Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Your Hot Yoga Class Might Not Be as Beneficial as You Think

Your Hot Yoga Class Might Not Be as Beneficial as You Think

It is now taught by a worldwide network of affiliated teachers.

A study published in the journal Experimental Physiology found that yoga was beneficial regardless of whether it was done in a hot room or at ambient temperature.

Bikram yoga-a form of "hot yoga" in which poses are practiced in a room heated to upwards of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius)-has cardiovascular benefits, but no more than yoga practiced at room-temperature, teams at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University have found.

There was one hint of a benefit from hot yoga though.

If the measure rises, it can indicate delayed development of atherosclerosis, which is a condition wherein arteries narrow and get stiff due to plaque build-up.

This followed evidence that saunas and hot baths are good for blood vessels and may help to slash the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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The study participants, whose ages ranged between 40 and 60 years, were 52 "sedentary but apparently healthy adults". The intervention lasted for 12 weeks and participants were asked to attend three Bikram yoga classes per week.

Apart from body fat percentage-which was significantly lowered in the hot yoga group-there was little difference in vascular function between the two yoga groups.

The findings were important, they added, "given the increased propensity toward heat intolerance in ageing adults".

It's called "hot" yoga because it's practiced in sweltering temperatures, and some research has hinted that it might improve heart health more than traditional yoga.

"The heated practice environment did not seem to play a role in eliciting improvements in vascular health with bikram yoga", said study co-author Stacy Hunter of Texas State University.

However, the study authors note that this change was "relatively small and may not have had significant physiological impact". While the yoga practice has always been a favorite of people seeking to add an extra level of difficulty to their practice, there's new evidence to suggest the addition of heat does nothing to make it more beneficial than other forms of yoga.

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