Heating up the yogi way

 
By Melanie Ross • Published: March 13th, 2017
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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Imagine exercising in a room heated to 105 degrees. It’s what devotees of hot yoga do. Also called Bikram yoga, hot yoga is a new form of the ancient stretching and strengthening practice. In the classes, which last about 90 minutes, participants move through a series of traditional yoga poses in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity.

What are hot yoga’s benefits? Devotees of the practice say it’s more rigorous than traditional yoga, and the heat helps detoxify the body by sweating profusely. Working out in the heat helps people breathe easier and leads to greater strength and flexibility.

However, participants of hot yoga also run a higher risk of dehydration, dizziness and nausea. Muscle injuries are more common in hot yoga classes than other yoga practices because people overstretch in the heat.

Hot yoga classes are considered safe, but take proper precautions. Wear exercise clothes made of light fabrics and make sure to stay hydrated before, during and after class. Know the early signs of heat sickness: nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps and extreme thirst. If you feel any of these symptoms, take a break and cool down.

Check if the studio offers a ‘’light’’ hot yoga class, offered in a slightly cooler room, to ease your way into the traditional heated class. Pregnant women, people who have adverse reactions to heat and those with pre-existing health conditions should consult a doctor before attending a hot yoga class.

Hot yoga is a way to get active, work on strength and flexibility and relax. By taking a few precautions, you’ll reap the benefits of the practice.