Some Things to Consider Before Signing Up
Hot yoga isn’t for everyone and there are many factors that go into deciding if it is right for you. It isn’t for the faint of heart; it takes guts to endure the inferno. So, do you think you’re up to the challenge?
Questions to Ask Yourself
Have you ever done yoga of any kind before? Do you have any medical conditions that could hinder your experience? Call ahead to the studio beforehand to make sure any health issues you may have will be permitted.
Do you like the heat? If you are a complainer during the hot summer months and seek the air conditioning everywhere you go, hot yoga may not be for you. Hot yoga is not a fluffy term added to try and bring in patrons — it’s really hot, like, 105 degrees Fahrenheit hot.
You will sweat from places on your body you didn’t know had sweat glands. Your shins will sweat, the tops of your feet will sweat — your entire body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, will be dripping by the end of class. This may seem humiliating, but as you try and open your eyes through the sweat droplets covering them, you will see that everyone else in the room is just as sweaty.
You’ve decided you’re ready to face the heat — what comes next?
It’s time to prepare yourself for your first class. Most studios suggest coming early to class, rolling out your mat and lying motionless in the heat until class starts to acclimatize yourself.
For most, this is a relaxing experience where they can drift off in their own thoughts and clear their minds. For others, lying in the heat, sweating before you even start the workout, isn’t their cup of tea.
Wearing comfortable and stretchy sweat-wicking clothing goes without saying. Don’t layer on too much, as you will be stripped down to nearly nothing by the end anyway.
Don’t forget a towel to help dry your palms, feet and face during the session. When I said your hands would sweat, I wasn’t kidding. Without your towel, you’ll be slipping and sliding all over the place so you will need it, or two.
Also make sure you have a big bottle of water to help hydrate as you go. Passing out during a yoga flow could disturb your neighbor — oh and it could be pretty unpleasant for you too.
Each class generally runs 90 minutes so be sure to set aside at least two hours of time to attend a class. Deciding to try a hot yoga class takes commitment; not only a time commitment, but an emotional one. You may feel nervous and afraid going into your first class, which can take a lot out of you emotionally.
Speaking From Experience
For some, hot yoga can be a soothing, relaxing escape from their busy lives. For others it can be like walking into a furnace with no hope of escaping until the end of class.
Speaking from personal experience, I was the person who was nervous and fearful. I went with a friend who swore by how amazing it made her feel. Being a yoga virgin, I had no idea what to expect, except extreme temperatures and stretching my body in front of a room full of strangers and in front of a mirror that would show my every curve.
I went out and bought a special yoga outfit, keeping in mind the inferno I had agreed to enter. When we arrived at the studio, I was ready to run for the hills when she said she likes to sit in the room for 20 minutes before class.
It was at this point she informed me the class ran for 90 minutes. Not being one for the hot temperatures in the summer, being told I had to be in a room for nearly two hours that ranks hotter than the hottest day of the year made me think she’d had a nervous breakdown. But at this point I had paid for the session, rented my mat, and had bought the outfit.
I was heading in whether I wanted to or not. When I got down on the floor with my eyes closed I started to fall deeper and deeper into a relaxed state. Maybe she was right — maybe this wasn’t such a crazy idea after all. Until one of the most attractive men in the world set up shop next to me. Then the fear started to return.
I’m stuck in a hot room, with a hot guy right next to me, not knowing at all what to do. When the instructor appeared I knew I had to focus to make it through the next 90 minutes. Over the next hour and a half, while trying to inconspicuously look around the room at others, I realized they were all drenched in sweat, all losing their balance at times and looking like they might pass out from the heat.
When I heard the instructor say it was the end of class, I was relieved and relaxed. I’d made it through the whole thing successfully. I felt rejuvenated, centered and stinky.
Hot yoga isn’t for everyone, but it is worth the experience to either add it to your workout routine as an alternative to your regular circuit, or to add to your funny stories to tell around the dinner table if your experience isn’t wonderful. And if nothing else, it’s cheaper than a tropical vacation if heat is what you seek this winter!