If you’re one of many, taking a yoga class in normal room temperature could be challenging. Holding non-traditional postures for minutes at a time flexibility and mobility don’t come easy to most but studies have demonstrated that by incorporating yoga sessions into your fitness routine, you’ll see in an increase in joint and muscle movement and range-of-motion. In addition, by increasing the temperature in the room during a yoga class, your blood vessels dilate and increase circulation to your limbs thus increasing mobility. Considering most of us barely make time for a basic yoga class, how exactly do we prepare for a hot yoga session?
1. Choose your hot yoga class wisely. There are a few types of hot yoga class offerings. If you’re used to a vinyasa class, perhaps hot vinyasa will be a good transition for you as the temperature usually fluctuates between 95-99 degrees. If you are a more advanced yogi, perhaps a Bikram yoga class would be appropriate since you may have experience holding postures through deep breathing and higher temperatures.
2. Hydrate every hour before your class. As a first-timer, I would recommend a hot yoga class later in the day versus first thing in the morning. This will help you prep for the class with adequate hydration. Whether you are taking a lunchtime or evening hot yoga class, hydrate every hour until just before class especially if you sweat easily. Not only is it important to drink water, but it’s also important to eat water-rich foods such as oranges, watermelons, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, berries, cucumbers, and pineapple. In addition, keep at least 32 fl oz of water with you during your yoga class.
3. Bring cold towels. Sure, an Equinox or a Pure Yoga may offer cold towels but traditional yoga studios may not be equipped with a cold towel fridge. Keep a towel or two in your freezer and transport it with ice in a ziploc bag into your class. While the cold effect may wear off quickly depending on the length of class time, it’ll certainly refresh you temporarily and hopefully keep you going! Even if you have to take a break, keep it on your neck to relieve dizziness or shortness of breath.
4. Wear cool clothes. Choose lightweight or breathable workout wear for your hot yoga class. If you’re not used to wearing a bralette or crop tops, now’s the time to try! Either wear layers that are easy to remove or wear less to begin with so that you’re not distracted by the heaviness of workout attire under a sweat fest. Oh and don’t fret about how you look in less clothing, be kind to yourself and focus on getting through a challenging workout.
5. Plan a pre-workout energy boost. Aside from adequate hydration, fuel is equally as important. You can’t fight through any workout feeling hungry or hangry because you’ll lose focus. Try to consume between 150-200 calories about 1 hour or so before your class begins in the form of a carbohydrate / protein / fiber combination. For example, consider a banana + 1 Tbsp nut butter, string cheese + 3-4 crackers, or a Greek yogurt with 1-2 Tbsp chopped nuts.
While the thought of a hot yoga session does seem daunting, it’s just one of those things where if you prep for it, you’ll be able to conquer the workout and feel accomplished.