Because it feels so damn good!
Whether you believe the hype, don’t like ‘real’ yoga or just love heat, here’s some tips for making your Hot practice happier!
- Hydrate Properly. Proper hydration is extremely important for every physical activity but, due to the increased sweating in Hot Yoga, hydration is even more important. Drink at least 1 liter of water before every class. Such preparation will also prevent you from needing or wanting to gulp lots of water during class, which can cause stomach cramps & generally act as a distraction.
- Replenish Electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts & minerals, such as sodium, potassium & calcium that may be lost from the body during periods of heavy sweating. Symptoms of electrolyte deficiency include dizziness, headaches, cramping & fatigue. Electrolytes are contained in most sports drinks, but drinks that are low in sugar, e.g. coconut water, are preferable & healthier. A mixture of water, sea salt & lemon juice can also work to restore lost electrolytes, as well as tomato juice.
- Eat right. As with any physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating right to help you perform your best. While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is recommended (fruit, fruit juice, raw vegetables, a small serving of almonds are all viable options), you might want to allow two hours between any snacks and four hours between any heavy meals & your yoga practice. The only thing worse than practicing with a belly full of water is practicing with a belly full of food! You’ll want to eat a snack or meal that contains both protein & carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice.
- Listen to your body and respect your edge. Only you know how far you can comfortably push your body. Listen to those signs that your body offers you. When our muscles are warm, it’s easier to stretch them, which means that suddenly body parts find it easier to reach one another – forehead to the knee, fingertips to the toes, foot behind your calf muscle. Move slowly and mindfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while! Don’t feel the need to “keep going”. Quiet the ego; that little voice that tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury & just breathe & enjoy being where you are now.
- Dress for it. No one at the studio is there to judge you & no one looks his or her best when dripping in sweat. Wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Guys, find your cycling shorts, regular shorts are an irritation. Tank tops are a great choice on top, as they allow for better range of motion and generally stay in place better than a T-shirt. Regular cotton clothing is not recommended, once drenched in sweat, it will feel heavy and clammy against your skin.
- Invest in a proper yoga towel. There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on a pose only to keep slipping because of all the sweat dripping off your body. If you decide that hot yoga is right for
you, invest in a towel that you can lay over your mat while you practice, which is made of microfibers that absorb moisture and become grippy when wet, they also have silicone beads for added stickiness. You can buy these here.
- Go au natural. Though it seems counterintuitive to shower before a workout, a rinse off before yoga practice to remove any lotions or oils that make the skin more slippery once the body starts to sweat. Skip the perfume, the smell of which can be overwhelming in heated, humid rooms.
Take rest as needed. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or otherwise ill at any point during the practice, take a break. Take a kneel, sit down on your mat or rest in Savasana