Thinking about trying hot yoga but not sure what to expect? Here are seven things you should know before taking your first hot yoga class.
Red-faced and sweat-drenched, yogis swear by hot yoga classes. So, what is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is a challenging yoga class done in a heated room. Self-explanatory, right? The heat usually stays around 95 degrees. This is a tad cooler than Bikram yoga classes, a style of yoga practiced in 105-degree heat. Whether they’re practicing Bikram or basic heated vinyasa-style yoga, yogis love those hot temps. But what is it about the heat that makes this hot yoga practice so appealing? Here’s what you should know.
What to Bring
The most important thing to bring is a full bottle of water. In a hot yoga class, it can be hard to know how much you’ll sweat. Also, bring a mat, face towel and another mat-length towel to put over your mat so you don’t slide.
What to Wear
Imagine what a hot steam shower feels like. Hot yoga rooms are high in humidity. Wear light athletic clothing that wicks away sweat and won’t weigh you down. Think of tank tops, sports bras, fitted shorts, capris pants or sports shorts for men.
What to Expect
When you enter the studio to set up your mat, stay quiet and be sure to leave adequate space for your neighbor. Also, leave your cell phone in a locker. Classes are typically between 45 and 75 minutes. Ask your instructor for modifications if needed.
Still not quite sure what is hot yoga? Tight, short and “cold” muscles can be restricting and even cause injury. Yoga increases the range of motion of your joints and muscles through a series of movements. Hot yoga supports increased circulation making your muscles even more supple and responsive.
What’s the Right Class to Take?
If you’re new to hot yoga, try a beginner-level class to acclimate yourself to the movements in the heat. Most yoga studios offer multi-level classes. However, if class ever becomes overwhelming sit in child’s pose before moving on to the next pose.
What’s Too Much?
While it’s ok to exercise at the gym three to five times a week, doing hot yoga that often can cause dehydration. It’s also just important to have a balanced workout schedule each week. Try to keep hot yoga to two to three times a week.
Vinyasa yoga supports stress reduction, strength, flexibility and mindfulness. But what hot yoga is, is taking the benefits of vinyasa yoga and adding a few more. Hot yogis maintain that it boosts metabolism, eliminates toxins and increases mobility. Ask your local hot yoga studio for a trial and see which class is right for you.
Lisa Payne is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, and travel. She stems from a background in television, playwriting, and personal training. Always on the go, follow her on social media or check out her website at lisapaynefitness.com.