Experts weigh in on the safety and benefits of downward-dogging in a 40-degree room


In the chill of winter, it’s natural to crave a little more warmth in your life. While some reach for a cup of tea and a cozy sweater, others prefer something more extreme: hot yoga.

Downward-dogging in 40-degree heat is touted as a safe, healthy way to exercise and “release toxins,” but some experts beg to differ. 

In a Globe and Mail feature, heat-stress specialist and Canada research chair in environmental ergonomics, Stephen Cheung, weighs in. “As a scientist, I wouldn’t say there’s huge stock in sweating out your toxins,” he said. “The body only releases them through sweat to a very limited extent,” he added.

While some experts have concerns about how hot yoga is marketed, others advise against it altogether.

“In my opinion, training in high heat and humidity could make certain health conditions worse,” says Kumar Bandyo, a kinesiologist and personal trainer in Port Coquitlam, B.C. “I would never in good conscience recommend hot yoga for anyone,” he tells Wellness Matters. 

To escape the bite of winter and get your blood pumping, Kumar suggests opting for a warm or non-heated yoga class instead. Always consult your doctor before engaging in any new form of exercise.