These 7 Benefits of Hot Yoga Will Inspire You to Get Back on Your Mat

I first tried hot yoga back in high school, when blustery winter days found me seeking warm solace in a heated studio. Instead of running outside against ceaseless snow and wind or working out in a steely gray gym, the thought of a slow, warm, and relaxing yoga flow was enough to make me book six months' worth of classes. Since then, I've continued to practice hot yoga, even if that practice is somewhat sporadic due to the responsibilities of work and life and the deterrent of Los Angeles heat. (The only time I refuse to book a hot yoga class is in July and August, which is when I'm convinced the gates of hell open up and consume the city for two full months of above-100-degree temperatures. But I digress.)

Hot yoga, while a personal favorite, has been a somewhat contentious topic in the fitness world. While some people swear it's changed them for the better, others say practicing yoga at room temperature is fine, and heating up the yogi's environment is nothing but a gimmick. So I thought I'd ask the experts to see what they had to say about any and all real and measurable benefits of hot yoga. What they shared surprised me, even if I mistakenly thought of myself as a hot yoga veteran.