Hot yoga in Sydney
Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst is one of thousands of studios across the world dedicated to the practice and teaching of Bikram Yoga, a specific form of Hatha Yoga involving 26 postures that are performed over 90 minutes in a heated room of 40 degrees. With its intense heat and long duration, Bikram Yoga is not for the faint of heart. As we sweat through the postures, our instructor is upbeat and encouraging. She praises individuals when they achieve a tricky pose, or calls them out when they need to adjust their alignment. She seems to know everyone by name, a familiarity that is testament to the number of loyal regulars that frequent Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst on a daily and weekly basis. Despite the controversies associated with founder Bikram Choudhbury, which include allegations of sexual assault, the practice has garnered an immense fan base. Bikram Yoga Darlinghurst thrives off this sense of community. Newcomers are offered a $59 intro pass, which provides unlimited classes over a month and encourages regular practice for the best benefits. Alternatively, a drop-in class is $25.
Modo Yoga is an international hot yoga community with over 70 studios worldwide. Classes are heated to a toasty 37 degrees; they say the heat detoxifies the skin, blood and tissues whilst strengthening muscle. The practice is built on seven philosophical pillars, which comprise health, accessibility, protection of the planet, community support, active service, living to learn and cultivating peace. We’re offered hot tea as we step in from the cold for the Karma class, a by-donation-only class, which has the same structure as a traditional Modo series, but with all proceeds going to local charities. There are elements of calm and opportunities to rest, but first you endure a 60-minute full-body cardio workout. We can see our poses in the long mirror at the front of the class, which helps us to keep our alignment in check as we transition from standing postures to a floor sequence that targets the upper body, abdominals and spine. For a standard drop-in class, the rate is $22, or you can purchase a month of unlimited yoga for $55.
The Space Studio is a brand-spanking new studio that offers yoga, barre, pilates and meditation classes in the heart of Barangaroo’s bustling business precinct. There are complimentary organic teas by the Rabbit Hole, and the change rooms and showers are fully stocked with hair and body products by Appelles Apothecary. It’s feels zen in comparison to Barangaroo’s busy lunchtime rush outside. We opt for a Vinyasa Flow class, which is heated to 27 degrees by infrared technology. The practice is energetic and refreshing, with a welcome balance between quick flows and slower pose holds. We’re encouraged to challenge ourselves, pushing as deep as possible into each stretch in order to increase flexibility and build strength. You pay the price for the Space Studio’s state-of-the-art facilities; a single class is $30 or you can get more bang for your buck with an introductory two weeks of unlimited classes for $50.
Just a stone’s throw from Central Station is BodyMindLife’s Surry Hills studio, a zen oasis in the otherwise hectic city surroundings. The studio offers regular yoga, pilates and meditation classes, as well as a wellness centre providing massage, reiki and kinesiology. We show up on a Saturday morning, eager to try the 75-minute Yoga Essentials class, which is heated to 28 degrees. The practice is steady, and we’re encouraged to move at our own pace, but working up a sweat is inevitable as we flow through full body twists, hip openers, downward dogs and forward folds. Soft, soothing music soundtracks our movements, giving the class an air of tranquility. We barely even notice the 30 others sweating around us. After a relaxing Savasana, freshening up is an experience in itself. The large changing room is decked out with organic shampoo, conditioner and body wash as well as hairdryers, straighteners and full length mirrors. If you simply can’t face returning to the real world, book in your next class and make a saving by buying an intro pass, which gives you 28 days of unlimited yoga for $58.
Hom Yoga is a boutique yoga studio in Darlinghurst that offers heated and non-heated vinyasa, yin, ashtanga and hatha classes. It’s compact and minimalist, but has everything a yogi needs, including a fridge stocked with Fiji water, kombucha and coconut water, as well as a lounge area with complimentary fruit and the latest magazines. Time Out road-tested the Hot Flow class, an hour-long practice that is conducted in a room heated between 38 and 40 degrees. We begin slowly, but within minutes the sweat starts dripping from our shirts and even the most simple yoga moves are made challenging by the intense heat. We flow consistently through the movements in a patterned series of poses and postures that test our balance and core strength, all the while retaining focus on our breath in order to stay grounded. While the class is suitable for all abilities, it would help to have some prior yoga knowledge. An introductory trial class costs $25, or you can purchase discounted packages of five, ten and 20 classes. If you’re up for a challenge, an unlimited membership is $159.
Power Living Yoga has four yoga studios across Sydney and more in Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and New Zealand. Time Out visited Power Living’s Bondi Junction studio, which is conveniently situated right near the train station in Oxford Street Mall. The space is cosy and inviting, and they have colourful cushions and yoga gear by Niyama Sol and Spiritual Gangsta for sale, as well as books, candles and vegan nail polish. We tried one of the signature 75-minute Heated Vinyasa Yoga classes, which takes place in a room heated to 32 degrees. The high temperature makes the practice sweaty, but not unbearable as we flow through traditional Vinyasa poses at a steady pace. There’s a focus on building strength and power, offered in tandem with the freedom to play around and make the practice our own. The studio also offers non-heated Vinyasa and Yin classes. You can give them all a try, with a 30-day intro pass for $49. Otherwise, a drop in pass is $24.
Quro Health Studios in Glebe is a small space that provides specialised experiences for locals. On our visit, we tried an hour-long Hot Yoga class, which, at lunchtime in the middle of the week, had only three people in the class so it was an intimate and personalised experience. We receive plenty of one-on-one time with the instructor, who doesn’t hesitate to twist our bodies into correct alignment or push us into deeper stretches. It’s an approach that can feel slightly uncomfortable at first, but the benefits soon become clear as we find ourselves in poses we could have never otherwise have achieved. The room is heated to around 30 degrees, with the premise that we are not solely relying on the room’s temperature, but also creating heat through the quick flow of Vinyasa movements. We repeat the same sequence a number of times at increasing paces, so that when it comes time to relax in Savasana, we feel we’ve earnt it.
Try hot pilates
In Kings Cross there's a yoga studio that specialises in hot yoga and pilates with three heated studios. Time Out tried the hot mat pilates class, which focuses on the core for 50 minutes. Our class was in the 27-degree room, which doesn’t sound warm but once we began 100 pulses in the box position we were sweating buckets. Heating the rooms isn’t just a perk for winter, One Hot Yoga hold their classes at human body temperature to maximise use of muscles and to burn fat.