7 Tips for Surviving Hot Yoga
I did hot yoga and felt like I was going to pass out...
Holy smokes, hot yoga is something else. Now, I may be a bit dramatic, but I nearly died—or pass out, but hey, I'm dramatic. I actually enjoyed it though, after my body got used to feeling like it was on fire..
For those who may not know, hot yoga (also known as bikram yoga) is yoga performed in a hot room—pretty easy concept.
I had been thinking of trying hot yoga for a while but never did it because, well, I’m not a masochist, but I’ve become obsessed with putting myself in uncomfortable situations to push myself so, why not do hot yoga? I knew the room would be 38 degrees celsius, but oh girl, I was so not prepared for that heat. Being the middle of winter, my body has well and truly accustomed to the colder weather; I mean, the first thing I do when I get home is put my dressing gown on, so it was quite a shock to endure that kind of temperature for 45 minutes. But you do get used to it, I promise! Keep in mind, it’s not supposed to be easy. I don’t think anyone goes to hot yoga expecting it to be a walk in the park—it actually was a very relaxing form of exercise though! You’ll just have to trust me on that. I have a few tips on how to make it more bearable.
Drink lots of water
You sweat, a lot. Like, I’m not usually much of a sweater when I work out—I glisten—but I’m going to be real with you, I was dripping! You can only imagine how much hydration you lose from sweating that much so it is incredibly important that you hydrate yourself before your class. This leads me into my next tip..
Do a night class instead of a morning class
If you have the option, do a night class, it gives you more time (the whole day, in fact) to hydrate yourself instead of a morning class where you’re likely to be getting up and going straight there. Unless you can down a couple of litres of water first thing in the morning, or you’re a seasoned hot yoga attendee, I wouldn’t recommend doing a morning class until you’re more comfortable with the conditions.
I don’t just mean while doing the yoga, but when you first enter the room. For me, the heat was quite stifling to begin with and I felt a little claustrophobic. So remember to breathe, and if you do feel uncomfortable, stay calm and leave for a minute or two to catch your breath. If you feel like you may feel a little claustrophobic too, I recommend taking a place toward the back of the room and closer to the door in case you do want to leave the room. Make sure you continue to focus on your breathing throughout the entire class.
Take a couple of towels
Going back to the sweating issue, it can be a little difficult to do some of the poses because you sweat from literally every surface on your body. Imagine trying to do the downward dog while your palms are sweating. It’s not easy. Take a towel and dry your hands, and wherever else, when you need to.
Do not wear ‘winter workout clothes’
I repeat, choose your clothing wisely! This one sounds obvious but please make sure you wear short sleeves and either shorts or leggings, as mentioned, it gets real warm. Even if you’re normally cold all the time, you won’t be in hot yoga, I promise you that. Be aware that whatever you wear will be covered in sweat too.
Be open minded
A lot of people rule out hot yoga without ever trying it. I found it to be very refreshing for my body. It’s amazing how rejuvenated you feel after putting your body through something uncomfortable. Hot yoga has a ‘detoxifying’ feel to it and you leave with the same rush of endorphins you get after a workout.
Listen to your body
Remember, you're putting your body through quite a bit so notice how it feels. If you feel dizzy or faint, take a rest. Take water and make sure you stay as hydrated as possible during the class. If you feel your heart rate increasing rapidly or higher than you're used to, if you feel out of breath, slow it down and just focus on your breathing. If you can, sit closer to the exit so you can discreetly leave if you feel like it's too much.
You’ll be surprised at how capable you are and how much you can control just by focusing on your breathing.