Dizziness exiting a forward fold


When I do a forward fold in my hot yoga class, I always get dizzy when coming back up but I’ve found that raising my arms overheard helps. I also have low pressure and I sometimes get heart palpitations and feel dizzy and raising my arms also helps me.

I’ve read that the heart works harder to pump blood when we raise our arms, whereas I feel like the blood in my arms rushes down to my heart so it works less hard. Which one is correct? I’m wondering why arms overhead would be helping me?

—natalie, Canada


Dear Natalie,

What you experience is common for people with low blood pressure, and especially in a hot environment, because usually a hot room will lower your blood pressure even more. Raising your arms helps because, although some blood does indeed “fall” back toward your heart, overall your heart has to work harder to pump blood “uphill” to your raised arms. That helps normalize your blood pressure more quickly than if you don’t raise your arms.

The heart palpitations are a concern, however. Are you sure hot yoga is right for you?

Nayaswami Gyandev