It’s certainly a grueling experience, and if you’re not used to it, hot yoga can completely wipe you out afterwards
Because you’re bound to feel some after-effects from sweating in a 105-degree room
Hot yoga, or Bikram yoga—a special type of yoga that typically involves 90 minutes of exercise in a 105-degree room with 40 percent humidity—seems to be having a moment: Proponents of hot yoga believe it greatly improves flexibility, strength, and muscle tone.
But it’s certainly a grueling experience, and if you’re not used to it, hot yoga can completely wipe you out afterwards. And the effects of that aren’t so pretty—even for a professional baseball player.
In fact, San Francisco Giants pitcher Mark Melancon says it actually caused his former Astros teammate Hunter Pence to get into a car accident, according to his writing in The Players’ Tribune.
Melancon, who used to practice hot yoga four or five times a week, invited his buddy Pence to try it out.
“After about five or 10 minutes, I take a peek over at Hunter, and he looks like he’s about to die. He’s drenched in sweat and just… struggling,” Melancon wrote.
A fierce competitor, Pence wasn’t about to let yoga best him, so he kept up, trying to max out every single pose. By the end, he looked like a “sack of potatoes” as he stumbled out of the room.
The next day, Pence called Melancon and told him he could barely stand up afterwards, and that it was the craziest workout ever.
“And get this, on my way home I pulled into a parking lot and I was so out of it that I backed my car into the front bumper of another car. Dude, the bumper actually fell off! Like the whole way off. I’ve never done that before,” Melancon recalled Pence saying.
The physical after-effects of hot yoga aren’t really a surprise: In fact, we previously reported on a 2015 study on hot yoga by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that suggests the exercise may be more risky than people think.
In the study, the average core body temperature of hot yoga participants reached just over 103 degrees Fahrenheit—scary, since the risk of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke increases at 104 degrees.
While none of the people in the study showed any signs of heat-related illnesses, that may be because they were already familiar with hot yoga and were acclimated to the heat. It’s possible people new to Bikram yoga may experience more problems.
Still want to give hot yoga a shot? Be sure to hydrate well beforehand. Try drinking 6 to 24 ounces of fluids within 2 hours of the start time, says Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., the chief science officer at ACE.
And if you experience any early warning signs—like light-headedness, dizziness, mild headaches and mild nausea, don’t try to power through the exercises, he says. Get out of the room, cool yourself down, and get some fluids.
Additional reporting by Lisa Freedman