Here at Go Yoga, you might have guessed that we LOVE hot yoga.
We love the way the heat loosens our tight muscles. We love the greater flexibility it gives us in our poses. We love the way it helps with our deep breathing and gaining mental focus. And, we love the detoxifying effect it has on our bodies and how we feel thoroughly cleansed each time we leave the studio.
Hot yoga, is however, very different to other forms of yoga that you might have practised previously. It can often be quite intense, and the heat can change the way you feel each time you practice depending on your mood and the way your body is at that time.
It is therefore really useful to prepare accordingly for your hot yoga session. With a few simple pieces of advice, you can get the best out of your lesson and start to reap all the rewards that come with this amazing practice….
Although your body will need energy to carry you through a vigorous hot Vinyasa flow class, it’s important to leave enough time for your food to digest so that you don’t experience a cramp or start to feel nauseous mid-way through.
We recommend eating at least 1-2 hours before the start of a class for optimum results.
Make sure what you eat before a lesson is something light as a heavy meal won’t mix very well with the heat and the flow of movement. Try something like a banana with peanut butter, a homemade granola bar or an oatmeal protein ball.
Following your class eat a good mix of protein, grains and complex carbohydrates to help your body to restore.
When it comes to hot yoga and what to wear, comfort has to come first. Dress as lightly as possible to prepare for the heat and minimise the weight on your body once your clothes become sweaty!
We always bring layers to remove during a class, so ladies, you could start with some thin leggings or shorts with a sports bra and a sleeveless t-shirt or vest over the top, and then remove your top layer if you feel the need. Guys can opt for shorts or leggings with a thin t-shirt or vest, which could also be removed later on in the class.
If you have long hair, it’s usually better tied up to avoid stray hair sticking to your face while in Downward Facing Dog, and many of our clients wear a headband too.
Once class is finished, make sure to bring at least one new layer to ensure you don’t get a chill. You might still feel warm after class, but once the cold air hits you outside, you will need a light sweater or hoodie.
It does really go without saying but drinking lots of water before and after a hot yoga session is really important, especially as you will be losing a lot of fluid from your body in the form of sweat. Drink plenty of water throughout the day if you are attending an evening class, and also once you get home and before you go to bed.
Bring a large bottle of water with you to each class and take small frequent sips when you need to. Big gulps could make you feel a bit sick and dizzy, so try to avoid this.
We wouldn’t usually recommend drinking water that is ice cold during any physical activity – opting instead for water that is around room temperature - but as the yoga studio will become very hot, you might want to bring colder water, which will warm up within a few minutes of being in the room! You want to feel refreshed after all, and not like you are drinking a cup of tea!
Remember your towel
If you’re anything like us, you will be dripping with sweat after about ten minutes from the class starting! It’s all good though – so will everyone else around you and this is one of the many benefits of hot yoga and its detoxifying results.
Try to remember to bring a clean towel with you or a large cloth to use when you start to feel like you need it. Drying yourself and your mat frequently could help prevent you from slipping or sliding around as you practice your flow.
Relax when you need to
Even the most experienced of yogis can occasionally feel overwhelmed in a hot yoga class. It’s not unusual to feel lightheaded or uncomfortable in certain postures, and it’s a sign that your body wants you to take things a bit easier and perhaps take a rest.
It’s always good to challenge yourself in order to improve your practice, however, it’s more than okay to take a restorative pose during times when your body is telling you to do so. Take a Child’s Pose, Downward Facing Dog or Corpse Pose whenever you like during a class. No one will judge you and no one will even be looking what you are doing as they will be too involved in their own practice.
With a little rest and relax you will soon adjust to the heat and be ready to continue.
Remember that every class is different and every time you enter the yoga studio, your body (and mind) will be a little bit different too.
Embrace how you feel and go with your gut instinct!
We run hot yoga classes most days at Go Yoga Harrogate. Check out our timetable for all the details and sessions. See you there!