How to Do Hot Yoga With Type 1

Yoga, like any vigorous exercise, takes some forethought to do right with Type 1 diabetes, but I’ve found it has become an important part of my routine for staying healthy and keeping my blood sugar levels in check.

Bikram Yoga, or Hot Yoga, takes place in dry 105-degree heat for an hour and a half. It forces you to focus and clear your mind while an instructor guides you through 26 various positions.

If you’re nervous about trying Bikram Yoga with Type 1, here are some tips:

Diabetes Supplies To Bring:

  • Meter or CGM
  • Frozen bottle of water
  • Easily chewable glucose to treat lows

Tips for a Successful Class:

  • Hydrate. Drinking tons of water the day before is very important and will prepare your body for all the sweat you’re going to lose. Remember that people with diabetes have an increased risk of dehydration. On top of drinking the day before, bring a bottle of frozen water. You can take sips throughout class.
  • Put on your CGM. If you have one, use it. Place it at the top of your mat so you can see if your blood sugar begins to trend up or down with the exertion.
  • Avoid Eating Big Meals 2 Hours Before Class. This prevents nausea. It’s usually good to eat a small snack an hour before class, like yogurt, fruit, or a slice of bread with butter, with a bolus to cover. It keeps blood sugar steady and provides energy.
  • Wear Good Gear. I overheat easily, so shorts, a tank top and sports bra work for me. But in general, wearing tight clothes that are comfortable is key.
  • Arrive Early. It’s nice to get settled in the hot room 10 to 15 minutes before the start of class so you can get used to the temperature and make sure there won’t be any problems.
  • Check Your Blood Sugar an Hour Before Class and Before Entering the Heated Room. Since eating something during the session doesn’t usually feel good on my stomach, I try to go in with a reading of 120 to 200 mg/dL to avoid going low in the middle of class.

One question to determine on your own is whether to bring a pump into the room. That depends on your insulin needs and whether or not you bolused before class. I suggest that you try class with and without a pump to see what works for you. I prefer to bring my pump in only if I am nearing the end of its insulin supply, as the heat of the classroom may denature the insulin.

Get ready for a good sweat!

Not every exercise is right for every individual. You might want to discuss the exercise with a diabetes health professional or your medical provider.

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Hannah Lambert is a 22 year old student finishing her last year of nursing school at Quinnipiac University. She grew up on the east coast of Florida and plans on returning there after graduation. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on May 18th, 2005. Every year she attends the Friends for Life Children with Diabetes convention in Orlando to stay updated on all the new diabetes research and technology. She loves adventure, photography, volleyball, making videos and helping others! Follow her on social media at @hanluvolleyball

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