What’s the ideal temp for practicing Ashtanga?

Richard Freeman answers that question, in his latest “Ask the Experts” post. An excerpt:

In general one could say that having the studio warm, but not overly hot is ideal. Whatever the temperature, it is advised that the room should be well ventilated yet not drafty. The exact temperature is somewhat a matter of personal preference.

In Boulder—which is a very arid climate—we keep our studio at around 80 to 82 degrees F. in the winter and also have a humidifier running. In the spring, summer and fall we rely more on the outside air temperature to determine the indoor studio temperature and it seems that with a full class the studio temperature is usually between 75 and 80 degrees F. We are comfortable with that.

That’s the nuts and bolts. Richard goes on talk about how it is the practice, not the room temperature, that should make you sweat. (And, in my mind at least, he takes a least a little jab at hot yoga; I realize he’s far too evolved to do that, but my devolved mind reads it as such.) And he warns how injuries can occur; so check it out for that reminder.

I’m forced to recall the first Ashtanga practice on our summer Yatra. It was outdoors, essentially on the roof of our hotel in Calcutta. Even at 6 a.m. or so, it was warm and humid. And it felt great. Both Bobbie and I intended to finish up a pretty routine practice, and we both went above and beyond. I don’t remember exactly what she did, but I practiced First — I think that was my original plan — and then all the Second Series poses I do in the privacy of my own home.

That’s my “Bustin’ It Out” practice.

Neither of us got hurt, but we were a teeny bit drained. For my money, whatever combo temp and humidity that was — I’ll guess 82 degrees and about 85% humidity — felt just about ideal.

It’s not too easy to replicate in LA.

Any of you have an ideal tempt/humidity? Or do you want to share hot yoga horror stories?

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

5 thoughts on “What’s the ideal temp for practicing Ashtanga?”

  1. I can’t really knock hot yoga because I teach it once a week, but I have to say that I personally prefer 79-82 F for my Ashtanga practice. I like enough sweat that I can easily slip my hands through my legs for Garbha but not so much that I’m splashing through a puddle every time I vinyasa!

  2. I was recently practicing in a room which was very hot — albeit naturally (I live in a tropical, humid country) and it resulted in a painful muscle spasm in my neck! Although it could have been ‘cos of too much coffee induced prana..

  3. Been doing home practice since March in Minnesota. Definitely notice a difference doing practice when its 55 degrees vs. 75 in my bedroom or sun-porch. I’ve noticed I can no longer have any expectations about flexibility unless I want to get hurt on cold mornings. Very excited to return to the warmth of a studio and fellow practitioners!

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