Hot yoga is quite a popular variation of yoga to practice these days, practiced in a room that has a temperature anywhere from about 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Students may enjoy an increase of flexibility caused by greater range of motion. For example, in a "cold," or non-heated yoga class, the heels may not touch the mat during Downward Facing Dog, but in a heated room, they find the range of motion to touch down.
Hot yoga enthusiasts also report enjoying the detoxification they get from an intense hour of sweating, or the perception of working harder.
Is It Safe to Practice Hot Yoga During the Summer?
Absolutely. The yoga practice itself will be the same as in the wintertime with regard to temperature. Humidity levels, however, may be very different if you live in a dry winter (or summer) environment and your studio does not regulate humidity concentrations. Follow guidelines about pre-hydrating before class, hydrating during class, and re-hydrating after class. Include fluids that have electrolytes, but not huge quantities of sugars.
Hot yoga has risks. Dehydration is a huge factor to consider. Dehydration may cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches, and hot yoga may cause heat stroke, which is very dangerous. Overall, you may experience impairment of mental and physical performance.
Checking the quantity and color of your urine is an easy measurement. Dark yellow in color is a sign you need to hydrate! The good news is that if you monitor your hydration levels, hot yoga can be fun and safe for you.
What About Dehydration?
During hot yoga class, you may be losing as much as 1.5L of sweat per hour. Practicing hot yoga in summertime probably means that your warmer outside environmental temperature is contributing more to an everyday, naturally occurring dehydration, on top of hot yoga dehydration.
In addition to losing water, you are also losing important ions such as sodium when you sweat. Sodium is one of many ions that help aid in metabolic processes such as glucose absorption by the digestive organs.
In a study of dehydration and hot yoga, most participants started the class in a state of neither hydration nor dehydration. If you are planning to take a hot yoga class today, you should start out hydrated by ingesting fluids earlier in the day. During class, you should absolutely take breaks to drink.
Some yoga classes and teachers teach students not to drink water during class as it puts out the internal fire we are trying to build, but I say, drink up during hot yoga. Then, after class, especially during the hot summer months, be sure to drink more later in the day to keep your body in a state of hydration.
Are you obsessed with hot yoga? Do you have any tips for those thinking of trying out hot yoga for the first time?