Sports & Fitness

Got The Cold Winter Blues? Try Hot Yoga

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Faze checks out the hot workout trend


In today’s fast-paced world, nothing new stays for long—always something new, something better. We are continuously in pursuit of the hottest new activity or exercise that will put us back in shape or keep us that way: an activity that is perhaps a little more riveting than playing lab rat on the treadmill.

So you say you want something hot, eh? Well, there’s nothing hotter. Bikram yoga, also known as “hot yoga”, is the latest workout craze. But critics reveal that this yoga offers its enthusiasts more than just popularity. Demonstrated immediate and long-term health benefits include weight loss, muscle toning, elimination of back pain, increased flexibility and balance, the reduction of stress, better energy, improved sleep patterns and the slowing of the aging process; it’s no wonder this type of yoga has people sweating with enthusiasm.

Bikram yoga is a 90-minute class consisting of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. The scientifically designed process addresses and benefits every area of the body and mind by using a classroom of about 40.5ºC with a humidity level reaching 40 percent. This heat supports deeper stretching and a greater range of motion in joints, ligaments and muscles than regular yoga, with less chance of injury. It assists your body in burning fat by helping your metabolism in a quicker breakdown of glucose and fatty acids. The heat promotes sweating, which works to detoxify your body by eliminating toxins through your skin.

David Tiviluk, director and owner of the Bikram Yoga studio in Kitchener, stresses that while the workout is challenging, it welcomes and attracts a diverse following.

“I have 72-year-olds with hip replacements and 16-year-old ballerinas doing [Bikram Yoga],”Tiviluk asserts, “and they all just do it at very different levels, but they do what they can.”

Tiviluk travelled to LA to become a certified Bikram instructor, where he trained with Bikram himself. The intensive training program consisted of two classes every day for nine weeks.

“My mind, my mental state, emotional balance, physical alignment and physical energy…I felt so many benefits so quickly.”

Tiviluk’s empowering experiences of hot yoga are not uncommon, and as an instructor, he is “continuously amazed” by the testimonials of others. “I have heard of everything from people attributing it to curing their cancer, to helping get rid of their arthritis, to getting rid of very severe allergies,…[even curing] depression….For some people it hits them more at the physical level and others more at the mental, emotional, spiritual level.”

Hot Bikram Yoga Pose

Bikram yoga originated in India, and was founded by a man from Calcutta named Bikram Choudhury. In the ‘70s, then U.S. President Richard Nixon, who suffered from an illness called thrombophlebitis (repeated blood clotting), learned of this healing practice and demanded to meet the man behind it. Bikram met with Nixon and cured him within a week. Nixon offered his healer a U.S. Green card, and since then Bikram has resided in Beverly Hills, California.

“He was one of the big people to bring yoga to Hollywood,” says Tiviluk, “so he was teaching people like Raquel Welch, Shirley MacLaine and Quincy Jones.”

Bikram International Headquarters maintains its original location in LA, but this style of yoga has spread worldwide.

No matter where you live, how old you are or your level of physical ability, Bikram yoga could be your answer to complete wellness of the body and mind. It may be the latest workout trend, but happiness, health and vitality are forever. And that’s hot.



1. Arrive early
This will give you time to register and get any orientation instructions from the yoga studio.

2. Bring lots of agua.
A large refillable container or two regular bottles of water will help you keep hydrated as you sweat out a lot of your body’s supply

3. Two towels are better than one.
You need one on your yoga mat for grip and then one on the side for wiping away any excessive sweat, usually on your hands and face. (Keep in mind though, when doing hot yoga, not to wipe away too much perspiration—it is your body’s way of cooling you down and by continuously removing it, you will just sweat more.)

4. Take your yoga mat.
If you don’t have one, you can usually rent one from the studio. (Same with towels, if you forget.)

5. Pick a spot near the back.
This will be farthest from the mirror. No, it’s not so you can hide during class—it helps you learn from the more experienced individuals in front of you. The teacher will not do most of the poses with you, but guide you through with verbal instructions and encouragement, so follow the movements of the yoga-vets.

6. Dress for the weather.
Remember that it will be very, very HOT in the room, so dress appropriately.

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