Yogic Knowledge

A beginner’s guide on how to prepare for hot yoga class?

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How to prepare for your first hot yoga class like a pro? It’s important to be prepared both mentally and physically to withstand the demanding nature of the class. In order to have the greatest experience possible and provide answers to the question as in how to prepare for hot yoga class, there are a few essential things you must do in order to get ready for it.

Get ready to sweat your way to a fitter you with hot yoga! To conquer this intense and invigorating practice, follow these essential tips: hydrate like a boss, choose lightweight and breathable attire, bring a non-slip mat, pack a towel, fuel up with a light meal, and embrace the heat with an open mind. Get your yoga glow on!

What is hot yoga and How to prepare for hot yoga class?

Before joining such yoga classes every individual might have a very common question in their mind i.e., how to prepare for my first hot yoga class? In order to know more about it, let us read on to find out in a detailed manner as in how to prepare for a hot yoga class?

So let us first know a little more about what hot yoga is, how it is different from bikram yoga,  is it safe for beginners, its advantages and disadvantages.

Hot yoga, also known as Bikram yoga, is a style of yoga that is practiced in a heated room, typically set to a temperature of around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40.5 degrees Celsius) with a humidity of around 40%. The heat is intended to help practitioners deepen their stretches, increase flexibility, and release toxins from the body through sweating. Hot yoga typically involves a set sequence of 26 poses and two breathing exercises, performed in a specific order, which lasts around 90 minutes. The practice was developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s and has since become popular worldwide.

The practice of hot yoga is said to offer a range of benefits for the mind and body. The heat is believed to increase blood flow and circulation, which can help to improve cardiovascular health and boost metabolism. The humidity in the room is also believed to help moisturize the skin and promote detoxification through sweating. In addition to physical benefits, hot yoga is said to offer mental and emotional benefits as well. The practice can help to reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration and focus, and promote a sense of well-being and inner peace.

However, it’s important to note that hot yoga can also pose some risks, particularly for individuals with certain medical conditions or for those who are not accustomed to exercising in high temperatures. It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting a hot yoga practice, and to listen to your body and take breaks as needed during class. Overall, hot yoga can be a challenging yet rewarding practice for those who are interested in exploring the mind-body benefits of yoga in a heated environment.

Bikram yoga vs Hot Yoga

Here’s a table highlighting key differences between Bikram yoga and hot yoga, along with the parameters to compare.

ParametersBikram YogaHot Yoga
OriginDeveloped by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970sA broader term that encompasses various styles
Sequence of PosesConsists of a fixed series of 26 posesOffers more flexibility in pose selection
Room TemperatureMaintained at a constant 40°C (105°F)Can vary between studios, typically around 35-40°C
HumidityModerate humidity levelHumidity levels may vary
Focus on Breath and AlignmentEmphasizes specific breathing techniquesFocuses on breath, alignment, and individual needs
Traditional vs. VariationStrict adherence to the original Bikram sequenceAllows for modifications and creative variations

Is hot yoga safe for beginners?

Besides the question of how to prepare for the first hot yoga class, it is also important to know that it is safe for beginners.  

Beginners can practise hot yoga safely. As with any physical activity, it’s crucial to evaluate your general health and, in some situations, get advice from your doctor before starting a new routine. Hot yoga may not be appropriate for novices since some people with particular diseases (like multiple sclerosis) may find that the heat inflicted during the practice brings on symptoms.

Hot yoga studios frequently have special beginner-level classes available. These classes might move more slowly. In order to assist you in becoming accustomed to the new and sometimes unfamiliar motions, the instructor may frequently spend more time explaining and showing how to enter and exit the poses. While the poses themselves might be well-known to some, the adding of heat to the yoga practice might be new. In this situation, speak with the instructor and explain that you have practised yoga but are unfamiliar with hot yoga. The instructor might offer special advice to assist you in adjusting to the heat of the room or advise you that it’s acceptable to take breaks more frequently than you would be accustomed to in more standard yoga programmes.

Beginner status can be intimidating, but it can also be energising, so cherish these times. Your enthusiasm for yoga may be rekindled and you may have something to look forward to when you try something new.

