‘There may be a misconception that these feelings are normal, but they’re not,’ she said. ‘If people are feeling dizzy or have headaches or feel weak or fatigued, it may be related to fluid loss. They should take a break, cool down and get hydrated. Proper hydration is key.’
Still, Dr Mace said, ‘Hot Yoga is generally safe, and the side effects we are seeing are generally mild,’ although, as with any kind of yoga, the practice does have risks.
I know that for me, as an Ayurvedic Pitta Dosha, I need to be extra careful of overheating and so I often don’t practise Hot Yoga during the hot summer months and choose to do cooler outdoor yoga instead. I only venture into the Hot Yoga studio during winter.
HOT YOGA CHECKLIST
Knowing yourself and listening to your body is paramount in any yoga session; however there are a few extra tips to take into consideration if you have never done a Hot Yoga class before.
Here is a checklist and a few precautions to take if thinking of joining a class:
If you have any injuries or health concerns, such as cardiovascular or respiratory disease, a history of heart-related illness, or are pregnant, make sure to get your doctor’s OK before practising Hot Yoga.
Make sure you are drinking up to two litres of water during the day to stay hydrated. During Hot Yoga most of what you are sweating is water but you also lose a lot of minerals, including potassium, sodium and other electrolytes. It is important to replace electrolytes lost during the practice. I personally have a Nuun Active effervescent after each heated yoga session, which elevates my hydration, replenishes my electrolytes and supports my active lifestyle.
Don’t eat any big meal for up to two hours before your class. If you suffer from low blood pressure then eat sodium-rich fruit like a banana an hour before for a pre-class energy boost.
Remember that yoga is another form of exercise and you can still injure yourself. The heat allows you to stretch more, so don’t push yourself into a posture that feels too intense. Listen to your body and ease into the postures.
Taking deep breaths brings your heart rate down, calms your mind, and regulates your body temperature. If you have stopped breathing, you have gone too far into the pose.
- Listen to your body and stay safe
If you feel dizzy or nauseous, listen to your body, take a break, relax and breathe, and if necessary go outside the heated room to cool down and recover properly.
When practising Hot Yoga in the winter, make sure not to rush out of the studio quickly after a practice. This will shock your system, tighten muscles and reduce circulation, which will put you at a greater risk for muscle injuries. Wait five to 10 minutes before going outside, and wrap up warmly when you do.
One of the best things about doing Hot Yoga in winter, or anytime of the year for that matter, is the community. There is a great camaraderie that is built between yogis who sweat together. And no, it doesn’t sound pretty, but the endorphins, music, people and Hot Yoga high that you feel during and after the session are enough to keep you motivated and glowing until you next step into the warm open arms of your Hot Yoga studio and the community that goes with it.
Get out of hibernation mode and go and try a Hot Yoga studio near you!
Hot Yoga studios Cape Town: