SUNDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Doing yoga in a room heated to between 90 and 105 degrees -- known as "hot yoga" -- is increasing in popularity, but it may not be for everyone, an expert warns.
Exertion in high temperatures may be dangerous for people with certain health conditions, said Diana Zotos, a yoga instructor and physical therapist in the rehabilitation department at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
"If you have sensitivity to heat, if you've ever had heat stroke or tend to get fatigued, dizzy or dehydrated quickly, you should ask your doctor before starting hot yoga," cautioned Zotos in a hospital news release. "Anyone with osteoarthritis, any rheumatologic arthritis, pain in muscles or a joint, or any kind of previous injury should check with their doctor."
Zotos added that anyone with high blood pressure, low blood pressure or heart disease should consult a cardiologist before trying hot yoga.
Even if they don't have an underlying condition, beginners, particularly those older than 40, should take precautions before trying hot yoga.
"Yoga of any type is physically challenging, and the heated environment of hot yoga makes the practice especially demanding," Zotos said. "The heat makes people feel as if they can stretch deeper into poses and can give them a false sense of flexibility. This can lead to muscle strains or damage to the joint, including ligaments and cartilage."
Zotos recommended that anyone new to hot yoga become familiar with the 26 poses used in the classes before they start.
"The heat factor also puts more strain on the heart and challenges endurance. That being said, people should be of good cardiovascular health; have healthy hip, knee, spine and shoulder joints; shouldn't have balance or neurological issues; and should have a general tolerance for excessive heat," she noted. Zotos also offered the following hot yoga tips for beginners:
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about yoga.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: Hospital for Special Surgery, news release, Jan. 16, 2012
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