Advantages of hot yoga

Hot yoga has grown in popularity in recent years because of all of its potential health advantages. The following are some advantages associated with hot yoga:

  • Encourages flexibility: Hot yoga uses heat to assist the muscles warm up and become more flexible. Your range of motion and flexibility may improve as a result, making yoga poses and other physical exercises simpler to complete.
  • Detoxification of the body: The body detoxifies naturally through sweating. Sweating a lot during hot yoga might assist your body rid itself of toxins and impurities because of the heat and humidity present.
  • Increases cardiovascular fitness: Hot yoga can give cardiovascular exercise, boosting circulation and heart health thanks to its heat and rigour. As a result, there may be a lower risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
  • Reduces tension and stress: Yoga has long been recognised for its capacity to reduce stress, and hot yoga is no different. Deep breathing, meditation, and exercise all work together to help quiet the mind and lessen tension and anxiety.
  • Increases endurance: Hot yoga’s extreme heat and strenuous physical requirements might gradually help you have more endurance and stamina. This may make it simpler to engage in other physical activities like cycling or jogging.
  • Promotes weight loss: Hot yoga can be a great way to burn calories and lose weight. The heat and intensity of the practice can cause you to burn more calories than traditional yoga, helping to promote weight loss and improve body composition.
  • Improves balance and coordination: Hot yoga often includes challenging balancing poses that can help to improve your balance and coordination. This can be especially beneficial for older adults who may be at a higher risk of falls and other balance-related injuries.
  • Builds strength: Hot yoga can be an effective way to build strength and muscle tone. The heat and intensity of the practice can help to activate and strengthen your muscles, leading to improved strength and endurance.

Disadvantages of hot yoga

Even while there are benefits to hot yoga, it’s crucial to be aware of potential drawbacks or whether hot yoga makes you sick. The following are some disadvantages of hot yoga:

  • Risk of dehydration: Hot yoga classes have high temperatures and humidity levels, which can cause excessive perspiration and a higher risk of dehydration. To be properly hydrated, it’s important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after class.
  • Excessive exertion and injury: Hot yoga’s heat and intensity can make people overexert themselves, especially newcomers or those who push themselves too hard. The likelihood of muscle sprains, strains, and other yoga-related injuries can rise as a result. It’s crucial to pay attention to your body, take intervals when necessary, and refrain from forcing yourself into postures that are uncomfortable for you.
  • Cardiovascular stress: Due to the mix of high physical activity and the heat, hot yoga can impose additional stress on the cardiovascular system. Before doing hot yoga, people with heart ailments, high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular problems should speak with their doctor.
  • Heat stroke or heat fatigue risk: Hot yoga courses can potentially cause heat-related ailments including heat exhaustion or heat stroke due to the intense heat. Dizziness, nausea, headaches, a quick heartbeat, and confusion are possible symptoms. It’s crucial to be aware of these symptoms and act quickly if they appear, such as quitting the class, going somewhere cooler, and consuming plenty of water.
  • Not appropriate for everyone: Not everyone should practise hot yoga, especially those with certain sensitivities or medical issues. Hot yoga should be avoided by expectant mothers, those with respiratory conditions like asthma, and anyone who is sensitive to heat. These people should also talk to their doctor before trying it.
  • Hygiene problems: In hot yoga courses, the heat and perspiration can foster an environment where bacteria and fungi can flourish. It’s crucial to maintain excellent hygiene, so remember to bring your own mat, towel, and water bottle. You should also clean your equipment using antibacterial wipes.
  • Difficulty in focusing: The heat and discomfort in a hot yoga class can make it challenging to focus on proper alignment and breathing. It’s important to find a balance between pushing yourself and maintaining mindfulness to avoid potential injuries.

It’s important to approach hot yoga with caution, especially if you’re new to yoga or have any underlying health conditions. Consider starting with a beginner-level class, staying properly hydrated, and listening to your body’s limits.

Tips to prepare for hot yoga

The first hot yoga class you attend can be a little intimidating. Here is a guide on how to get ready for and what you should anticipate from your first hot yoga class to help you make the most of the experience.

Before

  • Be hydrated when you arrive!

The very first question that arises is how to prepare for a hot yoga class in the morning? Prior to your first lesson, make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day. Start drinking water the night before if you have an early morning lesson. The 80 to 105 degree room is considerably more tolerable since a hydrated body can expel heat more effectively. You won’t want to leave the room throughout class, and many of the poses are intended to stretch and compress the internal organs, so consider what it could feel like to have a full bladder. Be careful not to drink too much in the hour or so before class, though.

Eat light, healthful meals throughout the day leading up to the class, avoiding eating at least two hours prior. When attempting to “compress the abdominal wall, compress the abdominal muscles,” you’ll regret eating that enormous bowl of pasta covered in alfredo sauce.

  • Prepare yourself

A yoga mat, towel, and water bottle are required. If you don’t have one, you can rent a yoga mat and towel from the studio. One towel for their mat and one for oneself is preferred by some people. Plan properly as your clothes will be covered in perspiration by the end of class. Bring an alternate pair of clothes and some extra clothing if it’s freezing outdoors; after a hot yoga practice, the weather will feel even colder. Showers are typically available at studios, so you can prepare to take a shower before leaving.

  • How to dress?

