Perhaps you just finished a killer workout in your hot yoga class and are feeling an all-time high. You feel on top of the world – you’re prioritizing your health and wellness, and you totally rocked that class. However, just after you finish the class and give yourself a pat on the back, you notice a headache creeping in.
Just kidding on the “on-top-of-the-world” moment. The pounding headache is dampening the mood. So, now what? Why did you get a headache out of the blue immediately following your hot yoga session? Unfortunately, this is something a lot of newbies experience.
On the bright side, a few adjustments should prevent this altogether. How so? We’re here to explain, so stick around to learn more!
Why Do I Get A Headache After Hot Yoga?
Headaches following hot yoga isn’t an uncommon occurrence, especially for beginners. If you’re new to this approach to heated workouts, you might notice recurring headaches that seem to arise out of nowhere immediately after your yoga session. Usually, they’re not short-lived headaches and instead hang around for quite a while.
This isn’t particularly ideal, especially if you enjoy hot yoga and want to incorporate it into your regular exercise regime. The first step in correcting the issue is identifying the problem. Here are a couple of the most common culprits of hot yoga headaches:
A lack of hydration is a common cause of headaches across the board. Many people forget to hydrate properly, reaching for alternative beverages instead of water. If you enjoy taking hot yoga classes, you need to be incredibly diligent with hydrating.
Sweating increases your risk of dehydration, which can cause a headache, among other things (dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, irritability, etc.).
While you might not connect the two, hunger can lead to headaches, especially when you exercise without adequate food. During hot yoga (and any other exercise), you need glucose for energy. If you don’t eat, your blood glucose levels may dip too low, leading to a headache, sweating, nausea, feelings of faintness, and difficulty concentrating.
Proper form is essential for any exercise, as you risk injury otherwise. The same applies to yoga – sometimes, you can even give yourself a headache without the correct form. If you don’t do certain moves correctly, you can strain the muscles near your neck and head, causing headaches and overall discomfort and pain in the area.
You might accidentally hold your breath without thinking during yoga, especially during tricky poses. You might focus so much on the posture or movement that you forget to breathe steadily and deeply.
Holding your breath or breathing shallowly can make it hard for oxygen to reach the areas it needs to, like your muscles and brain. This can result in muscle tension and a headache.
Some poses in yoga require you to be in an inverted position, where your heart is placed higher than your head. It is a somewhat upside-down position, which can trigger headaches, especially in people prone to them.
If you’re prone to headaches, try to spend a limited amount of time in these positions or avoid them altogether.
For the most part, yoga is considered a low-impact workout. However, advanced sequences can lead to overexertion, especially in a hot classroom. Or, if you’re new to yoga, you might not understand your boundaries and capabilities in regard to yoga, resulting in the same thing.
In some cases, overexertion can trigger a headache.
People who are sensitive to bright lights may experience headaches, particularly when practicing yoga in a bright studio or in direct sunlight.
Can Hot Yoga Trigger A Migraine?
Yes, some folks find that hot yoga can trigger migraines. Hot yoga doesn’t trigger these occurrences in all people prone to migraines, but it certainly can. As a rule of thumb, it’s usually best to steer clear of hot yoga altogether if you notice repeating migraines following the class.
Instead, opt for a regular yoga session in a cooler environment. You can still get in a good sweat, but you won’t be exposed to the high temperatures standard in a hot yoga studio.
How Do You Not Get A Headache From Hot Yoga?
There are a few things to do to avoid headaches after your hot yoga session. It might be a trial and error process until you isolate the cause, but it’s not a complicated process. Here are a few tips and tricks to avoid the headache altogether:
- Stay hydrated before, during, and after class. Don’t drink too much water at once, or you might cause discomfort, especially during class. For an extra hydration boost, add a hydration mix to your water. This can help replenish what you lose (minerals, electrolytes, etc.) when you sweat.
- Eat a small snack before class. Avoid large meals right before class; instead, try to consume a small snack, like nuts, a protein bar, or a piece of fruit.
- Correct your technique. Ask your yoga instructor for guidance if you’re unsure of the proper form and technique.
- Avoid inversion poses, like a downward dog, a headstand, a forward fold, a bridge pose, or a dolphin pose, especially if you’re prone to headaches.
- Remember to breathe deeply. Don’t forget to breathe (even though it sounds crazy, it happens).
- Move slowly and steadily to avoid overexertion. Listen to your body and stop or slow down as necessary.
- Practice in a room without bright lighting. If you prefer to practice outside, try to do yoga in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t strong (or find a shady spot).