So it turns out the fact that I was concerned about the heat in a Bikram Yoga was a fair concern. And the fact that I couldn’t find much information on it was because there really isn’t much information out there. Cathy, who teaches our Tolland classes and is also about to finish her graduate degree at UConn studying kinesiology brought the topic up with her professors and they agreed whether or not the heat is harmful os a good question. But it turns out, though having concern may have been valid, I probably didn’t need to worry too much since I’m reasonably healthy. Based on the response from Cathy’s professors is that it probably won’t hurt you, but you should be cautious both for the heat and the potential of overstretching. Here are two of Cathy’s professors’ educated thoughts on the matter: “I know of no concerns related to muscle injury while working in a hot environment. The body thermoregulates well under hot conditions as evidenced with training (cycling, running, military duties etc) in the heat. At some point however heat and dehydration result in thermoregulatory failure with heat stroke that is still too often fatal. We also know that those who are older, obese and have some chronic diseases are at greater risk of life threatening complications in the heat. Evidence of this appears almost every year when elderly die in urban heat waves. For the healthy, Bikram Yoga is likely safe but unlikely of any particular advantage. I have not tried it and assume that the devotees find a unique benefit.” “My own thoughts on the matter are that your core temperature is the temperature you want to regulate…since that affects all your internal organs and homeostasis…as far as the room being so hot to “stretch”, that feeling occurs when blood flow increases to the muscle so a hotter room would certainly help, although I’m not sure if it needs to be SO hot…I’ve never tried Bikram, however, I have tried Vinyasa yoga and the heat is set at a comfortable setting where you get that ease to really focus on elongating the muscle. However, I’m not sure how many times a week I would do this…I don’t want my muscles to get overly stretched or it affects tendon strength and muscle stretch-strengthening cycle. For a once a week workout though- the added sweat feels great!!”