The debate about hot yoga is almost as old as yoga itself. Ok, not quite as old. I do remember first hearing it discussed at an IDEA Convention in 1999. The conversation has evolved (a good thing!) and there are good points from both "sides."
Hot yoga--where you perform yoga poses in a room heated between 90 and 105 degrees--may come with a list of benefits, like helping you sweat out toxins and release anxiety and stress. But experts warn that some people need to talk to their doctors before signing up for a class--or stay out of the sauna-like room altogether.
One well-known form is Bikram yoga, though many "hot" yoga classes are now available that do not follow Bikram sequencing or protocal.
According to Diana Zotos, a yoga instructor and physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, "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."
If you experience any of these health issues, hot yoga might not be the exercise for you:
* You've ever had heat stroke or get fatigued, dizzy, or dehydrated quickly
* You have osteoarthritis, rheumatologic arthritis
* You have pain in your muscles or joints
* You have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, or heart disease
Plus, says Zotos, if you're totally new to yoga or over 40, you should first become familiar with yoga poses before heading to hot yoga--even if you don't have underlying medical conditions. "Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding," she says.
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