If you are thinking of trying a hot yoga class and are unsure of what to expect, read along to be prepared and make the most out of your class.
Listen to your body – As a first timer, you will want to try an all levels class; rest assured that everyone in the room has been in your shoes. Your body will be experiencing new stretches and postures whilst getting accustomed to the heat. Be kind to yourself and sit or lay down on the mat when you need to. Just being in the room, breathing through the heat, is a great achievement on its own right.
Hydrate – Hot yoga is a very intense physical activity. You are going to work every muscle, raise your heart rate, detox and learn to relax (not your average treadmill run hey!). Keeping hydrated throughout the day or the night before your class will really make a difference. Avoid drinking too much right before or during the class as that will just make you feel sick. Small sips during the class will see you through. After class, guzzle away. Replenishing yourself with electrolytes (e.g. coconut water)! They’ll become your best friends.
Clothing – Form-fitting clothing, leggings, tight shorts anything that will not interfere with your movement. If you want to keep cool go short, if you want to have a better grip go long. Men usually use shorts or trunks and no top. Don’t worry about people around you; it is common knowledge that everyone’s appearance is greatly challenged after sweating profusely. Whatever you wear just be mindful of what can accidentally show once you get into any wide legs posture.
Food – Empty stomachs are not ideal but having a feast a couple of hours before class is definitely not a good idea. If you have an early morning class, have a light breakfast, a fruit or a piece of toast.
Towels – What can I say, size does matter! I’ve seen a lot of people turn up with face towels to lay on their mats. You will probably sweat like you have never (or a few times) sweat before so go big. A beach towel will do or you can rent towels at the yoga studio. This will prevent you from slipping and getting into impromptu splits and it’s also overall more hygienic for everyone.
Yoga etiquette – You will get familiar with the yoga etiquette if you keep coming but some knowledge beforehand is always useful. After entering the room try to be as quiet as possible as other students might be relaxing, concentrating on their practice or maybe meditating after class. As tempting as it is to share with your friend how hot you are feeling, I promise you they will know without you telling them. If it’s a busy class, be kind by moving your mat and making space for anyone close to you. Next time you might need someone to let you squeeze your matt in. Try as much as possible to leave mobiles and personal belonging away from the mats: it’s a great way to start disconnecting. Finally, whilst rushing and stressing to get to your yoga class might be inevitable sometimes, it is quite contradictory. Try to be there at least 5 minutes before class and allow yourself enough time to settle on your mat.
Sense of humour – often the first thing we lose when we get into a difficult posture. Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously it’s only yoga. Keeping a sense of lightness will help you make your experience more enjoyable.