Yoga has been around since the beginning of time in ancient India. It’s a safe form of exercise for most people and can help the chronic lower-back pain in people, and can help improve heart disease risk factors as well! It can help loosen up joints, increase flexibility and improve strength without needing to hit the weight room every single day.
Since hot yoga is a lot newer than traditional yoga, there isn’t a lot of information known about it and the effects it has on the body. It’s a yoga class performed in a room that’s kept at a temperature of 80 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and is a bit more intense than a regular yoga class. People usually assume that the same benefits and/or risks that are associated with regular yoga are the same for hot yoga, and that’s very untrue.
Because the workout is more intense than a normal yoga class, and because the temperature is so much higher, participants can get easily dehydrated and muscle strains can happen much easier as well. A study conducted by Dr. Casey Mace at Central Health University in Ellensburg, Wash. found that while people who practice hot yoga found an increase in their flexibility, improvements in mood, stamina, and fitness, but over half of those people had experienced light headedness, dizziness or develop headaches because of the heat.
Those feelings aren’t normal and it could be because of the huge amounts of water being lost. If this happens, it’s important to take a break, cool down and rehydrate before going back in. Hot yoga is generally pretty safe as long as you make sure you’re well hydrated before going into class and take enough water with you to get you through class. The most common injury with hot yoga is muscle strains and joint injuries because the heat makes people think they are more flexible than they actually are. So they push themselves and find out later that maybe they pushed a little too hard and now have to nurse an injury.
If you have low blood pressure or any sort of pre-existing health condition, consult with a doctor before participating in hot yoga. If you’re sensitive to heat, get dehydrated easily or are prone to heat stroke, you might want to stay away from hot yoga in general and go to a regular yoga class instead.