So, you saw a listing for a hot yoga class and decided it would be a good idea. After all, you’ve done yoga before and generally pick up on challenging workouts without missing a beat.
But there were a few things you weren’t expecting when you stepped into your first class. You find yourself pondering just how to prepare for hot yoga – and wishing that you had done your research before signing up.
Don’t get us wrong, Hot yoga is a fantastic workout and many prefer it to a regular yoga class. But there are a few things you should know before going into a hot yoga class so you can prepare yourself ahead of time – and we’ve managed to come up with eight. Read on for our guide on how to prepare for hot yoga and eight things to remember the first time.
What is Hot Yoga?
First, we need to address the burning question – what is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is a type of exercise that’s done in hot and humid conditions. The temperature is usually set to 40.5°C with a humidity of 40% – interestingly, this is meant to replicate the climate of India.
There are several different types of hot yoga with one of the most popular being Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is usually 90 minutes long and a fixed sequence of 26 poses.
What Are the Benefits of Hot Yoga?
So, why do we even do hot yoga? It might seem like just a trend that has no real benefits besides making you sweat out of every orifice of your body but hot yoga has a ton of benefits, including:
- Relaxes the body
- Improves breathing
- Focuses the mind
- Elevates the heart rate
- Ability to get more deeply in postures
- Increases safety of postures
8 Things to Remember the First Time You Take Hot Yoga
Looking for tips on how to approach your first hot yoga session? We’re going to cover eight things to remember the first time you take a hot yoga class for both before and after your session.
1. Invest in A Quality Yoga Mat
Unless your hot yoga studio provides complimentary yoga mats, consider investing in your own. Even if your yoga studio provides them, you’re probably going to want to invest in your own for sanitary reasons. A high-quality mat with good grip is your best bet as you don’t want to be slipping and sliding from sweat.
2. Make Sure You’re Hydrated
Keep in mind that you’re potentially going to be losing buckets of perspiration. After all, you’re doing an intense physical activity at a temperature that’s meant to mimic the climate of India. This is especially true if you’re taking Bikram yoga. Making sure you’re hydrated before class is absolutely key to making sure that you’re safe.
Being dehydrated in this kind of environment can lead to a lack of energy, dizziness, nausea, cramping muscles, and – worst case scenario – passing out.
In terms of food, having an empty stomach before going into your hot yoga session is ideal but having a light snack before your workout is fine too, especially if you feel like you’re lacking energy. Try having a piece of fruit, a protein bar, or some bananas and peanut butter before heading to class.
3. Bring a Bottle of Water
As mentioned in our first tip, it’s important to make sure you’re properly hydrated before going into your hot yoga session – this is key. That said, it is just as important to make sure that you stay hydrated during your class.
It is certainly not ideal to wait until the end of your hot yoga class to take your first sip of water – after all, Bikram yoga classes are usually 90 minutes long. You don’t need to chug an entire water bottle every half hour of yoga but make sure you have a sip or two after each pose is a great place to start.
4. Wear the Proper Attire
When it comes to hot yoga attire, less is definitely more. You don’t want to wear a pair of skin-tight yoga pants and a long-sleeved workout tee. If you’re not comfortable wearing a literal bikini to your hot yoga class (we get it if you’re not), consider a pair of breathable short shorts and a comfortable sports bra.
As much as you might want to cover up, you will certainly thank us for this tip at your first session!
5. Bring the Proper Accessories
Your yoga mat and a water bottle aren’t the only things you need to worry about bringing. Definitely bring a towel in your gym bag to mop up your sweat as well as one to lay over your actual yoga mat.
If you enjoy using a yoga block to provide support to your back, head, and hips, consider bringing your own. While most yoga studios have them available for complimentary use, it’s a good idea to bring your own for sanitary reasons if you’re particular about that sort of thing. Yoga blocks are inexpensive and useful so it’s certainly not a bad idea to invest in your own.
6. Look for the Unofficial Cool Spots
There are usually unofficial “cool spots” in the room which are areas that don’t get quite as hot as others. When you get to the studio, inform the instructor that you’re a beginner and ask them to direct you to one of these unofficial cool spots. This can help ease your transition into hot yoga.
7. Be Open-Minded
You may expect that you’re definitely going to overheat during the session so you might be nervous going into it. Hot yoga is meant to be a relaxing, enlightening experience and you may not benefit from it if you go into it with an expectation of what you think will happen.
Be open-minded to the results of hot yoga, both positive and negative, and do not jump to conclusions. It’s important to focus on just being present!
8. Breathe Deeply
Whichever type of yoga you’ve chosen to practice, remember to stay with your breath and breathe deeply. You’re essentially dealing with an entirely new climate in your hot yoga class and you may initially feel a change in your breathing.
Breathe deeply during your hot yoga experience and lengthen exhales. This calms your nervous system and allows your body to adapt to essentially being in New Delhi.
Prepare for Your Hot Yoga Session
We hope we have given you some valuable information on how to prepare for hot yoga. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that you are prepared and staying open and present in the moment. Hot yoga can be a wonderful experience with many benefits to be gained.
We’ll see you in the studio!