Stepping into Y7‘s dark, narrow studio space, the temperature doesn’t initially overwhelm you.
It’s not like other yoga rooms that are heated to extreme, triple digit temps and get you sweating within seconds—no, it’s more like walking into a warm room after coming in from the cold. Pleasant. Comfortable, even, and it allows you to breathe deeply without feeling like you’re choking on hot air.
You might even forget about the warmth, as you begin class and the hip hop blares through the speakers. But then, after you’ve started to get into the flow and you’ve been moving around for about 15 minutes, it’s like a faucet gets turned on. The sweat starts to ooze out of your pores, and all of the sudden you’re totally drenched from head to sweaty toe.
The experience is so different than that of a Bikram or traditional hot yoga studio, where it feels like all you need to do is blink and you’ll start sweating profusely. In most hot yoga studios, regular heaters are used to bring the temperature in the room super high. Traditional heaters use convection to heat a room; they heat the surrounding air and that encourages it to circulate, and gradually heat the whole room. That results in a sort of dry, thick heat that makes it hard for some to breathe and focus.
But infrared heat is different—it warms you up from the inside-out because it’s much more targeted. Infrared heaters emit a precise heat beam to start heating you immediately. And unlike other heaters, which reduce the humidity and oxygen content in a room, infrared heat doesn’t have an effective on moisture levels. It just starts subtly heating you up as you move and exercise, resulting in a more organic-feeling sweat.
“It’s totally different than other heated yoga classes, and it actually helps you detoxify your body even more,” explained True Blake, one of Y7’s top instructors. “Plus, if burns more calories than traditional heated yoga studios, but is way more comfortable. It’s not so hot that you feel like you’re going to pass out or throw up. More like you realize you’re sweating a lot, but in a good way.”
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Bikram or traditional heated yoga studios—some people swear by these classes—infrared heated yoga classes might be a better option for people who can’t hang in hotter classes.
Hot yoga is a trend that’s proved it has serious staying power, so although you can experience infrared yoga at a handful of studios like Y7 and Radiant Yoga, expect more locations to pop up in the future.
Personally, I enjoy sweating my ass off in Y7. But I’ve taken classes in studios that are too hot, and it distracted me from my yoga practice. Given all the benefits of infrared saunas and heat, I think infrared yoga might be better for my body than suffering through a Bikram class.