Yoga: Some Like It Hot

If you practice yoga you already know the benefits it can have on your mind and body. But what do you know about hot yoga?

Maybe you’ve already tried it and want to take your routine to the next level. Or, maybe you’re just curious and need to know more before you commit to the full-body sweat. Either way, here’s a little rundown:

Hot yoga is a series of yoga exercises performed with the heat cranked up. In most hot yoga studios, the temperature reaches up to 105 degrees F with humidity of 40 percent. The demanding nature of the poses combined with the heat are designed to raise your heart rate and stretch and strengthen your muscles. And all that sweat is intended to rid your body of toxins. It’s exhilarating, enlightening and can be exhausting. And it’s becoming more and more popular.

But is it safe?

According to a new study, yes, hot yoga is perfectly safe.

The study, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise, showed no measurable danger to the body. Twenty men and women took a 60-minute yoga class twice, first in a room set to 70 degrees F, then again within 24 hours in a room heated to 92 degrees F and significantly more humid. Researchers measured core body temperature and heart rate both times — and found no significant differences.

Based on these findings, the concern that heated yoga classes — those with temperatures ranging from 90 to 95 degrees F — are dangerous, is unfounded. However, anytime exercise is conducted in extreme temperatures, it’s important to remain hydrated and to watch for signs of overheating.

Ready to give it a try?

As with any new exercise program, be sure you check with your physician before trying hot yoga if you have any health concerns. If you have heart disease, problems with dehydration or heat intolerance, or have had heat-related illness (such as heatstroke) in the past, it is probably best to skip hot yoga. Pregnant women should also pass on this type of yoga.

If you’re ready, willing and healthy, and looking for something a bit more intense, you can most likely find a spot for your mat at a hot yoga studio near you.

Sources: ACEFitness.org, NCCAM.NIH.gov, Prevention.com

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