Some like it hot...and some like it really hot. If you like it really hot, then you might enjoy Hot Yoga!
Hot Yoga is not like other Yoga disciplines. The heat creates an entirely different environment and also an entirely different set of requirements for your practice.
Whether you’re a seasoned hot yogi or getting ready to take your first-ever Hot Yoga class, these hot tips will guide you to getting the most out of your time.
1. Hydrate Wisely
Since we sweat so much in hot Yoga, we need to make sure we’re staying hydrated. This means drinking plenty of fluids before and after you practice. But not all fluids are created equal.
Water is the safe go-to but doesn’t offer the added benefit of electrolytes. Sports drinks have electrolytes but also a ton of added sugar and other not-so-good-for-you ingredients.
Coconut water is an excellent choice for rehydrating your body after a sweaty hot Yoga session. It contains 5 key electrolytes, potassium, and B-Vitamins without any of the added sugars of sports drinks.
2. Hack the Way You Drink Water
Don’t have coconut water on hand? You can still create your own electrolyte water! All you need is a pinch of salt and a lemon wedge to add to your filtered water. Just make sure you’re staying hydrated before, during, and after your hot Yoga practice.
Want to make sure you’re drinking enough water each day? There’s a hack for that too! Divide how much you weigh in half, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, a 120-pound female should drink at least 60 ounces of water daily.
Don’t chug water throughout, but small sips here and there will quench your thirst.
Your best bet it to drink water throughout the day allows your body time to absorb it before class; or the night before if you have a morning class. If you don’t drink water until you reach the studio, you won’t feel its effects until your class is almost over. The sweat you release during class, then, will be emptying your body of water that it hasn’t yet stored, which can lead to electrolyte imbalances and cramping.
3. Make Sure Your Water Stays Cold
Normally it’s not recommended to drink ice-cold water during physical activities, because your body inefficiently processes liquids below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (below your core body temperature), but if you’re heading to hot Yoga, you may want to bring water that’s close to freezing. The studio temperature will immediately warm your water, so unless it’s ice-cold to start, it’ll become too hot by the end of class. You can also invest in a hydro flask or similar insulated product; that will keep your drink cold for up to 10 hours. Bringing super-chilled water will ensure that it will be the right temperature when you’re ready to drink it.
4. You Need to Get a Grip
You sweat a lot in Hot Yoga – that’s the point! But many Yoga mats lose their grip and traction when they get wet. Slipping can be distracting and even dangerous, so it’s important to find a Yoga mat that maintains – or has even better – traction when you sweat.
You can also consider using a Yoga mat towel that covers your entire mat. Look for a towel that has grips on the bottom so it stays in place during your practice. Cork Yoga mats, mats with a textured top layer, and Yoga mat towels are the best bet for a safe and successful Hot Yoga practice.
5. Don’t Let Your Sweat Distract You
Sweating is awesome, but it shouldn’t get in the way of your focus. First, wear a headband to prevent sweat from dripping into your eyes (this is definitely distracting!). Next, be sure to bring a hand towel to keep at the top of your mat. You can use it to wipe your sweat and also dry off between poses.
Since you’ll be sweating, don’t bother doing your hair or makeup before class – just pull your hair back in a bun or ponytail. For the same reason, don’t put on lotion before class either – it’ll get slimy and slippery once you start to sweat.
6. Bring Two Towels
The temperatures and sequences in hot Yoga are designed to make you sweat — there’s a good chance you’ll be dripping by your third pose. And while your Yoga mat can provide cushioning and support, it won’t soak up that amount of moisture.
Bring both a Hot Yoga towel l to place over your mat and prevent yourself from slipping and sliding, and an additional Microfiber Gym towel to wipe yourself off between exercises and after class. Check out our favorite Microfiber Towel...
7. Fuel Yourself Before Class – But Don’t Overeat
Your body will need fuel from a healthy meal for your practice, but you never want to practice Hot Yoga on a full stomach. It’s best to eat 2-4 hours before you practice (try not to eat anything within an hour of class).
If you’re starving and need a little snack (or if you practice early in the morning), opt for a handful of nuts or dried fruit so you won’t feel weighed down during class.
It’s important to eat two to four hours before your class. Your body will need the energy, but try not to eat anything within an hour of hitting the mat as the combination of heat and exercise may make you nauseated.
If you must eat right before class, pick something light like fruit or nuts. Anything heavy could cause you to cramp or feel sick in the middle of the series — not the most fun or productive way to practice!
8. Dress Light
Hot Yoga is no place to worry about your appearance. Dress for comfort and to minimize heat and weight on your body. The lighter and sparer, the better.
Don’t bother with fancy hair or makeup. You’ll probably sweat too much for it to matter. Keep your hair clean and pulled back, perhaps adding a headband to keep sweaty strands off your face.
Be sure to wear clothing that is breathable, sweat-wicking, and stretchy.
Since the temperature is hot, less is more! If you feel comfortable, go topless (guys) or show off that sports bra ladies! Choose shorts or capris over leggings, and look for lightweight, high-performance fabrics.
9. Always Shower Immediately After Class
This may be a given, but the reason might not be so obvious. When we sweat, our bodies are pulling toxins to the surface of our skin through the pores. If you don’t shower immediately after to rinse off those toxins, they’ll just get absorbed right back into your body, which negates the detoxifying aspect of Hot Yoga! Not showering can also cause or promote bacterial and fungal infections, and give you bacne.
10. Take Care of Your Hot Yoga Clothes
All that sweat can really wreak havoc on your Yoga clothes in the form of stubborn odors. It’s important to rinse your Hot Yoga clothes after class and wash them as soon as possible.
But oftentimes, normal detergent isn’t enough and typically only masks (as opposed to removing) odors. Choose safe, natural products like OdorKlenz SPORT Laundry Additive that actually removes odors from fabrics without any harsh chemicals or toxins.
11. Always Shower Immediately After Class
This may be a given, but the reason might not be so obvious. When we sweat, our bodies are pulling toxins to the surface of our skin through the pores. If you don’t shower immediately after to rinse off those toxins, they’ll just get absorbed right back into your body, which negates the detoxifying aspect of Hot Yoga!
12. Bundle Up After
You’ll want to dress minimally for class, but make sure to bundle up and stay warm afterward. Unless it’s high noon on a summer day, the outdoor air will feel colder than the humid, hot Yoga studio and it is easy to become chilled or tight.
Bring along a post-Yoga outfit. Your workout wear will be soaked anyway, so you’ll need clean, dry, warm clothes to protect your body from the elements.
13. Maintain a Regular Practice, Including Rest Days
Hot Yoga is an amazing practice with a wide range of benefits. Yet it’s also an intense form of Yoga that, just like any other intense form of exercise, works best when we give our bodies the opportunity to rest and restore.
We recommend you practice 3-4 times a week for consistency and to see results, which means you’ve got at least 2-3 days per week to relax and let your body recover so you can hit the mat feeling strong, healthy, and ready for more!
Don’t Sweat It!
Hot Yoga is a pretty challenging style of Yoga. But don’t let its tough nature scare you off! The benefits of practicing in a heated room are many, and those who stick with the hot stuff often find themselves stronger and more flexible than ever before.