Avoid Getting Scorched by 'Hot Yoga'01/22/12
SUNDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Doing yoga in a room heated
to between 90 and 105 degrees -- known as "hot yoga" -- is
increasing in popularity, but it may not be for everyone, an expert
Exertion in high temperatures may be dangerous for people with
certain health conditions, said Diana Zotos, a yoga instructor and
physical therapist in the rehabilitation department at the Hospital
for Special Surgery in New York City.
"If you have sensitivity to heat, if you've ever had heat stroke or tend to get fatigued, dizzy or dehydrated quickly, you should ask your doctor before starting hot yoga," cautioned Zotos in a hospital news release. "Anyone with osteoarthritis, any rheumatologic arthritis, pain in muscles or a joint, or any kind of previous injury should check with their doctor."
Zotos added that anyone with high blood pressure, low blood
pressure or heart disease should consult a cardiologist before
trying hot yoga.
Even if they don't have an underlying condition, beginners,
particularly those older than 40, should take precautions before
trying hot yoga.
"Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding," Zotos said. "The heat makes people feel as if they can stretch deeper into poses and can give them a false sense of flexibility. This can lead to muscle strains or damage to the joint, including ligaments and cartilage."
Zotos recommended that anyone new to hot yoga become familiar
with the 26 poses used in the classes before they start.
"The heat factor also puts more strain on the heart and challenges endurance. That being said, people should be of good cardiovascular health; have healthy hip, knee, spine and shoulder joints; shouldn't have balance or neurological issues; and should have a general tolerance for excessive heat," she noted. Zotos also offered the following hot yoga tips for beginners:
- Bring a mat, a towel and, if possible, a friend.
- Wear shorts and a tank top.
- Drink plenty of fluids well before class (no coffee or
- Do not consume more than 200 calories two to three hours before
- Research the yoga studio and make sure the hot yoga teacher has
the proper certification and experience.
- Arrive early to meet the instructor, get settled and adjust to
- Start slowly. Do not try poses that are too advanced and do not
hold poses beyond what is comfortable or to the point of pain.
- Take breaks when needed.
- Don't get discouraged if you can't reach a pose.
- If necessary, ask questions about how to perform certain
- Stop at the first sign of dizziness, chest pain or feeling
faint or overheated. Seek medical assistance if necessary.
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.