Hot Yoga May Lower Blood Pressure

Hot yoga improved ambulatory blood pressure and reduced mental stress, a correlate of hypertension, in adults with elevated blood pressure and stage I hypertension, according to a study presented at AHA’s Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions held in New Orleans last month.

Previous research has shown reductions in ambulatory blood pressure with regular, room-temperature yoga, but no studies have investigated the blood pressure impact of hot yoga, which is typically offered in a humid atmosphere, with room temperatures around 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Hot yoga is gaining popularity, and we’re even seeing other styles of yoga, like Vinyasa and power yoga, being offered in heated studios,” said study lead Stacy Hunter, Ph.D., of Texas State University in San Marcos.

Researchers randomly assigned 10 sedentary, unmedicated men and women, aged 20 to 65 years, with either elevated blood pressure (120-129 mmHg for systolic with a diastolic below 80 mmHg) or stage I hypertension (130-139 mmHg for systolic or 80-89 mmHg for diastolic) to take 12 weeks of three-times-weekly hour-long hot yoga classes or no yoga classes. The researchers looked at average 24-hour blood pressure readings, along with perceived stress and vascular function.

In the yoga group, 24-hour systolic blood pressure dropped from an average 126 mmHg at the study’s start to 121 mmHg at 12 weeks, and 24-hour diastolic decreased from 82 mmHg to 79 mmHg, while perceived stress levels also fell. Average blood pressure and perceived stress levels did not change in the control group.

“These blood pressure reductions were observed in the absence of blood pressure medications or weight loss, and do not appear to be associated with improvements in pulse wave analysis,” the authors wrote.

“The results of our study start the conversation that hot yoga could be feasible and effective in terms of reducing blood pressure without medication,” Dr. Hunter said, but she recommended larger studies to determine if the practice has true blood pressure lowering effect.


“Hot Yoga and Hypertension: Exploration of a Novel Lifestyle Intervention.” Stacy Hunter , A. Tobi Fadeyi , James Shadiow. Sept 5, 2019. Hypertension 2019. Abstract number P196.

High Blood Pressure: Do This To Lower Your Reading

Try this exercise but under hot and humid conditions to lower blood pressure.

Hot yoga is a trendy exercise which involves quick movements under hot and humid environment.

A new study has shown that it can reduce high blood pressure after three months of classes.

It improves flexibility and strength as well as speeding up the heart rate, while it is a more rigorous workout compared to traditional yoga.

Hot yoga follows the Bikram style, which is practiced in heated rooms with temperature ranging from 27 to 41°C.

Dr Stacy Hunter, the study’s first author, said:

“Hot yoga is gaining popularity, and we’re even seeing other styles of yoga, like Vinyasa and power yoga, being offered in heated studios.”

The yoga group participants in the study completed Bikram yoga classes at 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5°C).

The classes were composed of three sessions per week and each session was an hour long.

These adult were either at stage 1 hypertension or had elevated blood pressure.

Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure between 130 mmHg to 139 mmHg and a diastolic pressure between 80 mmHg to 89 mmHg.

Elevated blood pressure is a systolic pressure between 120 mmHg to 129 mmHg and a diastolic pressure less than 80 mmHg.

They were not on any blood pressure drugs and they were inactive — in other word they were not doing any exercise and physical fitness activities for six months before they took part in the study.

After 12 weeks of doing hot yoga classes, the subjects saw a drop in blood pressure and stress levels.

The average systolic blood pressure was reduced to 121 mmHg and the average diastolic pressure dropped to 79 mmHg.

An ideal blood pressure is between 90 mmHg over 60 mmHg and 120 mmHg over 80 mmHg.

Supporting evidence have shown the positive effect of regular yoga at room-temperature on lowering blood pressure.

However, the potential impact of hot yoga is not well-known and this research is one the first studies on hot yoga and hypertension.

Dr Hunter said:

“The results of our study start the conversation that hot yoga could be feasible and effective in terms of reducing blood pressure without medication.

However, larger studies need to be done before we can say with confidence that hot yoga has a positive impact on blood pressure.”

She advises that people taking hot yoga classes should drink water during the sessions and stay hydrated, wear suitable clothes, and patients should let their doctor know before taking up this exercise.

About the author

Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.

The study was published in the journal Hypertension (Hunter et al., 2019).

