Can Hot Yoga Cause Pulled Muscles?

Get the best Yoga Tips at Yoga Divinity

Hot yoga pertained to the United States in the 1970s with the arrival of Bikram Choudhury, a local of India whose master had actually sent him to help spread out yoga to the West. Bikram yoga is a strictly codified – copyrighted, in fact – series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises carried out in a room heated up to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat element has always been questionable, and some critics compete that it makes Bikram professionals more susceptible to injuries such as muscle pulls.

Muscle Pulls

You can sustain a muscle stress or pull by extending a muscle past its capacity, causing it to tear. ‘Once you stretch a muscle past 20 or 25 percent of its resting length, you begin to harm a muscle,” Dr. Robert Gotlin told ‘The New York Times’ in a 2004 article on the controversy surrounding hot yoga. Bikram concept holds that warm muscles are simpler to extend safely. Critics, nevertheless, respond to that the severe nature of hot yoga practice draws competitive, Kind A participants who could neglect or fall short to recognize pain raising their threat of injury.


The Bikram series needs yogis to perform each of its 26 postures twice. Teachers direct the students to observe their bodies’ condition and restrictions throughout the sneak preview of a present, then to grow the posture in the second set. Although a certain quantity of ‘good’ pain feeling is expected with stretching, Bikram instructors commonly caution students to remain cautious and not push with to the sharp or stabbing pain that shows prospective or real injury. Students can further secure themselves by minimizing the depth of any position to a position in which they can hold it conveniently, with appropriate kind, for the advised duration.


Potentially problematic positions in the Bikram hot yoga series include toestand and fixed company pose, which need yogis to turn their hips and knees outward and inward, respectively – motions that put the knee joints under stress. Postures that stress the shoulder joints, such as standing bow-pulling position and bow pose, can intensify rotator cuff injuries if performed incorrectly. Bikram theory keeps that ‘all backbending heals the spine,’ but students with a history of back issues must however approach backbending and forward-bending postures delicately.

Prevention and Treatment

If you’re concerned about muscle pulls, are working through an injury or have any other issues about your physical condition, tell your Bikram teacher before course. Bikram educators study anatomy as part of their required nine-week accreditation training, and will happily provide posture adjustments and various other guidance to help you practice securely. If you do suffer a muscle pull in a hot yoga class, snack it with ice bag, elevate and rest the muscle if possible and return to moderate exercise as the discomfort subsides. See your physician if discomfort is extreme or accompanied by other signs.


Bikram Choudhury copyrighted his 26-posture series in 2002, successfully avoiding yoga studio operators from making use of the Bikram name or the official series without being accredited and certified by Bikram headquarters. Some drivers get around this requirement by offering ‘hot yoga’ courses that contain some but not all of the official Bikram postures and which might or may not be performed with the same degree of heat.