Last week, I discussed yoga and made some comparisons between so-called “hot” yoga versus “neutral” yoga. Hot yoga is performed in a studio with an air temperature of about 105 degrees (F), whereas neutral yoga is performed in a typical indoor environment of about 72 degrees. Hot yoga may provide a modest advantage when it comes to promoting flexibility, because the warmer the muscles and connective tissue, the more flexible they are.
Safety concerns must be taken into consideration during hot yoga. The high temperatures impose a double duty on the cardiovascular system. First, there is the demand to supply adequate blood flow to active muscles to ensure an ample oxygen supply. Second, the hot environment requires lots of blood flow to the skin in an attempt to lose heat from the skin to the surrounding air. And, because there is heavy sweating, rapid dehydration is possible, which could reduce blood volume. This, combined with the double duty, could overwhelm the cardiovascular system precipitating a heart attack.