarily burn a huge amount of calories, it does significantly reduce our water weight which is still something.

Calorie calculator: how to compute the number of calories burned in Bikram

As we said, it’s all about the math. There is simply one way for you to calculate the number of calories yoga burns: the MET value.

The Metabolic Equivalent of Task or MET is often used to determine the number of calories burned in a common physical activity. It is the ratio of the metabolic rate during the exercise to the metabolic rate at rest.

You compute for this by simply identifying the MET value of Bikram yoga and then multiplying that to your weight (in kilograms) and to the duration of the activity (in hours).

So let’s say you’re a 150-pound individual that engaged in a Bikram yoga with a MET value of 7. Your yoga session lasted for a total of 90 minutes. How many calories did you burn?

Formula: 5 (MET value of Bikram yoga) * 68 kilograms * 1.5 hr = 510 calories burned

You can use this to find out how many calories are burned in other yoga types such as Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, and Power yoga.

Is Bikram yoga the best form of yoga to burn around calories?

Bikram yoga may not be the best workout to lose weight if you consider it by itself. However, you can definitely add this to your routine because it does help burn calories in its own ways. You will also need to engage in other physical activities such as jogging and walking as well as practicing a healthy diet to speed up the pace and get better results.

If you want to practice yoga the right way and sweat your way to fitness, you can join Sweatbox Yoga’s classes.

About the Author​

Lynette is fully dedicated to the support and empowerment of the growing community of committed yoga students and teachers. As one of the Lead Instructors for Yoga Teacher Training, she is here to share tips on how to grow your profile as a yoga teacher or build a yoga business either physically or digitally.