Health Benefits of Bikram Yoga and Its Main Flaw: Hot Yoga Review

- Updated on October 29, 2020

Health Benefits of Bikram Yoga and Its Main Flaw: Hot Yoga Review 1By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author

Effects of cough and overbreathing on brain O2 Right now, hot yoga is possibly the most effective type of yoga in relation to health benefits and fighting chronic diseases. It helps to improve skin and often works well for weight loss too.

The main problem (or side effect) with the current Bikram yoga system is that, right from the start, in the main book written by Bikram Choudhury (“Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class”), it was suggested that CO2 is a toxic gas.

Therefore, he suggested that the goal of hot yoga, in relation to breathing and body oxygenation, is to breathe more air and get rid of the waste gas (CO2). This is a major risk that worsens physical health, promotes diseases, and creates many other side effects.

Bikram yoga teachers on Birkam yoga benefits, breathing, O2 and CO2

Benefits of Hot Yoga in San Francisco – Bikram Yoga Richmond District
“Blowing in Firm Pose – Kapalbhati in Vajrasana
Benefits: It improves digestion and circulation, and increases the elasticity of the lungs with every forceful exhale. You generate prana, and push out every ounce of carbon dioxide, replacing it with life-giving oxygen.”

Bikram Yoga Södermalm РHealth Benefits
“… helps in the removal of waste products (… carbon dioxide …)

Bikram Yoga Elk Grove: Bikram Yoga Benefits
“What are the higher goals of yoga? Deep breathing is the key to longer life…”

Bikram Yoga West Linn Poses and Benefits | Bikram Yoga West Linn
“… You generate prana, and push out every ounce of carbon dioxide, replacing it …”

Hot yoga – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
… Deep breathing helps to calm the body and mind and helps oxygen …

BIKRAM YOGA CAPITOL HILL:: Benefits of Bikram Yoga
… and push out every ounce of carbon dioxide replacing with life-giving oxygen …”

FAQs – Bikram Yoga Seattle: Practice Hot Hatha Yoga at Seattle’s …
“… helps in the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide …”

Meanwhile, all ancient Sanskrit texts teach the opposite idea: we need to breathe slower and less 24/7 for better health yoga effects. Classic yoga books are correct: overbreathing reduces O2 delivery to body cells. This fact has been proven by hundreds of clinical studies (see links below and my Amazon book “Yoga Benefits Are in Breathing Less”). Moreover, overbreathing is a very common problem.
Breathing changes during last 80 years

YouTube Video (above): Hot Yoga Teaching Flaw.

Traditional hatha yoga suggests that breathing should be “suspended”, “restrained”, “held”, and “calmed”. (Such quotes can be found in three main classic manuscripts on Hatha Yoga: Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita, and the Gheranda Samhita). Therefore, classic yoga provides true results for weight loss, skin state, and better physical health.

What about the views of Bikram yoga teachers?

You can read find the link to these selected ancient yoga quotes about breathing slower and less in your bonus content.

Follow this link for smart ancient yoga quotes about breathing: the Yoga Benefits.


Correction of these myths and superstitions will help to dramatically reduce risk and improve the quality of teaching and health of Bikram yoga teachers themselves and their students.

Current effects of hot yoga

The present benefits of Bikram yoga include the removal of body waste products due to intense perspiration (sweating), lymphatic drainage due to physical exercise, and some other immediate physical effects. However, swayed by popular fantasies related to the deep breathing myth and the supposed poisonous, toxic nature of carbon dioxide, modern hot yoga teachers promote these myths creating an illusion that a deep automatic breathing pattern is a part of yoga. As a result, Bikram yoga, as well as Wikipedia or Wiki, provide limited help to millions of people suffering and dying from chronic diseases, being overweight, and with low energy.

Bikram yoga effects could be greatly amplified with the reversal of these superstitions and the elimination of all its side effects. You can greatly amplify hot yoga health effects if you try to breathe slower and less during Bikram classes.

Go back to Yoga pages

Below are authentic comments, questions, and testimonials from the same page on the old PHP site before we converted it to WordPress.

On 2016-05-24T10:28:05, Guy wrote:
Your information about yoga and breathing is very interesting. The other ‘hot’ yoga is Ashtanga. During the whole practice, you do slow, deep ujjayi nasal breath, which is a breath with deliberately restricted volume by compressing the glottis. Ashtanga movement is very physical with many weight-bearing or resistance postures but slow and controlled. I have found myself experiencing air hunger when doing it with a focus on both posture and breath. The ‘founder’ P. Jois) claims it is an ancient form and that modern Hatha popularised by Iyengar who studies with the same master as Jois) was deliberately watered down for westerners. The breath is an absolutely vital part of Ashtanga. The fact overall ventilation is restricted during practice, while the exercise also creates CO2 makes me think ashtanga is consistent with the ancient teaching of yoga about breath restriction.

