I have avoided attending a yoga class for a very long time because of my hyperhidrosis (HH). I worry about sweating all over the yoga mat and leaving puddles on the floor. I also worry about doing positions like downward dog and sliding out of them since my hands are sweaty and have no traction.I can relate. Nevertheless, I fell in love with yoga about 15 years ago, despite my sweaty palms and feet.
Sweaty palm spirituality
It took me about 8 years from the first time I wanted to do yoga (back in the 80s when it wasn't nearly as popular in the U.S.) to the time I started doing it regularly. In my first class, the teacher asked us to work with a partner, taking turns holding each others' feet in a pose. Just thinking about it now makes my feet sweat! At the end of the class, we all sat in a circle meditating and holding hands. Needless to say, the class was less than relaxing. Because the teacher was an exceptionally kind woman (as well as a therapist with her own practice), I called her afterwards to tell her why I wanted to drop out. As is often the case, her reaction to my disclosure was underwhelming. Without skipping a beat, she said, "It's no problem. We don't have to hold hands while we meditate. I appreciate your sharing your perspective."
That was 15 years ago, and I've been doing yoga ever since. As I type this, I think of this wonderful teacher and smile. I hope she knows she made a difference in someone's life.
Quick yoga tips for people with hyperhidrosis
- Bring a towel to class, and use the towel under your hands during downward dog, plank, and other exercises where you place weight on your hands. No fancy equipment is needed. I find that the thin towels usually found at gyms work the best.
- Bring socks in case you do partner exercises
- If the teacher seems like a discreet and understanding person, talk to him or her privately about any discomfort you might be having due to your hyperhidrosis
- Use this opportunity to go deep inside yourself, focusing on your breathing and the alignment of your body. You might find that your sweating is reduced by the end of the class. This is almost always the case for me.
- Be kind and gentle to your body and your spirit.