Hot yoga is a variation on the traditional yoga practice that, very simply put, utilizes a heated room to promote added benefits to the routine. There are many different forms of hot yoga, but the most popular type is Bikram hot yoga, which uses a room with temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 40%. Within hot yoga, researchers have found that the heat helps loosens up your body and muscles, which allows you to have an increase in flexibility. It also has found that sweat can help detoxify and cleanse your body while flushing out toxins and waste. If you are looking to start boosting your yoga practices or looking for something to spark up your workout routine, here is everything you need to know about hot yoga.
Be Prepared To Sweat - Bring Two Towels
Within hot yoga, the temperatures and sequences of poses with your practice are designed to make you sweat - meaning by the time you are on your second or third sequence, you'll be drenched. I remember the first time I tried hot yoga, I positioned myself right by the heater and was completely caught off-guard with how hot and sweaty I had gotten. I was not prepared with a towel - and sure enough, was quite embarrassed by the amount of sweat that was on my mat (which thankfully was my own and not the yoga studios). Nowadays, I make sure to bring at least one regular towel and one hand towel to wipe my face or arms with. Some people will even go as far as to put a towel on their mat for the routine. Find what works best for you!
Try A Beginner Class Before Jumping Into It
Before stepping into a hot yoga class designed for those who have already become accustomed to it, it is recommended that you first try out a beginner class. Many yoga studios generally have an open community class, where the class levels usually are designed for mixed levels. Within these open community classes, the routine tends to be more slower-paced, allowing for everyone to become more aware of the positions and aware of what their body can handle through each sequence. Taking a beginner class also is a great way to see if you needed to add in extra props to help with your practice, or even modify any position to alleviate any strain.
Stay Hydrated - Bring Water
It is extremely recommended to bring lots of water during and after your hot yoga practice. Making sure you are hydrated, keep a water bottle near you during the practice and be sure to take moderate sips rather than long gulps. It will help you from feeling faint, being light-headed, and will also help you regulate your body temperature while dealing with the heat. When it comes to drinking water and staying hydrated, it is also recommended that you drink something with electrolytes. When you are sweating, your body will release electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate, which when lost, can cause cramping, confusion, and fatigue. Try bringing a sports drink that is packed with electrolytes or invest in powders or pills that can be added to your water to make it electrically-charged with electrolytes.
Dress Lightly and Get There Early
Hot yoga is definitely not the place to try to be the most fashionable and presentable person there. As I had said, you will sweat - and you will sweat a lot. It is suggested to dress lightly to ensure you will not excessively heat and can promote comfort and flexibility. For women, it is recommended that you wear a sports bra or light tee with shorts; while for men, it is recommended that you wear a tee and shorts as well. Try to find a fabric that is more fitted to the body rather than baggy. It will help prevent less distraction. If your hair is long, tie it back or use a headband to keep it out of your face. When you also are getting ready for your class, be sure to get there at least fifteen minutes early. Find a spot in the room, sit on your mat, and allow yourself to get used to the temperatures of the room. It will allow you to gradually get used to the temperature and easily adapt more rather than shocking your body to the heat.
Hot yoga is certainly an amazing challenge for any yoga enthusiast, but it is certainly important to keep yourself in check. If you feel light-head or nausea at all during your practice, stop and take time to breathe. Go into a child's pose or corpse pose and take a few minutes to relax and center your breathing again, allowing your body to become used to the temperatures again. If you all-around feel continue to feel sick, get out of the heat altogether. It is good for you to challenge yourself in the heat, but it is definitely more important to focus on your health.