Prepare for a Great Hot Yoga Class
Are you thinking about taking a hot yoga class? Do you have a friend or wife who keeps telling you how great it is? There is a reason hot yoga is so popular. The long list of benefits includes increased strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance; and decreased stress and weight. People feel great when they have a regular hot yoga practice. Are you ready to feel great? Of course you are!
I remember walking in to take my first hot yoga class. The heat overwhelmed me. I was not sure what to expect. How would I feel? Did I drink enough water? Am I wearing the right clothes? Am I ready? Even with all of these questions, I completed the class and got excited to return.
To experience the power of hot yoga, show up! I get it though. You want to feel ready and feel your best during (and after) the class. Therefore I created this list of 5 ways to best prepare for a successful hot yoga class.
1: Hydrate Before a Hot Yoga Class
This is number one — and likely the most important way to prepare for hot yoga. Since you will sweat, you need to hydrate. Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day — and likely more!
I also recommend the use of electrolytes if you have a regular hot yoga practice. Another great idea is to squeeze a bit of lemon and a pinch of Himalayan salt into your water. Coconut water is also a great way to rehydrate after class. Bring a water bottle to class. Take small sips of water throughout class as you feel needed. Avoid chugging a full bottle though! You don’t want to feel full and bloated as you move your body in and out of different postures.
2: Avoid a Big Meal Before Hot Yoga
Just as hydration is important, it is also important to have energy from food to fuel your practice. Eat a light snack such as a piece of fruit, juice, a granola bar, or nuts. Try to eat this at least one hour before your hot yoga class. After eating a full meal, wait at least 2 to 3 hours before you practice so that your food is well digested.
As with any exercise, it is best to avoid a large meal right before you practice hot yoga. You want your body to be able to focus on your practice rather than digestion. It also just feels awful to have a belly full of food while moving around in a heated room!
3: Dress to Sweat
There is no uniform for yoga and you can ultimately wear what you are comfortable in. Remember though that hot yoga is hot. Avoid heavy cotton clothing. Once it gets wet, it is very uncomfortable and you will feel hot. Synthetic, sweat wicking fabrics are your best bet.
Shorts or lightweight leggings are recommended. Some people prefer shorts so their skin can breathe. I prefer leggings — once I sweat enough, the leggings are damp and keep my legs cool. A sports bra, tank, or light t-shirt is ideal. Some men prefer to wear no shirt. Choose clothing you can easily move in and don’t worry about what everyone else is wearing
4: Have the Right Yoga Mat and Towels
There are many choices for yoga mats. It may take some trial and error to figure out which one works best for you. That being said, a good yoga mat will make a difference in your hot yoga class. You can rent a yoga mat and all the right towels at New Angle Yoga.
I love Manduka yoga mats. Some of them are built for hot yoga and will absorb the sweat. If you are not sure if your mat will absorb the sweat, use a yoga mat towel like YogiToes. This towel covers your mat and will absorb your sweat. The towel may seem slippery at first (before you get real sweaty). Spray some water on the towel to add some grip. At New Angle Yoga we have a “water” spray bottle for that purpose. You can also pour a little water from your water bottle onto the towel.
5: Start with the Right Mindset
Start with Yes! You are ready to experience hot yoga! You are not alone if you have some concern about the experience of being in a hot yoga room. I get it — AND I’ve seen thousands of students just like you not only survive the class, but thrive. Trust your body. You can do this!
Before you walk into the hot yoga studio, take a deep breath and tell yourself “I got this!” At New Angle Yoga, you can take the class at your own pace and rest as much as you need to. All you need to do is show up!
I have practiced and taught thousands of hot yoga classes. I am so grateful for this practice and for our infrared heating system at New Angle Yoga. Our classes are heated up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We aim for at least 40 percent humidity with the use of humidifiers. In this optimal environment, you warm up quickly without getting overheated. And the infrared heat has many health benefits including detoxification, pain relief, and immune support. First you may need to acclimate to the heated room. Soon the malleability of your body and the purification you feel will get you hooked.
Dr. Trish Corley, owner and founder of New Angle Yoga is an internationally recognized Baptiste certified yoga leader, a doctor of physical therapy, and a former professor of functional anatomy with a BA in behavioral neuroscience.