First, you have to distinguish between dizziness and nausea. Nausea is the feeling of queasiness in the stomach, as if you are about to vomit, and can be caused by disturbances in the inner ear or incorrect pressure on the abdominal organs. Dizziness is most often experienced in the skull with a feeling of lightheadedness, ringing in the ears, difficulty focusing the eyes, and loss of balance.
Dizziness can have many causes, from the serious (strokes and tumors) to the mundane (temporarily restricted blood flow from standing too quickly, commonly known as a headrush). If you experience one or both on a regular basis, you should consult your physician.

Nausea and/or dizziness in your yoga practice can also be red flags if experienced to a debilitating degree, says Robert Gray, director of the Park Boulevard Yoga Center in Oakland, California. “First, ensure you are not practicing at the wrong time with regard to your eating cycle,” says Gray. “Don’t be stuffed nor starving. Empty your bowels and bladder. Hydrate to a reasonable level before you begin, then refrain from drinking during your practice. For women, where you are in the cycle of your menses is significant too, and there may be days when backbends are just not for you.”

But Gray also explains it this way: “Inside our body is a living mammalian core that extends from the anus to the top of the head and encompasses all our organs, glands, blood vessels, and nerves. It is woven together and to the spine with webs of connective tissue,” he says. “All yoga postures are designed to effect this inner core. If our postures do not honor the integrity and intelligence of this core, we can experience symptoms like nausea and dizziness.

“To do a backbend, or any posture for that matter, we must use the strength of our arms and legs. If our shoulders and hips are restricted, the strength of our arms and legs will violate the integrity of this core body.”

So what can you do to prevent nausea and dizziness? Gray offers these suggestions: Work at continuing to open the hips and shoulders with standing poses and seated twists. In the backbends themselves, concentrate on relaxing your neck. First, lie on you back with your legs relaxed and comfortable. Let the force of gravity soften your voice box and move it back into the neck vertebrae. The soft tissue from the upper lungs to the inner ears and brain should also be relaxed.

Lie very still and observe the quality of your breath. Feel and remember this relaxation in the neck and try to maintain it as you move into the backbend. Remember to move slowly and listen closely to what your core body is telling you.

Yoga Student Question: Is it Normal to feel Nauseated after my first Yoga Class?

I teach a lot of Beginners. If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know that I find great joy in seeing someones journey from apprehension to pure love for their yoga practice. I also do my very best to try and dissolve the apprehension they may feel prior to their first class by ensuring them they will be safe and won’t be forced to do anything they don’t feel comfortable doing. When a student approaches me after class and I ask them about their experience, I always hope they will say it was “great”, “better than they thought”, or at the very least “it wasn’t so bad”. However, mixed in with the positive reviews, I have heard from a few students over the past year that they enjoyed their class, but now feel nauseated or had felt nauseated at some point during the class. I can often see the concern on their faces as they wonder what this “yoga thing” has done to their bodies! Today, I wanted to address this question/concern by sharing a few of the reasons you may feel nauseated – especially after your first class – and what you can do if this happens to you. Of course, I am not a medical professional, and anyone who is venturing into new physical activity should always check with their doctor before they begin. Also, if you have any previous medical history that would make you more susceptible to nausea, dizziness, or fainting, these tips won’t necessarily apply to you and you should speak to your doctor.

So, why may you feel nauseated during or after your class? The first question I usually ask students is if they have any other flu like symptoms or have had any in the past day or so. The second thing I ask is what they ate today and when they ate prior to class. One reason people may feel unwell during a class is because they have eaten right before. If you eat a lot, or for some people not enough, prior to practising physical activity, it can effect how you feel. If you have a stomach full of food and you are moving upside down in Downward Dog, you may feel that food churning around in there. If you haven’t eaten enough that day you may be more susceptible to lower blood pressure symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Your safest bet is to eat a small amount of food and drink some water at least an hour or so ahead of your practice. However, everyone is different, so be sure to listen to your body and see what works best for you regarding an eating schedule.

Another reason you may feel nauseated, especially after your first class, is because Yoga poses and breathing exercises can work to detox your body. Now, before you jump all over me….let me finish… ALL PHYSICAL ACTIVITY HELPS THE BODY TO GET RID OF TOXINS!!! So, you are more likely to feel nauseated after Yoga if you haven’t been participating in much physical activity previously. I’m not saying Yoga is a magical detox practice, however, Yoga does encourage practitioners to take LONGER and DEEPER breaths. Breathing deeply benefits your body in many ways, one of them being to rid the body of toxins (note: the only specific statistic I can find on this says 70% of the body’s waste is released through the breath but I can’t find where that fact is sited from). Breathing deeply may also aid in digestion and food assimilation by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to the digestive organs. So, add a few twisting postures in (which may compress your organs a bit) and it sounds like a pretty good recipe for nausea – no? Bottom line, if you are feeling nauseated, dizzy, or generally unwell, just take some time in Childs Pose, or Savasana while taking some slow and steady breaths and see if it passes. You may even want to pause and think about what poses your were doing before you became nauseated. Make sure to talk to your Yoga teacher after class and let them know about your experience and if it keeps happening always speak to your doctor.

