Yoga Hacks has taken a brief hiatus since its last post, and today it’s back with something that many people have been asking me on my tumblr blog – what to expect from a hot yoga class, and whether it is as daunting as it seems. These 10 tips will be immensely useful if you’re thinking about going for your first hot yoga class, or if you’ve been practicing hot yoga for awhile now but did not know!
Check out these 10 tips below:
1. Do not go for hot yoga class with an empty stomach
That being said, don’t go to hot yoga with a bloated stomach either. A good gauge would be to have a meal 1.5 hours before the class, and make sure that you are not too full. If you feel peckish, grab a banana before your class. I personally still wouldn’t eat anything 30 minutes before a class, but of course, that’s really up to individual and how you feel. Try to have something light and easily digestible too, so your stomach won’t feel too uncomfortable during class.
2. Hydrate yourself before your class
It is always good to keep yourself hydrated, no matter whether you have a hot yoga class ahead of you or not. Because a hot yoga class will make you perspire a lot, you should make sure to have lots of water throughout the day if your hot yoga class happens later in the day or in the evening. If your class is in the morning, I would have a glass of water 30 minutes before class so as to make sure that I’m properly hydrated.
3. Enter the heated studio around 10 to 15 minutes before the class starts
This is so as to acclimatise yourself to the heat before the class actually starts. I personally find this tip really useful when I first started hot yoga, because my body was able to adjust to the room’s temperature before I started class proper. That would reduce the likeliness that you would feel giddy or nauseous during class.
4. Try not to wipe your perspiration dry during class
Your body has a way of regulating its own body temperature, and sweating it out is one of the ways for your body to cool down. As the sweat evaporates from your body, that takes away some of the heat from your body through the evaporation process. Therefore, when you constantly wipe your face and body dry in the middle of class, your body gets conflicting signals, and that’s when you feel warmer and warmer. So, unless the perspiration is getting to your eyes, try not to wipe them off your body.
5. Do not leave the room!
Sometimes the heat gets really unbearable and it is tempting to want to go out of the room to cool down. However, because your body hasn’t properly cooled down yet, going out into the air conditioning can shock your body and you might feel giddy, or even pass out. Therefore, it is safer for you to stay in the room and lie down on the mat if the heat gets overwhelming, instead of leaving the room.
6. Take small sips of water
If you’re thirsty in the middle of class, try to take small sips of water instead of gulping the water down, as it might cause to feel bloated, and you might feel nauseous during certain poses, especially backbends such as camel pose. So if you’re parched, just drink small sips of water to wet your mouth instead. Gulp down the water only after class!
7. Always go back to child’s pose or savasana
If you feel giddy during the asanas, just go back to child’s pose or lie down on the mat in savasana. Always listen to your body, let go of your ego, and do what your body feels comfortable for you. Do not force yourself through an asana, or continue even when you feel unwell! Child’s pose and savasana is always your go-to poses.
8. Always breathe in and out through your nose
When we are in the middle of an intense sequence, we tend to get breathless and there is a tendency for us to breathe through our mouths. However, this can cause us to hyperventilate and feel giddy. Always breathe in and out through your nose, engage your ujjayi breathing. That will help you get your heartrate back down a little.
9. Wipe yourself dry before stepping out
Once the class has ended, do remember to wipe your perspiration dry especially if you’re soaked after class. That way, you won’t catch a cold when you step back out into the air conditioning after your class!
10. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Always remember to drink lots of water throughout the day after your hot yoga class, because you have lost a lot of water through perspiring and you need to replenish the water lost in your body. Natural coconut water is a great alternative as well, as it contains easily digested carbohydrate in the form of sugar and electrolytes.