There are some things you should know before you attend a hot yoga class. You will want to know what to expect, how to dress, and what you should bring.
How to dress:
You should dress in comfortable clothing, dri-fit works really well. I typically wear dri-fit yoga pants or leggings and a tank top is a must. You probably will not want to wear anything with sleeves. It gets HOT! It’s called hot yoga for a reason. The temperature in the hot yoga studio I frequent is always above 100 degrees and goes as high as 104 degrees. The humidity is typically low, so you won’t have to worry about that. The culture of each yoga studio may be different. I frequent a studio where many of the women practice in sports bras and leggings and the men go shirtless. I typically ditch my tank top and practice in just a sports bra. You won’t believe how much more comfortable it is without a shirt!
What to bring:
Make sure to bring a high-quality yoga mat. A typical exercise mat will not work well. Your yoga mat should be thick and durable so that it is comfortable for you to perform various poses. A standard exercise mat will feel like you are working out directly on the hard floor and would be very uncomfortable.
Yoga Mat Towel
A towel for your yoga mat is optional. If you sweat a lot you should definitely consider a towel for your mat. A yoga mat towel will help prevent you from slipping. I have slipped several times performing Warrior Twos! A mat towel will also help keep your mat sanitized. I wash my mat towel and wipe down my mat with Clorox wipes and water after each session.
Bring a separate towel to wipe the sweat from your face throughout the workout.
Each class typically has scheduled water breaks. I also pause and take a sip of water whenever I feel like I need it.
Change of Clothes
I made the mistake of not bringing a change of clothes for my first hot yoga experience. I definitely will not make that mistake again! My first class was in the evening. I didn’t bring a change of clothes because I planned to go home immediately and shower. It was 30 degrees out! I walked outside to blistering weather in soaked clothes. Bring a change of clothes even if you do not plan to shower at the yoga studio.
What to Expect:
A well-established yoga studio will have very attentive staff and instructors. The instructor will introduce herself or himself and outline what to expect in the class. A lot of studios offer hands-on assistance. The instructor will ask if you would like assistance or if you prefer to decline. Hands on assistance involves the instructor physically touching you and adjusting your posture in poses. Some instructors will also help you relax during the suvasana time. They will give personal massages or rub natural oils over your forehead. I really appreciate this portion of hot yoga. I will outline more details about suvasana later in the post.
If you are new to yoga you should expect to learn poses that may challenge you. Balance is a big part of yoga. Many poses challenge you to ground your foot and balance on one leg. Do not overwhelm yourself. Attempt poses and challenge yourself, but understand your limitations. You may become dizzy. Stop and rest. Placing yourself in child’s pose is a great way to stop and re-focus. Many instructors will tell you to take child’s pose at any time throughout practice if you feel the need.
The final stage of yoga is the savasana phase. This is the most challenging part of yoga for most people. It’s a time to fully check out and relax. I have learned to appreciate the art of meditating so much because of this practice. You lie on your back and relax your body and mind. The room is usually dark during this time. Savasana is challenging because most people can not fully relax and shut off their minds. With practice, savasana can help alleviate depression, migraines, calm stress, and so much more.
Hopefully, these tips help encourage you to try hot yoga!