Conquer Your Hot Yoga Flow With These 7 Tips
Are intimidated at the thought of trying a hot yoga class?
Maybe you went to one and felt overwhelmed. The heat might have instantly turned you off, and we get it. You aren’t alone!
At first, it may seem like these hot yogis are gluttons for punishment, but that is not the case. Your body eventually gets used to the heat (if you stick to it) and once you’ve adapted, you end up actually enjoying the experience.
You might be thinking: No way! I almost passed out when I tried this.
That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help you manage your hot yoga expectations and rock your next class. First, let’s talk a little bit about hot yoga and what this practice entails.
How Hot is Hot Yoga?
It’s important to know that there are different types of hot yoga.
Bikram yoga, as an example, is a series of 26 traditional hot yoga poses, but hot vinyasa (often called hot yoga flow) is more fast-paced with a variety of poses. Some teachers keep the room around 90, while others turn it up even more.
If you’re trying out hot yoga at home (given the pandemic and that your local studio might not be open right now), you can either crank up the heat in your house and then open the windows for savasana and cut the heat off, or get a hot yoga dome for the living room. A humidifier can also help make the room extra humid.
Before you jump into a room that is 85 -105+ degrees, medical professionals advise you to check with your doctor before engaging in a hot yoga flow, especially if you’re taking medications, have diabetes or heart conditions.
Why You Should Try Hot Yoga
- You sweat out toxins, and many of the poses help your body digest, helps clear up the skin and even allows you to think more clearly.
- You become present to regulate your body’s heat, which makes you stop worrying, making it a great way to reduce stress.
- You increase both strength and flexibility.
- You learn how to breathe deeply, which oxygenates your body and helps build muscle.
- You can free up natural energy from a healthy mobile spine and reduce back pain caused by sitting.
- You will improve your posture by building a strong core.
- Your mind, body, and soul get a chance to harmonize with the ancient system of yoga.
Read this article next for more insights: Is Hot Yoga Better Than Regular Yoga?
7 Tips to Conquering Your Hot Yoga Class
1. Arrive Early & Hydrated
Don’t show up right when the class is supposed to start because this doesn’t give you a chance to get used to the heat and get into your deep breathing. Make sure you drink little sips of water throughout the class and before the class.
You don’t want to have a belly full of water (or heavy food!), but you also will get a headache if you show up dehydrated.
2. Don’t Eat a Big Meal Beforehand
Speaking of food…
You don’t want to go into a hot flow with an empty stomach but try not to eat a full meal at least two hours before. Your body will find the heat and movements much harder, and it can make you nauseous.
You do want to make sure your sugars aren’t low, though, so having half a banana about twenty minutes before class is a good idea.
3. Bring an Extra-Large Water Bottle
You’ll be surprised how much water your body loses and needs to replenish. Your teacher may have designated times to drink water but allow yourself to take a sip if you need one.
Having a big bottle can help you get through the class. You’ll notice the experienced yogis never go in without their trusty water bottle.
4. Bring a Mat Towel & a Sweat Towel
You want a small and large towel in each class. Your yoga mat will get slippery from sweat, and a mat towel ensures you can practice your poses properly.
The small towel is to wipe the sweat from your forehead, so it doesn’t get in your eyes. Most studios provide towels, but it’s best to bring one if they only allow one per person. Remember not to wear heavy clothes during this practice as well.
5. Drop Into Child’s Pose as Needed
When you get overheated, it’s more than okay to take a break. You can lay down in savasana or go into a child’s pose and breathe deeply to help your body calm down.
Many experienced practitioners frequently use this technique because some days, the body feels different from others. They know how to practice without worrying about mastering all of the poses all of the time.
Learn more about savasana: The Benefits of Corpse Pose
6. Do Deep Nasal Breathing to Slow Your Heart
In a hot flow, your breathing is everything.
Your breath can help you regulate your body temperature, and slow deep breathing through your nose will be the most helpful tool to keep you cool. If you start feeling like you can’t catch your breath, sit down and breathe and you’ll start to feel better.
7. Replenish Your Electrolytes Afterwards
Whether you go for a healthy sports drink or an electrolyte powder, you must replenish them.
When your body sweats so much, you can actually do some harm if you do not make up for the lost essential minerals. This is especially important when you start practicing regularly and will keep you from getting fatigued after each class.
You’re going to be sweating out a lot of toxins, so be sure to shower and wash your face afterward to avoid a breakout!
The Real Benefits Come Over Time
Hot yoga is called a practice because you need to do just that to “master” it - practice!
No one ever nails or loves a hot yoga class the first time they try it out, but the benefits will come if you stick to it. You can learn about yourself each time you show up.
The concepts a yoga teacher brings up will help you get in touch with your mind-body connection as your body slowly gets into shape. It’s not about losing weight but about feeling really, really great because your body starts to function optimally.
If you’d like to fall in love with yourself, give yourself a chance to fall in love with hot yoga.
Related article: How to Bring Your Yoga Studio Practice Into Your Home