ask a yogi: hot yoga + camel pose
posted: April 26, 2010
How much hot yoga is too much?
I’ve been into hot/Bikrams yoga for a few years now. I use to go 3 to 4 times a week. I was absolutely addicted! I’ve since scaled back to 2 or 3 times a month. I’m hoping to ramp that back up to weekly and eventually a few times a week; like when I first started. I was wondering if it’s ever ‘unhealthy’ or too much to go to hot yoga a couple times a week? Is it bad for your body to be in the class environment, sweat as much as you do, etc. that often? – Andrea S
a yogi answers
I don’t believe practicing hot yoga 3 to 4 times a week is necessarily bad for you unless you have a medical condition such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, an eating disorder, sleep deprivation, heart-related illness or are pregnant. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water to replenish the fluids that you’ve lost during practice, and, like all experienced yogis, just listen to your body.
If you feel like you need to lie down and rest, do that. Don’t worry if the rest of the class is in Dancer’s pose, and you decide to go into Child’s pose. I suggest you consider diversifying your practice by taking other types of yoga classes such as power, vinyasa, Anusara or Iyengar classes so that you do not get burned out on one particular type of yoga. Hot yoga is a wonderful detoxifying practice but it does not build your upper body strength like some of the other styles, and I have heard some yogis say that since the asana sequencing does not change much from class to class, it is nice to mix it up with other yoga styles. All yoga is good, so mix it up. Good luck and I hope to see you in one of my hot classes!
Does Camel pose make you feel sick?
I was wondering why Camel pose makes me feel nauseous. Especially at Bikrams, but really in any yoga format. I have been told that it could be because it is a very vulnerable position when your heart is exposed. Is this true?? – Lindsey
a yogi answers
I am not sure if the position of the heart has anything to do with the nausea experienced in Ushtrasana (Camel pose) but believe it may be due to not breathing fully, misalignment in the posture or a release of emotional issues, which can happen in many different yoga postures, even Balaasana (Child’s pose). Camel pose helps us open up the thoracic spine where most of us tend to be relatively tight as compared to our cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back).
To avoid nausea, make sure you maintain a deep and effortless breathing pattern and that you are not dropping your head too far back and compressing the cervical spine; keep the shoulder blades hugging together as you support your lower back with your hands; keep lifting the sternum up to avoid compression in your lumbar spine; and come out of the pose slowly while maintaining a steady flow of breath. As your body works itself into postures, emotions tend to come up. If a situation is bothering you off the mat, it can affect your body and practice. So keep breathing deeply and never force your poses.
I hope I provided some helpful pointers to help you in this posture.