Although I don’t think he went for the reasons given in this article, my late, great friend Dai Barnes used to love hot yoga. In fact, living as a teacher on-site at a boarding school, he’d travel miles to go to his nearest venue.
This Harvard Gazette article suggests that hot yoga might help with depression. I can definitely understand that: I’ve just re-added the spa to my leisure centre membership, and even just going in the sauna at this time of year feels incredible.
In a randomized controlled clinical trial of adults with moderate-to-severe depression, those who participated in heated yoga sessions experienced significantly greater reductions in depressive symptoms compared with a control group.
In the eight-week trial, 80 participants were randomized into two groups: one that received 90-minute sessions of Bikram yoga practiced in a 105°F room and a second group that was placed on a waitlist (waitlist participants completed the yoga intervention after their waitlist period). A total of 33 participants in the yoga group and 32 in the waitlist group were included in the analysis.
After eight weeks, yoga participants had a significantly greater reduction in depressive symptoms than waitlisted participants, as assessed through what’s known as the clinician-rated Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS-CR) scale.