Doing Yoga in a Sauna – A New Fitness Craze

Doing yoga in a sauna sounds crazy, but it’s a fitness craze that’s becoming increasingly popular with fans of yoga and sauna users alike.

Those who have tried are enthusiastic about how the combination of excessive sweating and movement of various muscle groups improve their overall health. Many people find that they also improve their deep breathing over time by practicing yoga while sweating away in a hot sauna.

Bikram Yoga vs. Hot Yoga

The practice of yoga in a sauna is a relatively new concept, first popularized by Yoga Master Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. He developed twenty-six yoga postures and two distinct breathing exercises that were to be practiced during a ninety minute yoga session.

Bikram Yoga should be practiced in a 105° sauna with a humidity level of 40%.

Yoga in a Sauna

Only those yoga studios that have yoga instructors specifically trained and certified in Bikram Yoga can use the term Bikram.

There are many other yoga studios that feature Hot Yoga, which is very similar but may not use the same twenty-six poses. A more important distinction is the temperature – most Hot Yoga classes prefer a slightly lower temperature range of 95°-100°.

Advantages of Yoga Sessions in a Sauna

Proponents of Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga tout the many benefits of practicing yoga while taking a sauna, including:

  • The ability to stretch more effectively and with greater flexibility
  • Less chance of injury due to the increased warmth of the muscles
  • Being more relaxed and focused due to the warm, relaxing environment
  • Better oxygen absorption due to increased blood circulation
  • Increased sweating leading to improved detoxification
  • More efficient reduction of lactic acid build-up in the muscles

Precautions

Because it is an intense workout in a relatively extreme environment, doing yoga while in a heated sauna should only be practiced by individuals who have already been doing yoga for a while or who are used to the higher temperatures of a sauna.

Some people can become dizzy, light-headed or nauseous when practicing yoga in the heat of a sauna. Any time this happens, you should immediately stop your workout and go to someplace where you can cool down.

It’s also crucial to stay hydrated before and after Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga. Be sure to drink plenty of water, but don’t eat for at least two hours before your yoga session in the sauna.

This will prevent nausea and sluggishness. If you haven’t practiced yoga in a sauna before, talk to your doctor to make sure it is safe.

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