Can You Do Yoga Under the AC?

Despite being around for over 5,000 years, it seems like yoga is still getting more popular every day. Like any form of exercise, the temperature of the room is going to have an effect on your experience of the workout. But can you use an AC to cool down during yoga?

You can do yoga with the AC on. It is recommended that you do yoga at a temperature that is comfortable for you. If it is uncomfortably hot, then AC is probably a good idea. However, the room should also not be too cold, since this comes with its own problems.

While this question has a pretty simple answer, there is still a lot to talk about when it comes to why people think that AC and yoga do not mix. In this article, we’ll dive into the science of exercise to find out once and for all what the relationship between yoga and AC really is.

Air Conditioning and Exercise

The debate about whether it is better to exercise with or without AC has been raging for years. At this point, the consensus seems to be that AC is perfectly fine.

Why Yoga Under the AC Is a Good Idea

Here are some of the arguments that have been put forward as to why it is a good idea to work out with AC:

  • If it is too hot, you can get breathless more easily and end up exerting yourself less than you would with AC on. In other words, you can work out harder for longer if the room you are working out in is at the right temperature.
  • Working out in a very hot room can also be dangerous! Exercising heats up your body, so working out in a hot room can raise your risk of overheating and heat stroke.
  • Being hot means you sweat more, and that means you are likely to drink more water. While it is good to stay hydrated, too much water can lead to cramps! Plus, sweating more does not mean you are doing a more effective workout.

Why Yoga Under the AC Is a Bad Idea

For the sake of balance, here are some of the reasons why some people think that having the AC on during exercise is a bad call:

  • In a cold room, your body cools down faster when you take a short break. That means you have to warm back up. Some people think that translates to more effort and fewer fitness gains.
  • Some people argue that more sweat means that you get rid of more toxins from your body. As we will see later, however, this is not exactly accurate!
  • Some people argue that you will not warm up in a cool room properly, which means you are more prone to muscle aches and tears. However, this only applies if the room is too cold, not if it is at room temperature.

What Is the Right Temperature to Workout In?

Whether or not it is okay exercising with the AC on largely depends on the room’s hotness and what temperature the AC is set to. If it is very hot, then bringing the room to more normal room temperature is probably a good idea. However, it is not good to make a warm room cold since this can cause the problems described above, like muscle aches and slow warm-ups.

In essence, it boils down to this: the room should be at a comfortable temperature. If you are feeling sweaty and breathless, it is probably too hot to exercise.

If your sweat is cooling down the moment you stop working out and making you shiver, then it is probably too cool, and you run the risk of getting a cold. The right temperature is around standard room temperature, which is between 68°F and 77℉ (20°C and 25℃).

Does Having the AC on Affect Yoga Performance?

Now that we have talked about the relationship between exercise and temperature. Generally, it is time to get into the main topic of this piece: does having the AC on affect yoga performance? Again, the answer will depend on the room’s initial temperature and on the thermostat settings on the AC.

Here are a few considerations about yoga:

  • Yoga is all about stretching, relaxing, and finding inner peace. All those things are easier to do at room temperature than in a cold space. In particular, stretching can be tough if it is too cold, and that could cause you to pull a muscle.
  • Another big part of yoga is breathing. Practicing outdoors where the air is freshest is probably the best for yoga. However, if that can’t be done, and it is hotter than you would like, an AC can refresh and filter the air, stopping it from going stale. Another, perhaps better, way to achieve this is by opening the windows.
  • If the air in your studio is dry and cold, your nose and throat may feel sore and scratchy after practice. If you find that this is happening, that means your AC is turned up too high. Lower it to a more comfortable level.

Hot Yoga: Is It Worth the Pain?

If you did not hear about the craze of hot yoga which swept the world, you probably at least heard about the downfall of its highly problematic founder, Bikram Choudhury.

Choudhury started Bikram Yoga Studios in the 1970s, which quickly evolved into a $100 million business, with 650 studios in the US alone. It was later revealed, however, that Bikram had been sexually assaulting women involved in the studios.

Hot yoga is practiced at 105℉ (40℃) and 40% humidity, well above standard room temperature and humidity. In fact, it is closer to the conditions in a sauna than it is to the conditions in a natural environment. Hot yoga, however, still has many supporters. Many people who fell in love with hot yoga now want to distance the practice from the man who founded it.

There are some things you should know about hot yoga.

One argument made by Bikram and others is what we were talking about earlier: that heat increases sweating, and this allows you to get rid of more toxins than you would otherwise. This is not exactly correct. The detoxing in your body actually happens in the kidneys and liver. When you sweat, you are mainly getting rid of water and electrolytes. The only way hot yoga helps with detoxing is by dehydrating you, so you drink more water.

When it is hot, you do not need as much time and effort to warm up your body. You are also more flexible, which means you can do more ambitious poses. However, this can cause problems if you overextend yourself. That means you are more likely to pull or strain a muscle. Hot yoga also increases your chance of heat stroke and dehydration.

All in all, it is basically safe for most people, but if you feel like it is too much, then stop.

Summary

If the room is too hot, then it is perfectly fine to cool it down to a more comfortable temperature for your yoga session. If you make it too cold, your muscles will have trouble heating up, and you won’t be as flexible. If it is too hot, however, you could be putting yourself in danger!

Basically, you should do yoga in a space that makes you feel safe and comfortable. Namasté!

Sources

Sita

Mother of three and Yogi of 20+ years and 200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. I am also a Certified Thai massage therapist and I have taught Gymnastics for more than 10 years. In the last couple of years, I've been a big promotor of intermittent fasting.

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