Ask the Expert: Going from Hot Yoga to Cold Weather

Our expert weighs in on whether it's safe to head from an 108-degree class into chilly winter temperatures.
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Our expert weighs in on whether it's safe to head from an 108-degree class into chilly winter temperatures.
girl smilling and laughing in snow winter

Answers to your questions about health, nutrition, anatomy, and more.

Does going from a hot yoga class into cold winter weather set me up for injury?

Yes, if you head straight out the door post-class. Cooling down too quickly constricts blood vessels, rapidly slowing your circulation and tightening muscles. This places you at greater risk for injuries like muscle pulls. Plus, extreme temperature swings can weaken your immune system and put you at risk for colds. But this doesn’t mean you must ditch your hot yoga practice during winter! In fact, it has some cold-season benefits: It raises your heart rate and core temperature, which dilates blood vessels and increases circulation in your muscles—a boon because muscles are typically stiffer in cold weather. Just be sure to wait 5 to 10 minutes after class before heading outside, to allow your core temperature to normalize. And bundle up with a heavy coat, warm hat, and gloves.

—Karena Wu
Physical therapist and owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy, New York City

See also6 Tips to Stay Safe in Hot YogaandNew Study Deems Hot Yoga Safe