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Principal Physiotherapist Suelyn Chan from the Department of Physiotherapy​ at Singapore General Hospital​ shares the dangers of hot yoga, how to prepare for it, and its proven benefits.

Possible dangers of hot yoga

Apart from possible injuries arising from over-stretching, intense sweating also brings about the risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. Furthermore, those not used to exercising in a hot and humid environment may experience sluggishness, dizziness or nausea during their first initial lessons.

Ms Chan adds, “Patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and some cardiac complications can develop a unique sensitivity to heat. Plus, those taking medication for depression, nervousness and insomnia should also check with their doctor prior to participating in hot yoga to ensure the heat does not interplay with their medication.”

How to get your body ready for hot yoga

Most people need a minimum of two litres of fluid daily to stay hydrated. When doing hot yoga (or Bikram yoga), it is important to hydrate throughout the day rather than immediately before your class. This way, you won’t be bothered by a full bladder and will be able to concentrate fully on each yoga pose.

“You can bring a bottle of water with you and take sips during the class. After class, continue to rehydrate and supplement with electrolytes or an isotonic drink – replenishing minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium, which were lost through sweat,” advises Ms Chan.

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

As with any form of exercise, there is always the risk of injury. However, regular practice of yoga has been proven to:

  • Elevate metabolism
  • Reduce stress
  • Build strength, endurance and muscle tone
  • Improve posture and circulation
  • Increase balance, coordination, focus and discipline
  • Strengthen the immune system

“When it comes to hot yoga, the key is to know your limits”, says Ms Chan. If halfway through a session, you feel lightheaded, dizzy or experience any discomfort, take a break or step out of the room. You should always listen to your body.​

Ref: R14