Yesterday I participated in a hot yoga class for the first time. I was excited yet nervous. The fact that I would be attempting to do yoga in an approximately 100+ degree room was somewhat terrifying. What if I overheated and died? Yes, that was a valid question to me. What if the heat was too much for me and I could barely do the yoga poses? What if I looked stupid?
Well, the class has since passed and I am still alive. And might I add…I feel invigorated. Of course, the heat was intense. After about 20 minutes I was not sure if I could continue. The instructor had told me before hand that during hot yoga your heart will begin to start beating more rapidly. Many people fear this and start panicking, but the key is to slow your breath and steady your heartbeat with deep breaths, she had said. Sure enough, my heart beat was picking up, but after remembering her words, I began to take deep breaths in and out which helped control my heartbeat and allow me to continue. And I am sure glad that I continued. By the end of the class I was exhausted and sweaty (you will pretty much feel like you took a shower in your own sweat- but you might as well embrace it because everyone else in the class looks the same way) but I felt more awakened and happy. The heat felt so good for stretching and completing the yoga poses. Yes, some poses were more tricky than others because of the sweat pouring down your body, but hey, practice makes perfect right?
I thought after doing hot yoga for the first time, that I would provide a few tips for beginners or those thinking of doing hot yoga. I know these tips would have and did help me in preparing for my first class.
- Drink plenty of water. Even the day before keep drinking that water! Your body sweats immensely during hot yoga, so you want to make sure you are hydrated before you do the class. Bring a water bottle with you to the class. Listen to your body and drink when needed. Finally, after the class, rehydrate! I brought two water bottles with me and drank one once the class ended and drank the other on the drive home. Then, throughout the day I keep replenishing myself with water to make sure I stayed hydrated for the rest of the day.
- Eat: Some people just don’t like eating before a workout. But even just eating a banana before a workout is a great way to supply your body with nutrients and help you to power through your workout. I try to eat some fruit or oatmeal in advance, especially when doing a morning workout. Without food in your system, you can easily become lightheaded or exhausted. Try eating some almonds or apples with peanut butter before your workout. Having a satisfied stomach will help enable you to focus more on the task of completing those fun poses in hot yoga. And having clementines, carrots, or a meal after your class will help you feel even more energized as well.
What to Bring/Wear:
- Shoes: This may be obvious to most people, but you do not need sneakers or closed toed shoes (or even shoes) while doing yoga. Wearing easy slip on/slip-off flip-flops to the yoga studio is absolutely fine.
- Attire: In all honesty, just wear whatever is comfy to you. Whether that is yoga pants and a yoga shirt or spandex running pants and a sports bra, wear clothing that you can move in. I wore running tights and a Dri-Fit running shirt. Some people in the class wore sports bras and shorts and many wore cropped-to-the-knee yoga tights. I personally liked wearing my running tights because they wicked away (some) of the sweat so that I could do the poses without my feet or legs slipping everywhere. Other people who were wearing shorts had to frequently wipe their legs in order to do some of the poses. However, it is completely up to you what you feel like wearing. As I said previously, wear attire that you can move in and feel comfortable at the same time.
- Mat: Many studios may charge you if you don’t bring a yoga mat with you, especially to a hot yoga class. And plus, you may not know if that yoga studio cleans its mats so might as well be safe and bring your own. You can purchase mats at Walmart, Target, sports/fitness stores, etc.
- Towel: Bring a towel (bath size/beach size extremely recommended as you will need it!) to keep by you during the class. I also noticed that many people put towels on top of their mats so that their mats wouldn’t become slippery. If you can find a towel the size of your mat that would not move around when you are doing the poses, than I would definitely recommend bringing one. My towel was somewhat thin and short so it would move when my hands were on the towel but my feet were on the mat.
- Headband: The yoga studio I went to was selling headbands by their front desk. I usually don’t wear headbands when I exercise, but for hot yoga, I would especially recommend wearing a headband to keep sweat out of your eyes and face.
Finally, just have fun while doing hot yoga! Enjoy the experience as you release tension in your body and work towards a healthier you!