Hot Yoga Is Not Dangerous (If You’re Smart About It)


Realistic depiction of the way hot yoga feels.

Hot yoga is not going to kill you, it just feels like death.

According to a new study, exercise done in extremely hot temperatures is not measurably dangerous, just horribly uncomfortable. The more you know?

The study, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), involved comparing bodily reactions to 20 individuals who took a regular style yoga class with the same individuals’ bodily reaction in a hot yoga class. Research found that both core body temperature and heart rate were scarcely higher during the 60 minute hot yoga class.

This itsy bitsy teeny weenie study was the first to actually study what happens to the body during hot yoga. ACE Chief Science Officer Dr. Cedric Bryant says that “[T]his study showed that while higher sweat levels may cause participants to feel like they were working harder, heart rates showed they were actually at comparable levels whether in the regular or hot yoga class.” Essentially, you just feel way shittier if you practice in a 90-105 degree yoga dungeon, but you probably aren’t actually about to die.

Bryant wants everyone to keep in mind that these findings might not apply to all hot yoga variations. The classes they studied were 60 minutes at 92 degrees, though some practices around the country are up to 90 minutes and 105 degrees (exactly like my nightmares).

Those who are into hot yoga usually claim that it speeds up fitness, weight loss, enlightenment–all of the reasons people do yoga in the first place. People who are not into it say that it makes them dizzy, crampy, thirsty, uncomfortable and so close to death they swear made eye contact with their own soul. I guess it’s just exercise like any other, but you should probably be extra cautious about the whole thirst thing. Stay hydrated and for godsakes dress for the occasion. 

via Huffington Post//Image via Shutterstock

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    • Lee

      The study reflected what one would expect – that yoga at 90 degrees is safe. The problem with MANY hot yoga and Bikram yoga studios is that they have their temperature at a MINIMUM 105 degrees. This can be very dangerous. There are serious issues about core temperature and salt loss not discussed. Most people who are experiencing the “dizzy, crampy, thirsty, uncomfortable” feelings you quote are actually experiencing various levels of HEAT EXHAUSTION. This is a physiological effect that cannot be overridden by your mind.

      The safe levels to practise hot and bikram yoga are generally speaking, around body temperature (98 – 100 degrees) as long as the humidity is generally no more than about 60ish%.

      To be fair, nobody has the right or the basis to make ANY claims at all from that study about practising yoga at 105 degrees. It was based on 92 degrees.