Hot Yoga Could Hurt You More Than Help You (Seriously)

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Hot yoga has been on the scene for a minute, and publications and influencers have picked it up as the next big exercise to up your heart rate while staying zen. You also sweat a ton, which seems productive, right? Not necessarily. The negative effects of hot yoga could outweigh the potential for a positive experience if you’re not careful.

Bikram yoga, a main hot yoga practice, involves 90 minutes of postures and breathing exercises in a 100-degrees-plus room. The purpose of the practice is to detoxify the body, relieve stress and even heal chronic pain.

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Here’s where it gets tricky: A study by the American Council on Exercise found that after taking 20 regular Bikram participants through a 90-minute class, the average highest core temperature reached 103 degrees for men and 102 degrees for women. One man reached a core temperature of 104 degrees, which is the degree heat-related illnesses are more likely to occur.

A factor of these illnesses is often dehydration. In a 100-degrees-plus room and in the motions of multiple flowing yoga poses, you may not remember to hydrate as frequently as you need to.

Don’t forget, also, that you may feel more flexible in a hot room and end up over-extending. If you feel pain anywhere, have shortness in breath or suddenly feel ill, take a break and sit down. That’s what the pros say.

Taking a chance on hot yoga could be absolutely worth it if you know what you’re in for. Come prepared, don’t hesitate to give yourself a breather and, most importantly, enjoy.