Hot yoga is incredibly popular in the United States, with many classes to choose from and studios where you can practice. While it's easy to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try, you should know that there are some health risks specific to this type of yoga, especially for certain people. Understanding these risks can help you determine whether it's the right fit for you.
Hot yoga is safe for many healthy people to perform, and it can come with certain benefits. For example, Bikram's Yoga College of India notes that this type of yoga can improve flexibility and cleanse the body of toxins.
However, since hot yoga makes the body more flexible, it is also prone to injury. The heat can make students feel more flexible than they really are, pushing past the body's limits without realizing it. In addition, too much heat can cause symptoms of fibromyalgia, epilepsy and other conditions to flare up, and can lead to dehydration and heat stroke.
Not all hot yoga instructors are trained to handle medical emergencies. Always discuss with your studio their safety precautions. Fainting and vomiting, while not a regular occurance, do happen. It's good to know that the studio staff are prepared.
To have a safer experience, focus on understanding the limits of your body and not pushing past them. Drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Also, if you cannot handle the extreme up-to-115-degrees-Fahrenheit heat found in Bikram style yoga, you might be able to handle lower heats, such as 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which are found in other styles. Even just a warm room, instead of a hot one, could help you warm up your muscles. And if you have a health condition, it's best to check with your doctor before trying hot yoga.
Different types of hot yoga provide variations in heat and intensity, so one style might work better for you than another. And don't forget that you can always take a regular non-heated yoga class if hot yoga isn't right for you.
Have you tried hot yoga? Comment and let us know your experience!
By: Alice Jennings (G+)