Hot Yoga Precautions
What about hot yoga? The great mental, physical and spiritual benefits of yoga are known worldwide and discussed all the time. One popular type of yoga that has received increased attention in recent years is Bikram yoga — a type of hot yoga that is becoming incredibly popular.
The practice of Bikram yoga (hot yoga) involves doing poses in a room at both 40 percent humidity and 105 degrees. This is just on type of hot yoga, but there are significant risks for all of these types due to the conditions you’re in during while practicing. It’s vitally important to understand these risks before trying hot yoga for yourself.
Studies conducted on Bikram yoga and other hot yoga’s are becoming alarming warning signs to those in the yoga world that practicing in an overheated environment might be a dangerous idea.
The American Council on Exercise recently conducted a study that showed body temperatures increasing to a shocking 103 degrees — just one degree away from the number considered dangerous.
“For a person who’s unfit or not used to Bikram, there’s some [concern] that they might experience some level of heat intolerance,” ACE chief science officer Cedric Bryant said. Though some who practice hot yoga are able to tolerate the warm temperatures, some instructors said that many of their participants were not able to adapt to the heat.
“Groupon’s out there saying you can try hot yoga, and it’s usually somebody that’s never practiced yoga before and they go in there,” yoga instructor Mindy Caplan said. “They’re not well hydrated. They’re not in shape.”
What Happens To Your Body
Terrifying things can happen to your body as a result of practicing hot yoga. Because it causes your body temperature to increase, it puts you at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Going beyond your normal body temperature causes you to sweat a lot, which can lead to dehydration, increased heart rate and decreased blood pressure.
If you’re going to go ahead and try Bikram or another hot yoga, be sure to be well hydrated — drink 16 to 24 ounces of water within two hours of the beginning of the session — and pay attention in case you start experiencing any symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
“If you notice yourself experiencing any early warning signs—like light-headedness, dizziness, mild headaches and mild nausea—those aren’t things to try to power though,” Bryant said. “That’s your body trying to give you clues that you really need to find an area to cool yourself and get some fluid.”
The absolute most important thing you can do is pay attention to your body — a sentiment that Caplan echoed whole-heartedly.
“People don’t listen to their bodies, and they injure themselves because they overstretch. I practiced [Bikram yoga] for probably three months until I injured myself — and I don’t often do that, and I know that it was because I overstretched,” she said.
If you decide to avoid Bikram yoga, there are many other types out that there that don’t pose the significant health risks this type does. Bikram and other hot yoga’s might be popular at the moment, but they can prove to be incredibly dangerous and should be done using extreme caution.