We’ve heard and listened to the hot yoga craze not just because you’re promised a hot body but because it’s pushing your limits and is a different take on the stand-still poses. It’s a great way to mix things up, as sometimes sticking to the same old fitness routines, although effective, doesn’t get you the dopamine and serotonin hits that you are craving. Suppose you are considering embarking on your fitness journey with hot yoga. From my own experience. In that case, I can give you a comprehensive guide to physically and mentally preparing for this unique experience.
What is Hot Yoga?
If you are new to the scene and just want to know what everyone is talking about, hot yoga helps you decompress while providing an intense workout and building strength and flexibility in a setting akin to a sauna. Yoga connects your breath to your movement through a series of poses, calms your mind, and enhances your breathing.
Research The Studio
If you are new to the world of hot yoga and if you’re like me, if you are going to try something new, you want it to be a proper representation and go somewhere with good reviews and results, and if the class timetable matches your schedule.
Refer to a gym’s website and get a feel for their expertise. The last thing you want is to pay for a hot yoga class and for the room to be cold and uncomfortable. You want to get a feel for the kind of skills the teacher brings to the table and it also helps alleviate pre-class jitters if you know you will be well taken care of.
Choose The Right Class
This leads me to my next point. Hot yoga isn’t strict to one yoga style; it offers various styles such as Bikram, Vinyasa or Hot Power Yoga. Each style has its own unique characteristics and intensity levels so you need not worry about it being too hard at first. Although it is supposed to put you through your paces, there are ways for you to slowly build up your threshold.
Beginners may find Vinyasa or Hot Power Yoga more accessible, while experienced practitioners might enjoy the structure of a Bikram class.
Before your class, you need to make sure you’re hydrating properly. Since hot yoga involves practising in a heated room, staying hydrated is crucial. Begin hydrating the day before your class and continue sipping water throughout the day. Avoid heavy meals and downing buckets full of water close to class time and opt for light, easily digestible snacks if needed.
During your hot yoga class, if you experience lightheadedness, nausea, or extreme fatigue, these could be symptoms of heat exhaustion or dehydration. It’s okay to take a break, sit down, or even step outside the room for a few minutes to pause, gather yourself, and try again. Don’t push yourself too hard as a beginner; this could demotivate you for the future, which none of us want.
Choose moisture-wicking, breathable fabrics for your hot yoga attire. Avoid heavy cotton materials like tracksuit sales even if it is snowing outside, as they can become uncomfortable and heavy when drenched in sweat, not something you want to be stuck in for an hour. Women may opt for a moisture-wicking sports bra and leggings, while men can choose moisture-wicking shorts or athletic pants.
Gyms always provide showers after your workout so I would recommend bringing a change of clothes and a towel for after your hot yoga class. This will make the journey home more comfortable and dry.
Bring The Right Accessories
This brings me to my next point in terms of what to bring with you, pack a non-slip yoga mat, a large towel to cover your mat, and a smaller towel to wipe away sweat. Many hot yoga studios also offer mat and towel rentals if you don’t have your own but I would always recommend bringing your matt, especially because you don’t want to lie to someone who has previously used a sweaty matt.
A reusable water bottle is essential to stay hydrated during and after the class. You will need it to replenish all the water you lost during the class.
Arriving early allows you to familiarise yourself with the studio, meet the instructor, and settle into the heated room. This extra time also provides an opportunity to acclimatise to the temperature, reducing the shock to your system when the class begins.
It gives you enough time to mentally prepare for the class and hype yourself up in a way. You could try a little walk on the treadmill just to get the blood flowing before; whatever works for you or any pre-workout rituals you have in place is a great way to start.
Practice Proper Breathing Techniques
This might be something you practice beforehand and it’s more than useful for things outside of a hot yoga class but it’s definitely something you will benefit from during the class. The heated environment challenges your cardiovascular system. Focus on deep, steady breaths to help regulate your body temperature and maintain a sense of calm. The breath is a powerful tool in any yoga practice, and it becomes even more vital in a heated setting.
Stay for Savanasa
After the challenging poses, stay for the final relaxation, Savasana. This allows your body to cool down gradually and helps prevent dizziness. Use this time to focus on your breath, clear your mind, and reap the mental and physical benefits of your hot yoga practice.
By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared and confident as you step into your first hot yoga class. Embrace the heat, enjoy the challenge, and savour the unique experience that hot yoga brings to your overall well-being and I hope you love it as much as I do; you will truly reap the rewards at the end of every class.