January 2024

Hot Yoga: New Evidence Backing Popular Opinions

It’s a New Year – a time to embrace healthy habits and possibly a new wellness or exercise regimen. Many of us have at least one hot yoga lover in our life – it’s been a buzzworthy topic for years. Its followers are often passionate about its benefits, while non-believers tend to have strong opinions about the heat. New evidence is now giving some weight to both camps. Here’s the latest.

A recent clinical study in adults with moderate-to-severe depression treated with or without antidepressants shows that practicing hot hatha yoga for 90 minutes about once weekly for 8 weeks improves depression when compared with control. About 59% of those participating in yoga saw depression scores drop at least 50% compared with only 6% in the control group. But the heated room, which was set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit in this study, might not be tolerable for everyone. There was a high dropout rate in the yoga group, which limits the validity of these findings.

There are many different styles of yoga, and varying intensities of hot yoga. For example, some practices involve rooms heated to 105 degrees while others only reach 95 degrees. If patients are interested in trying yoga or hot yoga, encourage them to start with beginner classes, which are often shorter and more moderate in temperature. Jumping into an intermediate hot yoga class may scare patients off or lead to injury, reducing the chances of them returning and therefore eliminating any potential benefits from a regular practice.

Check out our recently updated yoga monograph to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.