Moksha yoga is a form of hot yoga that has enjoyed a steady surge of popularity since its inception in Toronto, Canada, in 2004. Similar to other forms of hot yoga, such as Bikram yoga, Moksha yoga is a physically challenging series of 40 postures conducted in a heated room, typically between 95 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a humidity of about 40 percent.
What Makes Moksha Yoga Different?
Moksha yoga implements a different series of postures than do other forms of hot yoga. Classes begin and end in Savasana, or Corpse pose, with a flow of standing and floor poses throughout. While physically intense, Moksha yoga is considered appropriate for all levels, beginner to advanced. Moksha yoga studios are expected to follow strict environmentally friendly standards, using only sustainable building materials and cleaning products. Moksha yoga offers 60-, 75- or 90-minute classes.
Calories Burned Doing Moksha Yoga
The number of calories burned depends on your weight, build and skill level, but standing in a 100-degree room alone can burn 130 calories per hour. Add in some physical activity like yoga, and you can burn as many as 620 calories and counting.
According to the Health Status Calorie Calculator, a 140-pound person can burn up to 440 calories doing one hour of hot yoga. If you weigh 150 pounds, you can burn up to 477 calories per hour. Participate in a 90-minute Moksha yoga class and you can burn 700 calories. A person of slighter build, say 110 pounds, will burn about 350 calories per hour. Lighter people burn fewer calories because yoga uses body weight as resistance; a smaller person has less body weight to sustain and therefore burns fewer calories. Metabolisms vary, so these calorie counts are just approximations.
How Does Moksha Yoga Burn Calories?
Our bodies are designed to cool down when overheated. As your body cools, your heart rate increases, and more calories are burned accordingly. Increasing the intensity of the workout by practicing more advanced versions of the poses and fully engaging your muscles can burn even more calories while building muscle and tone. Step on the scale after a Moksha yoga class, and you might just find yourself a good 1 to 3 pounds lighter. Unfortunately, that is most likely water weight that will creep back once you are rehydrated.
Other Health Benefits
Hot yoga advocates say practicing yoga in a heated room increases your flexibility and range of motion so you can go deeper into the poses; the heat lubricates your muscles so you can stretch and tone to a greater degree. Moksha yoga aficionados say the heat promotes circulation and improved respiratory function, increasing cardiovascular stamina and strength.
Moksha yoga, like other forms of hot yoga, is a strenuous workout and shouldn't be practiced by everyone. People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular illness and respiratory problems should avoid hot yoga because the heat can exacerbate health problems. If you have had a heat related illness such as heat stroke in the past, or if you are pregnant or taking prescription medications, opt for a less strenuous and extreme yoga, such as Hatha yoga. Check with your doctor first if you have any health conditions.