Doctors warn there are some health risks of practicing yoga in such extreme temperatures


Julianne Pepe has been taking traditional yoga classes like this one for years. But then she decided to try a Bikram hot yoga class.

"During the class I felt lightheaded, fatigued, weak," she said.

Normally, Julianne feels energized after class, but not after hot yoga.

"I was completely exhausted, just depleted," said Julianne.

Julianne had taken a Bikram yoga class like this one, which requires heat of at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity around 40 percent. Dr. Orly Avitzur suspects Julianne became dehydrated and was beginning to suffer heat exhaustion.

"We do know that exercising in extreme heat can cause a number of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms," said Dr. Orly Avitzur.

Some warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are feeling lightheaded or dizzy or experiencing nausea or muscle cramps.

"If you suffer more serious symptoms either during or after class such as unusual weakness, fever, vomiting, or confusion, you should go to your nearest emergency room," Dr. Avitzur said.

Bikram practitioners say the high temperature and humidity promote health. Studio owner Rich Pike says he hasn't had complaints of heat exhaustion and touts the benefits.

"Heat allows you to bend safely and be more flexible and what the sweating does is it eliminates toxins through your sweat," said Pike.

Whatever exercise you do, stop if you feel pain or heat exhaustion, and be sure always to drink plenty of water.

Doctors also warn, while the intense heat can help you stretch further, it can also cause you to over stretch, leading to possible joint or muscle damage.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13

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