Why Is Weekend Bikram Yoga So Hot?

I usually practice on weekday mornings. The classes are full, but not to the brim. The students are regulars, but the skill levels vary. Some people are old, some students are young, but most are somewhere in the middle, like me. The teachers are challenging, but caring, the rooms are hot, but not too hot, and it is all good.

Recently, I have started to practice on the weekends too. My husband has finally succumbed to my Bikram Yoga fever, and since he can only practice on the weekends, I have been going along for moral support. But class has been extremely challenging — because of the heat. So challenging, that we leave class spent, and exhausted, and this can last through the rest of the weekend. Clearly not the goal we were seeking.


Why are weekend Bikram classes so much hotter? Yes, the classes are more crowded, and the turnover of the rooms more frequent so they start off hotter and more humid, but shouldn’t this be manageable by lowering the heat? Or turning off a humidifier or two?

Is it that the teachers on the weekends just run hotter? Or the typical student skews younger and therefore wants even more of a physical challenge?

I’m not sure, but last weekend, I had had enough. Before class, I decided that I was going to do my best, but if it felt too hot, I was going to take it easy. I didn’t want to ruin the rest of the weekend.

Class began – an experienced teacher, but one that I had never had before. She was strict, but provided lots of new insights. She gave me a great correction on Half Moon Pose. I got my elbows below my knees in Standing Head To Knee Pose. Things were going well.

But then people start dropping like flies. It was just too hot. I think the teacher knew this, but couldn’t figure out what to do about it. New students were walking out. Seasoned students were taking a knee. My husband, to his credit, was hanging in there pretty well, but I needed a break. The heat was overwhelming.

The teacher became annoyed. She started scolding people who were taking a rest, or leaving the class to refill water bottles. She announced that she would only teach those that wanted to learn. She brought people down, rather than up. It was disheartening.

Couldn’t this all have been avoided by moderating the room temperature for the increased attendance? I don’t want to stop practicing on the weekends, so maybe we need to try an earlier class. Any suggestions?

Readers, do you find weekend practice more challenging?

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20 thoughts on “Why Is Weekend Bikram Yoga So Hot?

  1. Maybe just that studio? I avoid weekend classes, in part because they are too cold. (It is also when I like to go to PIlates.) But when I do go on the weekend, I go to a different studio than during the week to get a hot class. Luckily, I have choices with my membership.


  2. I go to BYNYC Flatiron & I found that the morning classes tend to be on the cooler side bc the heating panels haven’t been on all day yet. The UWS tends to always be very hot though.


  3. First off…I’m stunned by the action, or reaction, of the instructor. It’s one thing to ask for some general hot room etiquette, but we (regular practitioners) are not in teacher training. I don’t get instructors that treat the hot room like it’s boot camp. As long as people aren’t be too disruptive, particularly those taking a knee. I can see how walking in and out to get water can be disruptive. Even so, I don’t care for ultra rigidity.

    As for your main point about the heat, I’ve wondered the same thing. I’ve attributed the increased heat to the influx of “New Year, New Me” class attendees. The classes have been more crowded since January, especially weekend mornings. I prefer to get to the first class of the day on Saturday and Sunday; mainly because it’s less crowded, but also because it’s not quite as hot as later classes. I’ve noticed the humidity seems to be higher than normal. I don’t know if that’s because it’s dryer outside since it’s winter, so the humidity seems more pronounced; but a lot of people in classes have been taking a knew before we get to triangle posture. I’ve been struggling, but trying to pace myself so that I can make it through the standing/balancing postures. That said, I don’t have any problem standing in mountain posture, or taking a knee, if I feel winded or dizzy. I’ve learned to pay attention to, and honor, my body, and don’t apologize for doing so.


  4. I only go to one studio, and usually have one of about three or four different instructors that I’ve had regularly enough to know their quirks, and I definitely pick and choose which class I’ll go to — if it isn’t the one I typically attend — based on how merciful they are with the heat. The Sunday class I usually attend is always hotter, but it has more students in it than the early ones I take during the week, and I’ve attributed it to that.


  5. I think it’s definitely the studio. I go to two different studios & the one I go to in the weekdays feels a lot hotter than the one I go to at the weekend. I think it’s dreadful when yoga teachers are strict & rude. People often vote with their feet & don’t come back.


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