Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, can trigger asthma attacks in some sufferers, due to the high levels of humidity present in a Bikram yoga studio. (The room is heated to about 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity). However, every case of asthma is different. Some asthma sufferers may benefit from performing Bikram yoga. Here's what you should know about performing Bikram yoga as an asthma sufferer.
Speak to Your Physician
Some asthma sufferers find that performing Bikram yoga helps relieve their asthma symptoms. However, the high levels of humidity used in Bikram yoga can trigger asthma symptoms. Those who experience exercise related asthma attacks may also wish to avoid Bikram yoga. Talk to your doctor before performing Bikram yoga for the relief of asthma symptoms, especially if you think that high humidity or intense physical activity might trigger an asthma attack.
Benefits of Bikram Yoga for Asthma
Some asthma sufferers might experience more asthma attacks due to pollutants in their homes and environments, or as a result of exposure to allergens. The high temperatures and high levels of humidity used in Bikram yoga studios cause excessive sweating, which can help clear toxins from your body and reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
Bikram yoga is also a great way to strengthen your cardiovascular system, increase your lung capacity and learn good breathing habits. The relaxation practices you'll learn in a Bikram yoga class can help you cope with the negative emotions and stress that often trigger asthma attacks.
If you decide to practice Bikram yoga for the relief of asthma symptoms, and you and your physician are sure that the heat, humidity and intense exercise won't trigger and asthma attack, then you'll get the most benefit from the practice by spending extra time on poses that work on your respiratory system. Be sure to tell your Bikram yoga teacher that you're suffering from asthma. Not only will this make the experience safer for you, but it will also help your teacher tailor your practice to your needs. Deep breathing exercises, back bends, twists and relaxing poses like forward bends are recommended for Bikram yoga students who suffer from asthma.
Practicing Bikram Yoga Safely with Asthma
If you have asthma and would like to practice Bikram yoga, consult your doctor first. If you don't suffer from humidity, heat or exercise related asthma attacks, then you should be able to safely practice Bikram yoga.
Protect yourself by taking your inhaler to class. Tell your teacher that you suffer from asthma and warn her of your risk of having an asthma attack. This way, she can help you get medical care immediately if you need it.
Is Bikram Right for You?
Many asthma sufferers can't practice Bikram yoga because the high levels of humidity or the strenuous work involved can trigger asthma attacks. If you're one of the many who can't safely practice Bikram yoga for asthma relief, try hatha yoga, which is similar to Bikram yoga, but is practiced at normal temperatures and humidity levels.