Avoid donning large trousers and baggy apparel because you will perspire and they will become heavy. Select clothing that won’t restrict your movement and will still feel cosy even after getting sweaty. For women, tight shorts with a tank top or sports bra will do, while for men, casual shorts will do. Also, don’t wear cologne or perfume! Nobody wants to fill their lungs with an overpowering chemical-laden aroma before beginning a hot yoga practice with deep breathing movements.

  • Show up early

There will be some quick paperwork for you to complete, and this is a fantastic opportunity to ask the teacher any questions you might have. Avoid being late; studios frequently shut their doors at the start of class, causing you to miss the lesson. And even if they don’t lock their doors, having a student arrive late is disruptive. Additionally, you must attend the entire class in order to benefit fully from it.

During

  • Remain in your room!

It warms up. The positions are difficult. Be aware of your body. Sit down on your mat with your posture straight back, eyes wide open, and inhale if you feel like you need a break. In lieu of a child’s pose or savasana, we advise you to unwind while seated. This will give your lungs room to breathe and enable you to keep up with the other students through observation.

  • Remain focused on your own practice

The entire potential of our yoga practice can only be realised via interior focus. Stay in savasana for at least a few minutes after class. You get to enjoy the results of all your labour throughout practise here. Seize the opportunity to unwind and simply be.

  • Nobody gives a damn if you “suck.”

Yoga doesn’t care if you’re strong or flexible. Instead, it concerns your focus. While a peaceful mind in an “easy” stance is practising like an accomplished student, a fragmented mind in a “difficult” pose is practising like a beginner. Regardless of the poses, practising with deep, calm focus is advanced yoga. So, when moving, pay close attention to your breathing and your body’s interior sensations. Also keep in mind that all mental restrictions are created before any physical restrictions. You’ll never be able to perform a position if you believe you’ll never be able to. If you make a commitment to learning a posture, you will eventually master it. The effort is the same regardless of whether you tell yourself you can or you can’t.

After

You’ll probably feel fantastic

Many claim to feel at ease, in their element, and refreshed. You just did something amazing for yourself! You have stretched your internal organs, strengthened every muscle, relieved stress in every muscle, and created a compression effect around each organ, allowing your body to cure each organ by supplying it with newly oxygenated blood. You’ve also stretched your muscles, joints, and ligaments, sweated a lot, which helps your body detoxify. Wow!

FAQ’s

How can I get ready for hot yoga?

Drink plenty of water all day long, and eat something simple before class. Bring a towel and an extra set of clothes, and dress in breathable, moisture-wicking apparel.

How early should I show up for a hot yoga class?

To give yourself enough time to set up your mat and get used to the heat, try to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before your session.

Should I bring my own mat?

It’s recommended to bring your own mat for hygiene reasons. Check with the studio if they provide mats or if you need to bring your own.

What should I bring to hot yoga?

Bring a water bottle, a towel to wipe off sweat, and a change of clothes for after the class. Some people also bring a small towel to place on their mat for better grip.

Is it ok to eat before hot yoga?

In order to avoid feeling ill at ease during practice, it is essential to eat a small breakfast a few hours before your session. Digestive problems may result from large meals.

Before doing hot yoga, how much water should I drink?

To stay hydrated, consume plenty of water throughout the day before your lesson. Prior to the class, try to consume at least 16 to 20 ounces (480 to 600 ml) of water.

How do I stay safe during hot yoga?

Listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Stay hydrated, take breaks when needed, and inform your instructor if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

How should I cool down after hot yoga?

After class, cool down gradually by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position. Drink water to replenish fluids, and take a refreshing shower to regulate your body temperature.

How does temperature vary in basic yoga and hot yoga?

Here is a table which depicts the variation in the room temperature.

Basic yoga Hot yoga
Average Workout HR (bpm) 103 ± 9.7105 ± 9.0
Average Core Temperature (˚F) 99.3 ± 0.3899.7 ± 0.32
Average Room Temperature (˚F) 70.8 ± 3.4492.7 ± 1.81
Session RPE 12.3 ± 0.5713.6 ± 0.50
Average Humidity (%) 32 ± 5.935 ± 2.0
% Maximal HR 56 ± 5.057 ± 5.6

Can a beginner practise hot yoga?

Beginners may benefit from hot yoga, but it’s important to pay attention to your body, take pauses as needed, and alter poses as needed. Build your stamina gradually by beginning in a class that is appropriate for beginners.

What can I anticipate from a hot yoga class?

In a warm setting, you can anticipate a difficult, sweat-inducing practice. Your muscles will become more flexible, warm up, and perspiration will aid with cleansing.

Conclusion

In conclusion, preparing for hot yoga involves several key steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Stay hydrated, eat a light meal, dress appropriately, and arrive early to acclimate to the heat. Bringing a towel, water bottle, and a change of clothes is essential. 

Remember to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and cool down properly after class.

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Devina Prasad

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