Yoga gives practitioners a healthy glow and leaves them feeling calm and collected. But when a class leaves you feeling nauseous and dizzy instead, you may wonder if yoga can release toxins that make you feel sick. There are many benefits of doing yoga, and the release of toxins is one. But can that leave you feeling ill? Read on as we uncover how it all fits together.
During yoga, toxins can be released through activated circulation. Organs are twisted and released, muscles are stretched, and your lymphatic system is activated. Depending on what you have eaten and had to drink, your digestion may also be affected during class. All of this can make you feel sick.
Toxins are an unavoidable part of our everyday life. They seem to build up and take residence in our bodies no matter how ardently we try to avoid them. If you live a healthy lifestyle, yoga is likely a part of it. Many yogis experience post-class feelings of sickness and wonder about it. Let us look into the causes and possible cures and discover if yoga can release toxins that make you feel sick.
Can Yoga Release Toxins That Make You Feel Sick?
Yoga is considered a gentle practice that is well-balanced and designed to promote holistic wellness in practitioners. Classes mainly consisting of sequences of poses and ending in meditation promote balance, flexibility, strength, and mindfulness. The benefits of yoga can be felt on and off the mat, and most practitioners enjoy the benefits of boosted mental and physical health.
Still, for all its benefits, there is much speculation about how yoga can help our bodies release toxins. A few methods are often used in yoga classes and circles worth mentioning. Let us go through them in a bit of detail.
1. The Squeeze And Soak Method
Famed yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar is well-known for his “squeeze and soak” theory. His theory claimed that when you perform twists, the spine squeezes the abdominal organs, including the liver, kidneys, and intestines.
When you release the twist, blood flow returns to the affected areas, returning nutrients and improving circulation. Since these organs are the major centers for detoxification, twists and bends are considered beneficial.
What yoga does for us is assist our natural detoxing organs in doing their work. As they process the toxins in your body, you may feel sick. You may also feel sick after a twist or bend as the blood rushes back to the area.
When performing twists, your instructor should ensure that twists are always done on both sides. Bends should be followed by a movement or pose that reaches up. This balance of activity should help your body adjust and help ease any feelings of discomfort or sickness.
2. Hot Yoga
Hot yoga is popular for experienced yogis looking for a challenge and possibly a detox. One of the advertised benefits of a hot yoga session is detox; although the benefits are not immense, there are some benefits worth looking into.
During hot yoga, you perform a typical yoga class, but the room is heated, so you sweat… a lot. The detoxing benefits you get from this type of class are mostly from circulation. You are hot, so your heart and lungs work harder.
You sweat water and salt from your eccrine sweat glands, which are all over your body. (These are different from the glands in your armpits and groin that produce sweat when stressed.) When you sweat during a hot yoga session, you likely give your pores an excellent cleaning, work your circulation and work on regulating your body temperature.
For anyone exposed to heavy metals, sweating can be a helpful way to detox and allow the kidneys and liver to do their jobs.
To avoid feeling sick after a hot yoga class, replace your fluids, magnesium, sodium, calcium, and potassium afterward.
Hot yoga is not for everyone. Temperatures reach around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Add to that your own body temperature as you exercise and the body heat from the others in the class, and you have an oven-like situation.
If you are participating in a hot yoga class and not feeling well, it is more than acceptable to step outside for a few minutes. Cool down, drink water and see if you are well enough to rejoin the class.
3. The Lymphatic System
Yoga is a fantastic way to mobilize and release toxins from the lymphatic system. This system takes excess metabolic materials, fluids, and toxins and cleans them out of the body. It does not have a pump system like the other detox organs and relies on exercise and movement.
Yoga is a perfect partner for the lymphatic system. With its harmonious balance of asanas, mindfulness, and breathwork, your body moves in ways that get the toxins moving and being released.
Unfortunately, the process can leave you feeling a little unwell if you are not used to it, but the more you practice, the better your health will become. If you feel unwell during class, take a few minutes to rest in the child’s pose before continuing with the class.
There are many poses you can do to promote lymphatic health. Try some of these to activate yours and begin your healing journey:
- Supported child’s pose (balasana)
- Supported downward-facing dog post (adhomikhasvasanasana)
- Supported plow pose (halasana)
- Supported bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)
- Adept’s pose (siddhasana)
Why Do I Feel Sick During Or After Yoga Class?
For many yoga students, the joy of attending class is often marred by the concerning issue of feeling sick during or afterward. While the cause can be because of the release of toxins from the body, there are a few other causes worth looking into as possible culprits.
1. Your Body Is Releasing Toxins As You Exercise
The twists and bends you are performing allow circulation to flow to your abdominal organs. These organs typically aid in removing toxins from your body, so you could feel sick because of the release of toxins from your body.
2. Your Psyche Is Working Through Emotions
It is common for yoga students to feel overwhelmed by emotion on the mat. The yoga studio is designed to be a safe space for self-reflection. For that reason, you may find that old wounds come to the surface and make you emotionally and even physically sick during class.
It is best to work through the emotions and go with the flow. Do not try to bottle it up again, as it is healthy to express yourself.
3. Your Circulation Is Improving
This point is similar to our first point above. As you perform asanas, your circulation should improve. If your organs are receiving improved blood flow to areas that are used to being stagnant, you could feel sick because of it.
4. Your Diet
What you eat and drink, when, and how much, can affect how you feel during your yoga class. This contributes significantly to the sick feeling many yoga students get during and after class.
Although it is advisable to eat something before you exercise, keep it small, light, and easy to digest to ensure you feel good all the way through class. Be sure to stay hydrated before, during, and after class, but do not overdo it. Too much water in your stomach will make bends and specific other asanas uncomfortable.
During yoga, your blood will be redirected to the limbs and parts of your body working the hardest during a particular pose. Therefore, your digestive organs will not receive the resources they need to work efficiently and will leave you feeling unwell if there is heavy food in your stomach.
Dieticians recommend eating your last full meal at least 2.5 to 3 hours before a yoga class. If you need to snack before class, they recommend eating something easy to digest, high in energy and fiber, and with a little protein. Try not to eat an hour before your yoga class.
Ideas of snacks to try up to an hour before yoga class:
- Peanut butter and fruit
- Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
- Avocado on toast
- Hummus with carrots or crackers
Avoid anything spicy, heavy, acidic, or difficult to digest.
Ideas of snacks to try after yoga class to replenish nutrition and energy:
- Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts
- Tofu or legumes
- Fruit and berry smoothie
- Quinoa bowl with vegetables
Read my guide 6 Ways To Make Your Yoga Routine Actually Stick
Toxins can be released during yoga, but in essence, yoga helps your body perform its natural detoxing functions. The added circulation benefits of yoga can make you feel sick if you are not accustomed to it. You can also feel sick from doing hot yoga or eating incorrectly for any yoga class.