Hot Yoga: A Beginner’s Guide

Hot Yoga

Get Ready to Sweat Your Way to Good Health

Hot Yoga, also referred to as Bikram Yoga, is a great workout for everyone, for beginners and advanced practitioners alike. People from all age groups and fitness levels are joining in and embracing this current trend. So why not doff your clothing (well, not all of it, you’ll still need proper workout gear) and join the ranks of those who have discovered the benefits and joys of a hot yoga practice? Be prepared to come back for more, as this sweaty practice tends to be addicting.

What is Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is a series of postures practiced in a warm and humid environment. Temperatures range from 98-105 °F (37-41 °C). The heat allows your muscles to stretch deeper than they would otherwise with less danger of injury, and detoxifies and cleanses your body via sweat. Classes are between 60 and 90 minutes in length, and involve a standing series, which focuses on strength, balance and endurance; and a mat series, which focuses more on stretching and improving flexibility.

What to Wear to Hot Yoga

Wear lightweight clothing, preferably quick-drying, anti-sweat athletic wear. Most men prefer to go shirtless and wear shorts; for women, the standard is a tank top or sports bra with shorts or lightweight yoga-style pants.

What to Bring to Hot Yoga

The three basics are: mat, towel, and water. Most studios have these readily available to rent or purchase; however, some studios are no longer offering bottled water due to environmental and health concerns, so it’s best to bring your own.

You’ll also want to bring a change of clothing with you, so you don’t leave the studio wearing your sweaty workout gear. A lock is a good idea if you plan on bringing valuables into the studio, there are usually locker facilities on-site. Most of all, bring an open mind and a readiness to learn.

Benefits of Hot Yoga

The benefits of hot yoga are endless. Yoga works on many different levels, both physical and psychological; and the deeper, lasting benefits are more noticeable over time and a regular practice. But even just one hot yoga session will leave you feeling relaxed, energized, and renewed; and will fill you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Some benefits include:

  • De-stress/relaxation
  • Tones muscle/improves core strength
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite control
  • Curbs anxiety/depression
  • Improves posture
  • Aids in proper digestion
  • Decreases headaches

Many people involved in sports also find hot yoga beneficial in improving their performance. Runners, golfers, hockey players, boxers, and yes, even desk jockeys benefit from a regular hot yoga practice.

Hot Yoga Tips:

  • Drink plenty of water prior to the studio. At least 1 – 2L throughout the day is best.
  • Don’t eat 2 – 3 hours before class to prevent nausea.
  • Be silent in the practice room. Many people enjoy this time to meditate before class.
  • Respect those with allergies/sensitivities and don’t wear perfumed/scented products to class, as the heat and humidity will intensify the scent.
  • If you ever feel nauseous, dizzy or tired during class, simply lie down on your mat and enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the heat. Pretend you’re on a Caribbean island!
  • Relax, breathe deeply, and most of all, have a great class!