Too hot to handle? The dangers of hot yoga

By: Sep 13, 2013
Hot Yoga

The big question: Is hot yoga safe?

It’s no secret that yoga has been lauded for its many physical and psychological benefits. Millions of people have turned to yoga to increase their mental, emotional and physical well-being. In recent years a growing trend known as “hot yoga” has increased in popularity. Hot yoga occurs when individuals perform yoga movements in a room with temperatures between 90 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit. So the question remains – is hot yoga safe? Read on to find out.

Researchers say that hot yoga is safe provided the individual is properly hydrated before, during and after the session. In fact, a university study conducted by researchers at University of Wisconsin observed 20 people ranging in age from 19-44 and found that hot yoga was in no way detrimental.

The research group, whose study was published by the American Council for Exercise, measured the participants’ core temperatures after a rigorous 60-minutes session in a 70-degree Fahrenheit room. The researchers then measured core body temperature of the same group after a 60-minute class with temperatures in the room hovering between 90-95 degrees.

In what came as a surprise to some of the group, the researchers found that the core body temperature of all of the participants hardly rose at all. This shows just how good the human body is at regulating its temperature in order to protect itself from overheating. The average temperature for the group was 99 degrees Fahrenheit, which is far below the danger level of 104.

Researchers stated that the body basically shuts down when core body temperature begins to rise in order to protect itself from reaching dangerous levels. Researchers went on to discuss the similar results were most likely due to the fact each participant was well hydrated. In addition, the yoga instructor encouraged each person to stay hydrated during the 60-minute session.

It might be common sense, but the study showed the importance of being hydrated. If you plan on attending a hot yoga class, or any other sort of physical activity – especially when temperatures are high – it’s best to begin hydrating at least 30-minutes prior. The optimum amount of water depends on your size and fitness level, but a good range is between 6-8 ounces.

So is hot yoga too hot to handle? Not if you’re properly hydrated. But remember, the participants in the study were healthy, hydrated individuals between 19-44. Experts strongly urge people with to check with their health care providers before starting any sort of exercise program. Seniors and others with health issues should definitely see their provider before sweating it out in a hot yoga class.

What do you think of hot yoga? Share your thoughts with us below.