When it comes to staying invested in my own health, appealing to both my temperature and vanity is a very, very good trick.

At 46-and-a-half, staying warm and looking youthful are basically the two engines as to why I bother to do anything that could be construed as exercise. Accordingly, over the decades, I have discovered some options, both natural and nutsy-kookoo, to simultaneously raise my body temperature and infuse my complexion with an ageless glow.

Touted by medical professionals of all backgrounds for its health-boosting properties, the benefits of exercise with heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, aids in healing and increasing blood flow.

Bikram yoga benefitsWhile these statements may seem bold, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) cites that Bikram yogis have reported improved lower body strength, lower and upper body range of motion, and even an uptick in overall balance. It may, with regular practice, also improve glucose tolerance, bone mineral density, blood lipid profile, arterial stiffness, mindfulness and perceived stress.

Tarzan say, Fire, good!

To which I say, Where do I sign?! 


There is an emerging body of evidence to suggest that some like it hot AF for very good reasons.

Bitchin’ Bikram
Recently, I have come across a delightful handful of options and venues through which I can get my sweat on and keep the sag off, but when it comes to the “apex predator” of stoking the eternal flame, there is but one accessible option offering the most blistering of glorious infernos: Bikram Yoga.

Basically a whole-body detox delivered in a stifling sarcophagus, Bikram’s schvitzy devotees practice in one of 600 worldwide studios equipped to heat things up to a mind-melting 105 degrees and is then mercilessly infused with a soupy 40 percent humidity. Within this controlled environment inspired by the deepest depths of Hell, the brave and crazy are led through an hour-and-a-half heart-thumping standardized sweatfest of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises.

Indeed, the choreography of the postures paired with the blast of triple-digit temperatures seem to offer a measurable method for optimizing the human experience.

While on paper this sounds especially insane, there is an emerging body of evidence to suggest that some like it hot AF for very good reasons.

According to a 2015 report published by the NCBI, there is some evidence to suggest that the swampy environment in Bikram yoga, in tandem with the physical activity of the postures, has been shown to increase active and passive range of motion of the muscles comparable to static stretching or an active warm-up.

“The heat…ahhh, the heat,” says Kiley Enmark, Bikram teacher extraordinaire with 105F, Chicago’s original Bikram Yoga studio. Taking her training in 2011 and teaching full time since 2014, Kiley’s technicolor energy and glowing complexion are just two of the obvious benefits of a regular hot yoga practice.

“During class, you’ll work every muscle, tissue, organ, and gland,” Enmark asserts. “Stretching and compressing. Moving and breathing. It’s a full-body workout from the inside out.”

"Your metabolism will be kick started. Your stress levels will plummet. You will cleanse and detox."

-Kiley Enmark, Bikram instructor at 105F

Sold! With 2,000 hot yoga classes in the books, Bikram studios all over the world have hosted my heat-seeking mission. Having taken classes in English, French, Dutch, Danish, Italian and Estonian, this devoted level of peripatetic perspiration ignites hours of body heat and lights up my face!

Top 5 Bikram Yoga Tips

“Your flexibility will improve. Your digestive system will function better. Your metabolism will be kick started. Your stress levels will plummet. You will cleanse and detox,” Enmark confidently predicts.

Heat and humans have been canoodling for eons. From the first flames of fire sparking to illuminated light, the incendiary embrace of the inferno entices those who are cold and hurting with an embrace that is hot and healing.

Bikram yoga benefits

Stay tuned for more of Stephanie’s “Hot Box Detox,”  in which she reveals all of her sweaty secrets for Milk Punch Media.