Hot Yoga: The Dangers and Myths You Need to Know
Bikram Yoga, or hot yoga as it is commonly referred, involves 26 asanas, from head and shoulder stands to the infamous lotus position, all traditionally done in a room over 90 degrees. It is an intense workout that has been known to cause the occasional injury. Fractures, ligament and joint damage are just among some of the few common injuries associated with this ancient practice.
Does this mean one should avoid hot yoga? Not at all. Injuries can be found in any physical endeavor, the trick is to be aware of your body and limits. If you are a beginner it would be best to stay clear of those more challenging poses, such as hand and shoulder stands, which could force one’s body into a hazardous position. Also it s important when just starting out to have a qualified instructor help guide you. They will be in a better position to see the strains certain asanas may have on a particular body part and they are professionally trained to avoid them. To not be afraid to let them subtlety guide you into the correct stance.
Practice and Injury
Bikram yoga is considered one of the more competitive yoga practices. Practitioners often feel the need to compete with others in their class. But just because another can do a headstand with little to minimum effort does not mean everyone should. The beauty of yoga is its individual cultivation. If a posture does not feel right, it should not be done regardless of if one is the only one in the class who can’t do it. What is challenging to one may not be to another and it is imperative to strive for self improvement not the improvement over others.
Many hold the naive belief that yoga is a healing art and therefore could never harm. One needs to pay attention to their individual pain thresholds before attempting any yoga practice particularly one as rigorous as hot yoga. Many people who practice at home as opposed to in an instructor led group, rush through the series of postures to say they did them. Not only is this more likely to cause an injury, it is counter to the yogic philosophy of connecting your mind and body.
Yoga is a trend currently in the United States which means, unfortunately, that there are many people drawn to it that perhaps should not be. Make sure to understand the practice as well as one’s own physical restrictions before engaging in hot yoga and one will be well on their way to enjoying the benefits of a beautiful and timeless tradition.