9 Things You Need to Know Before Your First Hot Yoga Class
Hot yoga is one of my absolute FAVORITE ways to spend an active rest day. It is the perfect way for me to relax, refresh, and relieve stress (especially as the new school year starts up).
I have been going to hot yoga for about a year now and I always look forward to the 90 minute heated flows. I have found that SO many people are confused about what hot yoga is, how it works, or are even just down right intimidated by the thought of doing yoga in a room that can reach up to 105 degrees (don't worry, I was a bit hesitant too before I tried my first class).
But the benefits of hot yoga far outweigh any concerns you may have about attending your first session - trust me! If you are like me, you will be hooked after your first class. Hot yoga has been shown to:
1. Flush toxins from the skin & the body as a whole.
2. Increase full body flexibility.
3. Boost your mood.
4. Improve cardiovascular fitness.
5. Increase muscle tone.
6. Burn more fat than non-heated yoga.
7. Improve mental concentration.
The list goes ON and ON! There are a few different kinds of hot yoga, but my favorites are heated Vinyasa and Bikram yoga. Heated Vinyasa flows are generally shorter and the room temperature is lower than in a Bikram yoga session, which usually lasts around 80-90 minutes and can reach a room temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
So, all of this may sound a little intimidating, and I get that! A lot of times, hot yoga is something new that many people haven't tried and it's the fear of the unknown that keeps them from giving it a go. I have gotten a few questions about what it's like and how to prepare, so I decided to write a list of 9 things you should know before you attend your first class.
The day you plan on going to a hot yoga class, make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to make sure your body is properly hydrated and ready to take on the heat. You will SWEAT during these classes and want to make sure you don't get dehydrated.
2. Bring water. And then bring an EXTRA water.
Bring more water than you think you will need - because chances are you will end up needing the extra! The first class I went to I brought one normal sized water bottle and wished I would have had another. Now, every time I go to class I either take a giant reusable water bottle or two smaller sized disposable bottles.
3. You need two towels and a mat.
Yes, TWO towels! One yoga mat towel (they actually sell towels specifically for yoga mats) and one towel to wipe the sweat from your face and body. If you don't have a yoga mat or a yoga mat towel don't worry, because most studios have them available to rent.
4. Wear tight, minimal clothing.
In a room that is 105 degrees, the last thing you want is a giant, baggy t-shirt that flops over your face every time you take a downward facing dog pose. I usually wear a sports bra and spandex to make sure I stay cool and my clothes don't get in the way of the poses.
5. Do not wear makeup.
This may seem a little obvious - but I made the mistake of wearing makeup the first time I went to hot yoga. I had NO idea how much I would sweat! Let's just say: skip the mascara, unless you want to come out looking like you just cried for 90 minutes.
6. Tie your hair back and wear a headband.
Is it just me or is there NOTHING worse than having hair in your face during a sweaty workout?! My biggest pet peeve! I like to wear a headband and tie my hair back in a tight bun during class to make sure it stays out of my face.
7. Do NOT eat a heavy meal right before class.
You want to make sure you have enough energy to make it through a full 90 minutes, but you really want to avoid eating a heavy meal right before you start class. I usually try to eat a decent snack that has plenty of complex carbs and protein 2-3 hours before class starts. This way, I will have enough fuel to have an effective practice, but I will avoid any nausea that may come along with eating too close to class time.
8. Realize you CAN be a beginner!
Not every pose is for everyone. There are poses in class that I still sit out from because I am still working on getting the balance and form down to build up to the harder poses! There is nothing wrong with taking a child's pose on your mat during class if you feel light headed or like a pose is too challenging. Every expert was once a beginner and you HAVE to start somewhere. Don't let the thought of inversions or other difficult poses intimidate you.
9. Come ready for a workout.
Some people hear the word "yoga" and assume it is more of a relaxation workout - but I can assure you your heart rate will be elevated at times during a hot yoga class! It's not all poses, sometimes the instructor may even throw in a quick timed ab circuit. Every studio is different, but one thing is certain: you WILL sweat!