In my experience, people who reported feeling unwell after their first class did not stay feeling that way for long and did not experience the same thing in their second class – either because they changed their eating schedule that day or simply because their body started to get used to what happened in the practice. Additionally, I have seen probably over 100 beginners throughout this year and have a memory of only 3 people reporting feeling unwell after class, so please don’t let this deter you. I simply wanted to address this topic to let you know that it may happen – you are not alone – but it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t go back and try again!

Questions about this or anything else Yoga related?? Leave me a comment below and I would love to answer them in another “Yoga Student Question” post!!!

Did you just finish your first Yoga class? Did you do YOUR best? You should let the world know ——>> Check out the t-shirts here.

Can Yoga Cause Vertigo? These 3 Poses May Make You Dizzy, But Here’s How To Beat The Vertigo

As a yoga teacher, I’m a strong believer in the fact that a quality, relaxing yoga flow can truly do no wrong. However, there’s nothing worse than the feeling when you’re chilling in forward fold and a wave of nauseous dizziness hits you like a truck. Like, I’m pretty sure I came to yoga class to find inner peace and sh*t, so why do I feel this way? For real though, can yoga cause vertigo?

Personally, the first time this happened to me, I low-key thought I was dying. And since no one really talks about experiencing vertigo during vinyasa, it’s not that farfetched to think you’re literally doing something wrong.

But yoga-induced vertigo is actually more common than you may think, and it even has a scientific name. Getting woozy during your warrior sequence is more formally known as benign paroxysmal position vertigo, which is a condition that causes tiny parts in your inner ear to become dislodged, thus throwing your entire body off-balance.

Ugh, seriously? I do yoga because I’m literally trying to locate my balance, and this happens. Why do you do this to me, body?

There are particular asanas that tend to trigger that “room spinning out of control” sensation, though, and the culprits are usually when your head is positioned below your heart. Here are a few yoga poses that may be causing you to feel lightheaded AF.

1. Headstand (Sirsasana)

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Since people don’t typically chill upside down on the reg, getting accustomed to inverting your body can cause all kinds of weird sensations at first.

When you first begin practicing headstands (or any other types of inversions, such as a forearm stand or handstand), you may experience a rush of blood to your head that can lead to dizziness or vertigo.

Furthermore, if you come out of the pose too quickly, without taking a rest in child’s pose, the blood will rush too fast from your head to your lower extremities. The sudden head rush that results typically causes pressure and discomfort, so make sure you move through these poses slowly, always checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.

2. Upward Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)

Ekhart Yoga on YouTube

You might not think of upward bow pose as an inversion, since it’s categorized more as a backbend or heart-opener, but since your head is technically below your heart in this one, this too can cause dizzy spells.

Remember that all inversions have the ability to make your blood pressure rise. So if you’re prone to high blood pressure and aren’t on medication to manage it, it’s best to consult with your doctor before inverting, especially so you can avoid suffering from anything more serious than vertigo.

3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Yoga With Adriene on YouTube

Uttanasna is an incredibly relaxing and rejuvenating yoga pose. But, if you’re hanging over your legs and suddenly return to an upright position too quickly, you’re likely to feel real faint, real fast.

Standing up too quickly from a forward bend can cause a surge of blood to rush down into the legs and abdomen, leaving too little blood to fill the heart.

Don’t worry though, your body is smarter than you think, and quickly corrects this by constricting your blood vessels to amp up the pressure in your body.

If vertigo during your flow is a common problem, here are a few ways to keep the dizzy vibes to a minimum.

First, always remember to hydrate properly throughout the day. Being dehydrated can cause blood pressure instability and unpleasant vertigo during your yoga flow. Once you’re hydrated, make sure you’re moving slowly through your sequences, especially the more challenging poses you haven’t quite perfected yet.

This might mean taking your sweet, sweet time as you move out of inverted poses, as well as remembering to always rest in child’s pose afterward. For forward folds, be sure to carefully rise up, vertebrae by vertebrae.

Above all, remember that there’s no need to rush whatsoever when you’re doing yoga, even if you’re in a class and it feels like you’re “lagging” behind. Your teacher’s instructions are simply a guide, never a command. Get to the next pose on your own time, listening to your body only.

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Hot yoga blood pressure

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