Do’s and Don’ts of Hot Yoga
Don’t practice yoga to get better at yoga; practice yoga to get better at living – Unknown
Hot yoga is a great way to get some exercise in and mentally rejuvenate your mind for the week ahead. However there are some aspects of the practice that you need to be aware of going in. I have put together a list of some Do’s and Don’ts of hot yoga that I hope you will find helpful for your next practice.
Re-hydrating throughout the practice is key. Generally hot yoga is done in a room that is 38 degrees, which is much warmer than we typically are used to. Sweating is inevitable! So it is important to replenish some of the fluids lost while completing the practice. This doesn’t necessarily mean drinking a liter of water during the hour that you are in the class however. Drink when you feel like your body needs it, when you are feeling dizzy, or just thirsty.
Bring a towel
To prevent slipping all over your mat, it is recommended to bring a towel. You can find yoga mat specific towels from Amazon and sports stores, however if in a pinch, a regular towel from home will work. My boyfriend used one for the first 10 times he went until I finally bought him one, so either way, it will work. Towels will make the practice easier, and will allow you to focuses on the moves and your breathing rather than just trying to stay upright.
Hydrate before AND after class!
As mentioned above, water is important. However walking into the class hydrated is going to be just as helpful if not more helpful than bringing water to the class. If you are starting from a point of dehydration, you may experience dizziness or fatigue while trying to go through the moves. Bringing water to the class will not be able to make up for this quickly enough as you will start sweating very early on in the practice. This also means that if you have had a couple of wobbly-pops the night before, then maybe the hot yoga class isn’t the best idea. I can attest to this, as my friend came with me once slightly hungover and spent the entire class in child’s pose!
Buy a Quality Yoga Mat
Yoga mats come in all kinds of materials, colors, sizes, etc. Doing some research on a quality mat can benefit you in the long run. Some mats can disintegrate fairly quickly with use, especially in a hot room. I currently have the Manduka yoga mat, and it has been amazing. It remains sticky even while I am in an extremely sweaty state. This take the focus off of my mat, and onto my breathing and poses. Ensuring you get one that is long enough is also important! Yoga mats come in different lengths, and spending money on something that ends up being too short is no fun.
Have stinky Feet!
This is something that I don’t think many people are aware of. But it is important to keep in mind that when you are laying down, or in downward dog, your feet are near someone else’s face, and while you may not be able to smell them, someone else will. To combat this, all it takes is a quick wipe of the feet beforehand. Usually the change rooms have extra washcloths sitting around for people, so you shouldn’t need to bring your own cloth.
Practice if you have a bad cough or an irritated throat
Going to hot yoga when you are on the tail end of a cold can be helpful, as you are regaining your strength and it is generally viewed as allowing you to sweat out the toxins. However if you are in the middle of fighting a cold which has left you with incessant coughing or plugged up sinuses, then it might be better to sit it out. Hot yoga is hard to begin with, and to do it while you are battling a sickness can set you back. It can also cause discomfort for the people around you as they might be concerned that they can catch the cold from you which could take their focus off of their own practice.
Compare yourself to others
There is a quote that states: “comparison is the thief of joy”, and this is especially true in hot yoga. There will inevitably be diehard yogi’s in the class that have no problem putting their body into the shape of a pretzel. But don’t let this get you down. You are at the right point in your own journey for your body. It takes a lot of practice to be that flexible, but you will get there in time. Focus on yourself as you are moving through the poses, and focus on your breathing. Doing this will allow you to leave the practice feeling relaxed and happy with your efforts.
Forget to have fun!
Yoga is meant to be “you-time”, so have fun! We spend so much time judging ourselves in comparison to others that a little me-time is warranted. If you are at the beginning and just trying to survive the hot room for 60 minutes, that is okay. You are already taking the 60 minutes out of your day to focus on you and that is a great first step. Also, remember that everyone has issues with balance. If you happen to fall over, have a little chuckle at yourself and try again. One day you will be able to hold that handstand for 10 seconds, but until then, enjoy the ride and be proud of yourself.
I hope these suggestions help you in your first, or 100th hot yoga class. I commend you for taking the time out of your day to practice – it is hard, I know! These suggestions are the result of myself practicing hot yoga for about four years now, but more seriously for the last two. Good luck with your practice!
If you have any other questions, or just want to talk, please let me know!