On 2015-05-27T14:20:16, Brandon in Texas wrote:
Thank you for the informative article. I was a severe, mouth-breathing, asthmatic for twenty-five years until I learned the Buteyko method. I have been off all asthma meds for twelve years now. I have also practiced Bikram Yoga for the past four years. I have to admit that I cringe every time I hear the “CO2 waste gas” comments spoken by the Bikram instructors. What drew me to Bikram Yoga is that 99 percent of the breathing is nasal breathing. And I absolutely practice quiet, deep, i.e. shallow breathing during each and every class. Sadly I know of amazing Bikram yogis who can do the most advanced poses with ease, yet they have an asthma inhaler on their mat or use one before class. I truly feel that Bikram yoga alone is beneficial for asthma, but without addressing tidal breath volume, asthma symptoms will remain. If the first and final asanas in Bikram Yoga were changed to alternate nasal breathing (Anuloma Viloma), I feel this would be the perfect yoga practice. I maintain a high CP, by practicing Buteyko and alternate nasal breathing regularly, but if I didn’t have a high Control Pause, the first and final breathing exercises in Bikram would bring on asthma symptoms.

On 2015-01-26T14:30:53, German Yogi wrote:
And there are other problems. Especially the principle of “resistance stretching” is not included (Bob Cooley investigated it deeply and wrongly claimed he invented it. But besides this and some other weird claims his book about it is awesome). The same problem can be found in most yoga styles, although most probably it was practiced that way during the times when yoga was invented and most people had large CPs anyway. Resistance makes the stretch more effective, because of more CO2, more blood supply, more O2, better stretch and more training for the cardiovascular system, more safe deep stretching, etc.. It can even be used in sitting meditation, which enables one to sit very long without losing CP (In fact one gains better CP that way). How do cats, dogs, and animals really stretch? They know better. Most yoga masters of today neither know how to breathe nor how to resist during stretching. In that way, Yogaasana is useless or dangerous and no meditation is possible.

On 2013-09-17T04:48:43, Selena wrote:
I have practiced Bikram for several years. I have personally found that a slow even breath throughout the entire class is key. I try to keep my mouth shut and only breathe through my nose. It is much more calming to breathe slowly through my nose. I needed to achieve a very high level of fitness in order to do so and complete all the postures well without feeling like I would suffocate and therefore, mouth breathe, and increase breathing rate. Luckily, one can easily back off as needed if increasing cardiovascular fitness is necessary to achieve such a goal. I found this article interesting, thanks!

On 2013-06-16T08:03:58, Artour (mod) wrote:
If you sweat hard and exercise long enough, you get similar effects as hot yoga.

On 2013-06-16T02:52:54, William wrote:
Thanks for your timely response! Is there any other reason apart from the perspiration that you would believe Bikram is better than normal yoga. Because I’m wondering if I go to sauna and do the running that’d I’d achieve enough perspiration that I didn’t need to do Bikram. The reason I ask this is I know some experienced yoga teachers who say Bikram yoga is not very good for you. E.g 2011/10/yoga-hot-or-cool-shy-sayar/

So I was just wondering if Buteyko actually said Bikram’s style of yoga was good, or that simply heavy daily sweating was required. Thanks so much for your advice on this, I’m a huge fan of your site and it has helped me greatly so far with dealing with my Sleep Apnea!

On 2013-06-12T18:43:53, Artour (mod) wrote:
As on YouTube: Hot yoga promotes perspiration sweating). Buteyko emphasized the importance of heavy daily sweating. I completely agree with this. It is nearly the ideal method to eliminate toxins via the skin. I believe modern hot yoga is the most effective type of yoga simply due to perspiration.
At rest, overheating promotes overbreathing, but not during exercise when you generate more CO2.

On 2013-06-12T14:17:15, William wrote:
Are you sure that hot yoga is better than doing cold yoga? I’ve spoken to a few doctors who think that the hot yoga drains your body of many vital minerals and releases cortisol which produces adrenalin which surely would increase your breathing. What are your thoughts on this? I’m doing yoga every day with Buteyko breathing of course) do you think cold or hot yoga would be better? Also wouldn’t Bikram raise your body’s core temperature?