This style of yoga, with its many variations, takes place in a heated room and is very demanding. Discover all you need to know about this sweaty practice with our advice below.
What is it?
There are many variations of hot yoga, from Bikram to Vinyasa flows, but the one main consistency is that this practice takes place in a heated room from 30ºC to 40ºC depending on the practice and studio. Generally this type of yoga focuses on physical poses (asanas), as well as breathing (pranayama). Certain types of Hot yoga, such as Bikram, have the same sequence of poses each class, with no variations. However, many yoga studios offer other styles of yoga, such as Vinyasa or Moksha in a heated room, to provide yogis a different variation on their usual practice. Bikram Choudhury was the first modern yoga teacher to start experimenting with yoga in a heated room in the 1970’s, and since then many styles have evolved out of his ideas. One thing is certain, this style of yoga will get your heart rate up, and make you sweat.
A regular practice can have many physical and mental benefits!
Can help with weight loss and heart health
Increases strength and balance
Aids in detoxification of your system
Reduces stress and anxiety
Increases sense of calm
Enhances mental focus
What to Expect in Your First Class?
Since there are many variations on this yoga practice, it is best to arrive early and ask the yoga teacher what to expect, whether it will be a set sequence or a flow style class. Be sure to stay hydrated before and during class, at Bikram studios they will even let you know when to start drinking water during the practice. It’s also good not to eat too much before your practice so you don’t feel too full or uncomfortable during your poses. Because the class is done in a heated room, it’s important to have proper hygiene and often studios don’t allow scents to not overwhelm others while the temperature is heating up. Finally, it’s very important to listen to your body and not go past your limits, stay humble and kind to yourself. Hot yoga is a demanding practice and many yogis say that they needed several classes to get into it, so teachers suggest trying a few classes before making your mind up if this practice is right for you!
What You Need to Practice - Comfort is Key
Choose a mat that is stable and not too thick.
You will sweat a lot, so it’s important to have a microfiber towel to cover your mat so you don’t slip.
Since you’ll get hot, it’s best to wear shorts or capris in a breathable fabric that allows you to move freely and doesn’t feel heavy once you’re drenched in sweat.
A breathable and light yoga bra is important, and you can choose to start with a tank top or t-shirt as well, although you may want to remove it once you get moving.
Certain hot yoga styles make use of equipment, such as yoga bricks and straps to help you get into poses without sacrificing technique.