Our Hot Yoga we call Yoga Sauna; the room has walls and ceiling in cedar, the floor is redwood. There is a sauna heater that gets up to temperature (105*) with lots of humidity (approx. 35%) from adding water to the rocks. In the winter, the radiant floor is turned on, making it a nice warm place to lie upon (and imagine yourself on a beach in the tropics). We follow a Bikram yoga sequence; 26 classic poses done in the same order every time, every pose done twice (except the final twist).
What we commonly call yoga in the West is technically Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga (ha=”sun” tha=”moon”) attains the union of mind-body-spirit though a practice of asanas (yoga postures), pranayama (yoga breathing), mudra (body gestures) and shatkarma (internal cleansing). These body centered practices are used to purify the body and cultivate prana and activate kundalini, the subtle energies of the body. Modern Hatha Yoga does not emphasize many of these esoteric practices and focuses primarily on the physical yoga postures.
In the history of yoga, hatha yoga is fairly recent technique that was developed from Tantra Yoga. The tantrics embraced the physical body as the means to achieve enlightenment and developed the physical-spiritual connections and body centered practices that lead to Hatha Yoga. But Hatha Yoga is uniquely focused on transforming the physical body through purification and the cultivation of the life force energy of prana. And all of the techniques of Hatha Yoga are seen as preliminary steps to achieving the deeper states of meditation and enlightenment found in the path of Raja Yoga (meditation).