I’d always been curious about hot yoga. When I came across a studio located next to the building where my father and I were taking dance lessons for our father-daughter dance, it seemed serendipitous. Here is your chance- try it out! I walked past the door and was instantly intimidated. The people inside looked like serious yogis- that wasn’t me and I couldn’t see it ever becoming me.
I pushed aside my insecurities (dude, I don’t know what I’m doing!) and signed up for my first class. And was instantly hooked. That was eight months ago. I am so glad that I overcame my initial hesitation and tried something outside of my comfort zone. If you have any curiosity about hot yoga- TRY IT! Here are some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past eight months:
- Drink a lot of water during the day prior to class. On days when I have a hot yoga class, I typically take in at least 100 ounces of water, 64 of which I drink during the day before class. Yes, I make a lot of bathrooms trips. It’s okay. If you show up to class hydrated, you are more likely to be able to stay strong and power through all of the moves.
- Be prepared to sweat. A lot. Seriously. Like you never have before! I had heard that hot yoga was a sweat sesh but until you experience it, you can’t really comprehend it. I walked into my first class with a hand towel and my mat, leaving a bath towel in the car. When I asked the instructor if I should grab the bath towel, she smiled at me knowingly and just said yes. Then I took my first class. Well. I was prepared to sweat. I was NOT prepared to have sweat dripping off of my body in buckets, soaking the towel and the mat. It was weird. And awesome and cleansing.
- Wear as little clothing as possible. It is HOT in the room. Traditional Bikram classes are heated to 105 degrees. Couple that with a full classroom of people working hard and it is going to be hot hot hot. With that being said;
- (Try to) Leave body issues at the door. The hot room is no place to be insecure. The heat will have even the most modest of women stripping down to their sports bras. My yoga studio has students of all shapes, sizes and skill levels. Everyone is focused on their own workout and there is no room for judgment.
- Your body will adapt to the heat. The first class is always the hardest. It is a shock to the system and may even seem like a form of torture (okay, I’m exaggerating. It is intense though!). My instructor urges students to try the classes for a week. After the first few classes the heat becomes addicting! It is amazing how well the human body adapts.
- Be prepared for some interesting bodily happenings. Not necessarily of your own. The worst is when someone next to you has had garlic or onions with their lunch. Just yesterday a young kid was blowing his nose into his hand after ever pose and wiping it on his towel. Yick. You see all sorts of craziness in the hot room!
- Invest in a hot yoga towel, like yogitoes. When I first started practicing, I used a traditional bath towel. It soon became clear that this would not cut it. The towel didn’t cover my whole mat and I was slipping and sliding everywhere. My yogitoes towel is awesome. It covers the whole length of my mat and stays in place. It is essential!
- Bring lots of water to class. You will drink all of it.
- Coconut water is awesome. After class, there is nothing more satisfying than drinking coconut water. Well, except for showering, of course. Anyway. Coconut water is an awesome, natural way to rehydrate and replace the electrolytes you sweat out during the class.
- It is addicting. Even if the first class is tough, you WILL be back and you will become addicted
Have you ever tried hot yoga? If not, you really should! It will enhance your athletic abilities, make you more at ease with your body, increase your flexibility, reduce stress… the list goes on and on! Go ahead and try it- you have nothing to lose
*Disclaimer- I am not a yoga instructor nor a fitness instructor or health professional. These statements are just what I have learned in my own experiences.