On Federal Highway in Delray Beach, just steps from the Boca Raton border, there is a Bikram yoga studio and a hot yoga studio just one block away from each other—or, according to Google Maps, a 52-second car ride apart. I wondered how two studios doing such similar things could be so close to one another? Both are heated. Both are great for beginners. Both incorporate postures and breathing techniques. But, as it turns out, there are numerous differences between hot yoga and Bikram yoga.
And smell is only one of them.
Bikram yoga founder Bikram Choudhury successfully copyrighted his method in 2002. In order to be a Bikram studio, there are specific guidelines that must be followed—with no exceptions. Here are just some of the differences between hot yoga and Bikram:
1) Bikram is the same set of 26 postures and two breathing exercises; class is always 90 minutes. The poses are held and do not flow. Most hot yoga classes are 75 minutes and techniques and postures can change. Many studios offer a hot flow class where the postures flow into one another rather than holding the poses for a long time.
2) Bikram yoga studios are heated to 105 degrees. The heat is said to have many benefits, from detoxing your system through sweat to improving flexibility. Hot yoga classes can range from 90 degrees to 105. Many stay below 100.
3) Bikram yoga has bright overhead lighting. Hot yoga studios turn off the lights.
4) Bikram yoga has no music. Many hot yoga studios play music.
5) Bikram is always carpeted. The official website says it is the only approved flooring. But it does give Bikram studios an overpowering smell. The first time I took a Bikram yoga class, the smell was still in my nose after a 30-minute shower. During my second class however, I got used to it and made it something else to “overcome” like the lighting and heat. Many hot yoga studios are not carpeted. Hot Yoga of Delray has recycled rubberized flooring. The Yoga Joint in Fort Lauderdale has hardwoods. I assume this is why these studios smell better than a Bikram studio.
Want to see the full list of “must-dos” for a Bikram studio? Click here.
Bikram Yoga locations in our area:
• Boca Raton (21073 Powerline Road #55; bikramyogabocaraton.com; 561/451-8845)
• Delray Beach (3055 S. Federal Highway; bikramyogadelraybeach.com; 561/276-3773)
• Palm Beaches (1851 Parker Ave, West Palm Beach; birkamwpb.com; 561/366-0072)
• Hot Yoga of Delray Beach (3205 S. Federal Highway; hotyogaofdelray.com; 561/266-2075)
• Awaken Hot Yoga (2016 E. Sample Road, Lighthouse Point; awakenhotyoga.com; 954/941-0899)
• Inception Exclusive Athletic Studio (6453 W. Rogers Circle, Boca Raton; inceptioneas.com; 561/988-5909)
• The Yoga Joint (6131 N. Federal Highway; theyogajoint.com; 954/916-7253)