How to Recover After a Hot Yoga Flow

Woman stretching after yoga

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Yoga is a nuanced practice, with variations in style that allow individuals to choose what's most applicable to their lives. Sometimes these variations are seen through differences in technique and posing. In other instances, it's the environment in which you participate in your practice (like a warmer room) where you see a difference.

Hot yoga is a popular choice for many individuals. Taking to a temperature-controlled room often means more sweat than your traditional yoga flow, which can be appealing for individuals looking for a more intense practice.

Hot yoga elevates certain characteristics of a traditional yoga flow—a warmer temperature raises your heart rate, making it feel like you're doing a cardio workout. This, paired with an inevitable increase of sweat, provides a clear reason why having a recovery plan is crucial.

Make sure you prepare beforehand by wearing the right clothes, hydrating, and mentally preparing for the practice.

Hot Yoga Recovery Tips

Stay Hydrated

Although there is not extensive research done on sweat loss during a hot yoga session, one study of a 90 minute Bikram hot yoga class found that the participants lost an estimated average of 1.54 liters of sweat.

Little research has been done on the effects that this sweat loss, and thereby electrolyte loss, has on the body, but we know that your post-workout water intake needs to be able to replenish your body’s loss. Instead of chugging this all at once Bee Creel, a certified yoga and meditation teacher, recommends pacing your water intake throughout the day.

Since you are sweating out electrolytes, also consider drinking water with added electrolytes or additional beverages with electrolytes. Be sure to consider the sugar content that may be added to such drinks, which can further dehydrate you and negatively impact your health goals.

Eat Nutritious Foods

It is not recommended to do hot yoga on either a full or an empty stomach. A light snack before and after can help your body handle the heat and its impact.

After your hot yoga session, reach for foods high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium—electrolytes that will help rehydrate you.

You’ll find magnesium in many nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts), spinach, avocado, and milk. Bananas are known for their potassium content, and the electrolyte is also in other fruits including cantaloupe and oranges, as well as yogurt, beans, broccoli, and salmon. Calcium is found in dairy products and leafy green vegetables.

A smoothie combining a handful of these ingredients is an excellent choice for post-yoga recovery. A handful of nuts or a piece of fruit on its own is also an easy option.

Creel has her favorite go-to snacks and meals to help support her body’s recovery after hot yoga. “If I practice in the morning, I love to fuel with overnight oats or avocado toast and if I practice in the afternoon, I love creating a bowl with rice, sweet potatoes, chicken or eggs, avocado, and broccoli. I also love throwing a bunch of veggies into a bowl of brown rice pasta and vegan pesto.”

To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

Stretching after hot yoga is not required for recovery—the practice itself will provide all of your stretching. However, as Creel says, “Listening to your body is always important and if you are feeling open and craving a stretch session afterwards, I say go for it.”

However, one precaution for practicing hot yoga is to not overstretch. The hot temperature makes your muscles more limber and allows you to stretch more deeply than usual, which is safe for most people but can cause issues for some.

If you feel unexpected or intense pain during a yoga pose, take a break—you can even speak with your yoga instructor about a modification that’s better suited to your body. If the pain is ongoing, consult a medical professional about possible injuries and whether it’s safe to continue practicing hot yoga.

General Safety Tips for Hot Yoga

As mentioned above, hot yoga may push you out of your comfort zone, but it shouldn’t be painful. Listen to your body as you move through the poses. Everyone’s body is different and some moves may not be right for you. Yoga is a practice that can be modified—don’t feel self-conscious if you have to change it up. 

Don’t wait until you get to class to start hydrating, drink water beforehand to prepare your body for the inevitable sweat that is to come. If you start to feel dizzy or nauseous during class, this may be signs of dehydration or overheating. Come out of your pose and rest on your mat until the feeling passes; if it persists, leave the room for a breath of fresh air.

It’s best to try hot yoga when you’re used to routine exercise and are also familiar with regular yoga so that you can tell if your body is reacting in an unexpected way to the poses. Hot yoga may not become as routine a practice for you as regular yoga because of its intensity.

Creel says, “Depending on how you feel, you might find that the practice energizes you and it's something you can handle several days a week. On the flip side, maybe hot yoga only serves you during the cold winter months. Regardless, it should be something that supports your body, rather than exhausts it.”

While it may seem like an unusual activity to do by choice, hot yoga can be both invigorating and peaceful as long as you prepare beforehand and know how to recover afterward. 

5 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Ahmed F, Mohammed A. Magnesium: the forgotten electrolyte—a review on hypomagnesemiaMed Sci (Basel). 2019;7(4):56. doi:10.3390/medsci7040056

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