With sessions that promise to burn between 600 and 1,200 calories, area yoga instructors say it's no wonder their classes draw so many people hoping to keep their New Year's resolutions to lose weight.
Whether called "hot yoga," "warm yoga," "hot flow" or the official "Bikram yoga," named after the person who developed a trademarked sequence of 26 yoga postures, the classes are hot in Hillsborough County. Yoga studios crank up the heat anywhere from 80 to 105 degrees.
Barbara Motte, the owner of Asana Yoga, 1252 Kingsway Road, Brandon, sets the temperature of the room to between 85 and 90 degrees for their hot yoga classes.
"It burns about 600 calories for a 90-minute session," Motte said. "It does increase your heart rate. Basically, the heat helps to detoxify your body. It makes it more of a vigorous practice."
Motte, who opened the studio about four years ago, said the hot yoga class is offered on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m.
"We always have a huge increase of students in the New Year," she said. "Hot yoga is very popular."
Motte said the heat in the room helps to relax and soften the muscle, which allows people to go deeper into the poses. Exercising in a cold environment tightens the muscles, according to Motte.
"It can be challenging," she said. "It is appropriate for all levels. You have to make sure you are very aware of your body. If it feels like it's not right, you have to back off a little bit. I always tell people, it's not hotter than it is outside in the summertime."
Motte said the hot yoga classes have a serious following of students at her studio who are consistent and dedicated to the practice.
"Our other classes, they come in and out," she said. "Your core hot yoga people are committed to it. They come back every single time."
Amy Rogers of Tampa, the owner and an instructor at Harmony Yoga and Wellness Center in Carrollwood, said she encourages people to drink plenty of water before, during and after the hot yoga classes. Some students go through two or three bottles of water in a session.
She uses a special heater that heats up the room rapidly. The class is set to 95 degrees for the warm yoga classes and 100 degrees for the hot yoga classes.
"Usually a lot of people, their first question is, 'Will yoga help you lose weight?'" Rogers said. "Getting your body moving in any shape or form will help you lose weight. We have had an influx of people calling about their New Year's resolutions."
In response to the demand, Rogers is offered new student classes in January that introduce beginners to the foundations of yoga.
"We will introduce them to the foundations of yoga so they can go into any class and feel comfortable," she said. "A lot of people just jump into a yoga class and go with the flow and do what they can do."
Located at 4507 Gunn Highway in Carrollwood, the yoga studio offers a mixture of classes including ones that are more aerobic and others that are "more gentle," according to Rogers.
In South Tampa, the Evolation Yoga Studio at 2825 S. Macdill Ave. turns the temperature up to 80 degrees for their "Flow 75" class, 90 degrees for the "Warm 60" class and 105 degrees for the "Hot 90" class.