Are you feeling Flu Like Symptoms After Hot Yoga? If you are familiar with hot yoga, you may have experienced one unpleasant side effect of regularly practicing this advanced yoga style.
The symptoms can be flu-like and very intense. This article explains why you are getting sick and offers some suggestions on how to alleviate the effects.
Hot yoga is a very physically demanding yoga style. In hot yoga, the body’s internal temperature increases by adding heat to the environment while performing physical exercises designed to effectively use your muscles.
You also perform “vinyasas”, which include a sequence of poses flowing back and forth between two poses. The flow is performed with a purposeful speed. As you try to synchronize your breath with the movement of your body.
The combination of heat and physical activity can make you feel very good, energized, and focused after class. In fact, hot yoga has been shown in studies to have many positive benefits of stress reduction, focus, and general well-being.
What is Hot Yoga?
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Hot yoga is a type of yoga that involves moving from one body position to another in a controlled but rapid motion as you synchronize your breathing with the movement.
The other major types of yoga such as Bikram and Baptiste Yoga. Those are also performed in rooms heated with temperature levels that reach 40 degrees Celsius or more (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Unlike other types of yoga, hot yoga is performed in a heated room but without oils or lotions. The heat helps your muscles to stretch further than normal. So you can perform deeper stretches.
Hot Yoga Benefits
There are many benefits of practicing hot yoga. In addition to improving flexibility and strength, studies show it has many other benefits such as:
- Reduces stress
- Improves focus
- Relieves muscle tension
- Increases energy levels and
- Helps manage chronic pain.
Studies also show that hot yoga can reduce anxiety and depression because it releases endorphins, making you feel happier. Hot yoga is different from other yoga types because it’s performed at a much faster tempo and has many poses that are rarely seen in other types of yoga.
It is the fast pace and unique exercises that make hot yoga so refreshing. Still, as we will see later, this rapid movement can also cause side effects in some people. The Flu-Like Symptoms
You may be familiar with how people get sick after a long flight. For example, suppose the plane is pressurized, and you fly from sea level (where you’re used to breathing) up to an altitude of 8,000 feet or more. In that case, you can experience what’s known as “decompression sickness”.
Why are You Feeling Flu Like Symptoms After Hot Yoga?
If you have been practicing hot yoga regularly, then you may be feeling flu-like symptoms after class. This is known as “decompression sickness”. But it’s not like the decompression sickness that pilots experience when flying to higher altitudes.
This is similar to what happens when a diver comes up too fast out of a profound dive.
The symptoms can include:
- Sore muscles, headaches and nausea
- Fatigue to the point where you don’t want to move
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased performance in other activities like work or sports
- Flu-like symptoms with aches, pains and overall weakness
- Feeling of being sick Despite the similarities with actual flu symptoms.
- The Symptoms are Caused by “Overexertion”
When you practice yoga, your muscles stretch and contract under various stresses and strains to give your body maximum range of motion while maintaining flexibility.
If you push yourself too far, then your muscles will ache. They may even become stiff and painful to the point where you can’t move them.
When muscles are stretched beyond their comfort zone, they produce a chemical known as “bradykinin”. Which has thermogenic properties, creating heat.
Because hot yoga is done in an extremely hot room, this can overwhelm your system.
How to Get Rid of these Flu-Like Symptoms?
The best way to prevent these symptoms is by not pushing yourself too hard during a class. Don’t overstretch, and make sure you’re taking breaks between moves so that you can give your muscles time to adjust.
Also, be careful about how fast you move with your poses. For example, if you’re practicing Bikram or Baptiste Yoga, make sure the teacher gives you enough time before you transition to the next pose.
If these tips aren’t helping, you should take a day off from hot yoga and see if that helps. If you still have flu-like symptoms, then it’s time to give your body some extra recovery time.
So What Should You Do After Hot Yoga?
Doing something that helps increase blood flow is a good idea. Because hot yoga causes our bodies to “shunt”. All of the blood is away from our digestive system and into our muscles and internal organs. This is why you feel “full” after a really intense hot yoga session- there’s not enough blood to go around!
A good way to bring back the blood flow is by doing some type of cardio activity for 20 minutes or so. Also, if it’s after 6 pm, make sure your dinner has more carbohydrates because those are broken down into glucose and sent to your muscles for energy.
If you still have these flu-like symptoms with a headache or nausea after doing yoga in a heated room, then take the day off. You need to give your body some time to recover before going back into intense workouts. Also, be sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating more foods that can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Finally, you could suffer from something else called “Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome” or POTS. This is a condition where your body doesn’t react well to the stress of exercise. So you develop flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and fatigue after being in an upright position for too long.
If you think you have this, then contact your doctor immediately. Some treatments are easy to get if you know what’s going on with your body.
Why do I feel cold after yoga?
Hot yoga’s supposed to be hot! So why would I feel cold after practicing Bikram or Baptiste Yoga? It’s not uncommon for people to get sweaty and then start noticing that the room feels chilly.
The reason why is because your blood vessels dilate during a yoga session, so you sweat more than usual. But when there’s no more sweat to evaporate, then your body has no way of cooling down.
Also, since you’ve been moving around and using so much energy during a hot yoga session, it’s normal for your body temperature to drop slightly when you’re done with the class. This is why it’s smart to do some type of cardiorespiratory exercise after hot yoga.
If you still feel cold even though you’ve been moving around, then take it easy on yourself and don’t overdo your cardio. It’s better to err on the side of slowing down than pushing too hard and getting sick or injured.
Also, try drinking some warm tea right after class (don’t add milk or sugar because that’ll only make you sweat more). This will help warm your body from the inside, and it’s a nice way to relax after an intense yoga session.
The Bottom Line
The symptoms of a “hot yoga flu” are temporary. Exercise is good for your health. It might be possible to lessen the effects that hot yoga has on you by adjusting your hydration habits or practicing in cooler temperatures if they’re available. If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!