Hot yoga is new to me. When I was training for my second half-marthon with Team Challenge, my coach suggested that try out some classes because I was having some pretty bad issues with sore muscles and pain that was preventing me from running. So off I went to my first hot yoga classes. I can’t even express how intense they were. I thought I had an idea of what it would be like, but no, it was much more extreme than that.
But let me just start with yoga in general. I think it is a great option for ostomates and those with IBD. I actually don’t know why I haven’t done more yoga in the past. It has a lot of benefits like breathing techniques which can help with stress (which has always been a flare trigger for me); it’s a great stretching workout while being low impact; and especially for those with ostomies, it has a lot of focus on core strength, but in ways that are easier on the stomach than crunches. Plus, you work on balance and flexibility which just leads to healthier living. I don’t think there is anything in yoga that would be an issue for someone with an ostomy. The only things I can think of would be some of the stretches where you arch backwards, because this could potentially pull your bag off, but as long as you’re careful about that, I find it’s a great option. It’s also smart to be cautious when doing a long series of core exercises. I don’t usually do anything differently, but I just pay extra attention to my bag during that time.
Now hot yoga is a little different. The classes I have taken were your basic easy, stretching class. and some with a bit more advanced flow, vinyasa class (for the non-yoga people out there, this basically means you’re moving through a series of movements consistently, a bit more like choreography). I can honestly say that I’ve never sweat so much in my entire life. Every time I go I leave completely drenched. And I am not a big sweater, by any means. So I was expecting some more sweat than I was used to, but I was not expecting to feel like someone poured a bucket of water over my head.
And this is what makes doing hot yoga with an ostomy a bit more complicated. I found out the first time that I had sweat so much that my bag was loosened around the edges and I actually got a leak in the middle of the night because of it. (It may have just been coincidence, but I doubt it.) So for my second class, I tried something different. I have an ostomy belt (that I was graciously given by Pouchwear) and I thought that it might help with absorbing some of the sweat and keeping the bag dry. It actually worked really well! It kept the edges of my bag dry and they didn’t pull away at all. Yes, it’s a little uncomfortable to have an extra layer on, but in my opinion, totally worth it.
I do have to make sure I stay well hydrated while I’m doing this. I often down about a liter of water each hour-long class. Yoga classes are definitely helpful, especially for someone who tends to stay fairly tense, as I often do. It really does help you stretch out muscles in ways that you are unable to do just on your own. (UPDATE: Doing hot yoga made a huge difference in running the race I mentioned at the beginning. I was having a lot of pain and issues prior to the race, but I was able to run it without any issues and I think doing these stretches played a big role in that.)
I definitely recommend giving hot yoga a try. I understand that it may not be for everyone and that it could cause issues with the bag coming loose, so I do recommend some sort of wrap that not only covers the bag from the top, but that covers the flange area, too, (so it’s basically covering both sides of the bag) because I do think it can possibly cause issues otherwise.
Have any of you had any good or bad experience with yoga and/or hot yoga and an ostomy? Any suggestions for other ostomates?