Can Hot Yoga Hurt You?
Here's what a new study had to say about yoga-related injuries.
Nov. 25, 2013— -- How does Kate Hudson stay so fit even with a crazy schedule and two children? In the December issue of Harper's Bazaar, the 34-year-old actress revealed that hot yoga, SoulCycle, and dance are all part of her fitness routine.
Hot yoga—also known as Bikram yoga—involves a series of 26 postures, or asanas, performed in a studio heated between 90 and 105 degrees at 40 percent humidity. If getting bendy in a steamy room sounds super challenging, that's because it is: A new Duke University review of 76 yoga-related injuries found that Bikram was commonly linked to injuries, along with Pranayama (a style focused on breathing control) and Hatha (an umbrella term for physical yoga practices).
Hot practice in general wasn't necessarily to blame. The study suggests that these specific postures could be the culprits, since they were associated with the most injuries: headstands, shoulder stands, and lotus position. The most common injuries were musculoskeletal, including fractures, ligament tears, and joint damage.
So should you abandon challenging poses entirely? Nope. The researchers simply suggest avoiding these tricky positions if you're a beginner, and once you do attempt them—especially headstands and shoulder stands—you should have your instructor gently guide you into the posture.
The scientists also note that Bikram-style yoga tends to be competitive. But remember, yoga is about your body and your personal practice, so just because other people in your class can do a headstand doesn't mean you have to do one, too. Do what you can, at your own pace, and do it for your well-being!
Editor's note: We recognize that headstands and shoulder stands aren't part of the 26 Bikram postures, but the point still stands: don't strain to do things that you're not capable of doing, especially if you're a beginner.