A Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga
Hot Yoga can sound quite intimidating, especially if you are new to yoga or have never attended a hot yoga class before. While the thought of sweating in a 105ºF room with a bunch of strangers may seem scary in the beginning, joining a hot yoga class may be one of the best and most rewarding decisions you will make in the New Year.
You’ve probably already guessed that we are huge fans of hot yoga – and trust us, it is all for the best reasons.
Hot yoga also known as Bikram yoga, is becoming increasingly popular not only because it is fun, but also because it gives your body a killer workout. Perhaps what makes hot yoga exciting is the fact that anybody, at any fitness and flexibility level can do it. You don’t have to be able to twist yourself into a human pretzel to reap the benefits of hot yoga as modifications are available to help you achieve greater flexibility in a gradual and healthy manner.
But why the heat?
Apart from the series of 26 postures that are repeated in every class, what makes hot yoga unique is that it is performed in a heated room. Hot yoga enthusiasts believe that the heat helps boost your heart rate and increase the intensity of the entire routine, thus strengthening its cardio factor (goodbye calories). Another important reason for adding the heat is that it helps you achieve a much deeper stretch, making each posture more efficient.
Since hot yoga is performed in a heated room, it is not for the faint of heart. This is why preparation is key. Luckily, we are here with an all you will need guide for your first hot yoga class.
What you’ll need: A water bottle, a towel and a yoga mat (if not provided in your hot yoga class).
1. Know when to hydrate
Taking a bottle of water with you for your class is essential but loading up on H2O right during class is not only unnecessary, but it can also make you feel quite uncomfortable, especially while performing postures that involve lying on your tummy. Therefore, to receive the full effect of hydration, we recommend drinking a tall glass of water an hour before the class and taking tiny sips throughout your hot yoga routine.
2. Skip high-fat food
Having a meal containing dairy, nut butters or other fatty products will bite you in the back later during your hot yoga series as they can cause stomach disturbances when you least need them. Therefore, make sure you have them later than 3 hours before your class. However, don’t go on an empty stomach either.
Have something light such as a green juice or a fruit juice before your routine. You’ll also want to reserve the protein shakes for later, as protein powder can cause gas and bloating during the series.
3. Talk to your instructor
Introduce yourself to your instructor, ensure that they know it is your first time and let them know if you have any injuries or medical conditions.
4. Don’t push yourself too much
Since it is your first time, you don’t have to mimic what your neighbor is doing. It is important that you go at your own pace, perform comfortable stretches and enjoy the entire process. Hot yoga is an exciting journey. To progress at a healthy pace, make sure you have a loving attitude towards yourself and work from where you are towards where you want to be.
5. Love the heat
Understand that the heat is there to make the practice easier, not the opposite. When your joints are tired, the heat helps tiny aches and pains disappear much faster. You’ll notice yourself becoming more fluid and free with the heat.
Of course, the heat becoming too much for you is a possibility. In case it becomes difficult, sit down, placing your head above your heart. Keep your eyes open while resting as closing them in the heat can make you dizzy. Breathe calmly through your nose and your heart will return to its normal rate within no time.
6. Don’t skip Savasana
Whether your aim is to lose weight or just enjoy hot yoga series, it is imperative that you do not skip Savasana by leaving early or jumping into a cold shower. Let your body cool down gradually. The final relaxation in Savasana is perhaps the best part of the series but if something urgent does come up, let your instructor know in advance and perform a short Savasana before leaving the class.
Click here to find a Hot Yoga Bikram Yoga Retreat.
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