The questions I have are what is the difficulty level of Hot Yoga, and what are the health benefits of Hot Yoga vs. other types such as Vinyasa?
Hot Yoga is a generic term that refers to temperature of the room. Any yoga style that is taught in a room where the temperature is 85° or higher with humidity ranges from 40-60% is typically referred to as Hot Yoga. The first style of hot yoga was called Bikram. The theory behind hot yoga is the warm temperature enhances our ability to stretch further into the poses as opposed to yoga taught in a room at a normal temperature. Hot yoga draws from different styles of yoga such as Vinyasa, Hatha and others so really the only difference between Hot Yoga and another form is the room environment or temperature. The difficulty of the class depends on the instructor and the actual level of yoga being instructed for example Vinyasa 1 or Vinyasa 3.
I personally take a Vinyasa level 2 yoga class where the instructor turns up the temperature to around 85 degrees. While the warmth promotes stretching, it can cause sweating of the palms and the soles of the feet. This creates the possibility of slipping on the floor or the mats while in the poses, so I use a towel on my mat. After a hot yoga class be sure and hydrate so you replace the water lost through sweating. Don’t hesitate to call the club you use and ask which yoga classes offer Hot Yoga and what level they are teaching.