By Sacha Obaid
Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a unique yoga practice performed in a humid and hot environment, which consists of up to 26 postures that work all major muscle groups through prolonged, persistent and controlled contractions. Hot yoga is designed to imitate the humid and hot conditions of India, where it started.
This form of yoga is physically demanding and requires good health and fitness from its practitioners. Pregnant women and individuals suffering from cardiovascular disease are advised against engaging in hot yoga, although it has many benefits for relatively healthy people. Patients who underwent cosmetic surgery may be concerned about whether they can start or continue hot yoga after plastic surgery.
Main Concerns with Hot Yoga
There are several areas of concern regarding the practice of hot yoga immediately after cosmetic surgery.
- The hot environment in which hot yoga is practiced increases the risk of post-surgical bleeding or bruising, since heat causes the dilation of blood vessels. This is especially true for people who take blood thinners for a cardiovascular condition. Generally, if a person suffers from any heart disorder or high blood pressure, hot yoga is not recommended at all.
- Hot yoga may enhance the swelling that occurs after surgery. Almost any cosmetic surgery is associated with some degree of swelling, and the heat can worsen it. Heat can increase the risk of infections and can alter the normal healing processes.
- Hot yoga increases the risk of dehydration, which is harmful for healing after surgery. Dehydration places unnecessary stress on your body, which is already preoccupied with healing after your surgery.
- Hot yoga may speed up the elimination of medications from your body. Some patients are prescribed antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs after surgery, and the heat may alter their effects by accelerating their removal.
Abstaining from Hot Yoga
How long you should abstain from hot yoga depends on how invasive and demanding the surgical procedure was on your body. For minor procedures, such as localized liposuction, you can usually safely resume hot yoga after four weeks, provided the swelling and bruising are gone and your surgeon is informed and approves it.
For the majority of cosmetic surgeries you should stay away from hot yoga for up to eight weeks to six months, which is recommended by skilled hot yoga instructors themselves. Rushing back into hot yoga practice may expose you to harmful physical stress, which may lead to health deterioration rather than training your body, mind and soul. With major surgeries, such as hip replacement, you may need to abstain from hot yoga for up to six months to ensure proper healing, and return gradually through regular yoga practice and exercises.
Consult with Your Doctor
Hot yoga is a great exercise, but it is physically demanding even for healthy individuals. It increases one’s fitness, endurance, body control and mental well-being, and also stimulates weight loss and accelerates the metabolism by exercising in a hot and humid environment. However, hot yoga is not recommended for up to eight weeks after cosmetic. You should always consult with your plastic surgeon first and discuss the possibility of returning to hot yoga practice after several weeks following your cosmetic surgery.