Hot Yoga: Be Prepared

Devoted hot yogis swear by the health benefits of hot yoga, but if you’re new to practicing in a heated studio, temperatures of 90+ degrees can be a recipe for sickness rather than good health. In fact, depending on the type of studio and class, the heat may be cranked up to 100 degrees – 104 degrees for Bikram yoga – and with all those sweaty bodies, the humidity can get pretty high, too. If you are interested in getting started, it’s important to understand the potential health risks involved and how to properly prepare.

Before attending your first hot yoga class, be sure you are in appropriate good health to participate. Hot yoga is generally unsafe for anyone who is pregnant, over the age of 60 and without a regular yoga practice, has high or low blood pressure, experiences dizzy spells, or has problems controlling their diabetes.

When practicing hot yoga, it is important to respect your edge. The heat can help make your body more limber, which means it is easier to stretch. You may find that your fingers finally touch your toes or your nose meets your knees for the first time. Be aware of your limits, especially when you first get started. Whether you are twisting or holding a bind, be careful not to stretch to the point of pain or you may end up pulling a muscle and seriously injuring yourself. If you start feeling dizzy, take child’s pose.

As the temperatures climb and the humidity rises, your body is sweating out minerals like potassium and sodium in addition to water. A 90-minute hot yoga practice can feel like working out on a hot summer day. Feelings of light-headedness, muscle cramps, and nausea are common if you are not properly hydrated. This is especially true for inexperience yogis, whose bodies may not be physically yet be ready for the rigors of a hot yoga class. Be sure you are well hydrated before class, but avoid the temptation to guzzle an entire bottle during practice. The occasional sip is okay, but if you drink too much water during class, you’ll find it very uncomfortable to twist and stretch on a full bladder. In the hours immediately after class ends, aim to drink at least 32 ounces of water.

Sources:

Heid, Markham. "Is Hot Yoga Really Safe And Good For Weight Loss?" Time. Time, 9 July 2014. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.

Romine, Stefanie. "10 Tips to Stay Safe and Comfortable in a Hot Yoga Class." SparkPeople. SparkPeople, 24 Apr. 2013. Web. 02 Oct. 2014.

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