Embrace the heat with
What Is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga refers to yoga exercises performed under hot and humid conditions. Often associated with the style devised by Bikram Choudhury, hot yoga is now used to describe any number of yoga styles that use heat to increase an individual’s flexibility in the poses. In colder climates, hot yoga often seeks to replicate the heat and humidity of India where yoga originated.
What Is Involved?
Traditional Hot Yoga is a series of twenty-six postures performed in a precise order, in a room heated to 42 °C (108 °F). The postures combined with heat help cleanse the body and warm the muscles. This class systematically works the entire body, concentrating on the essence of every organ, bone, joint, muscle, ligament, tendon, blood vessel, nerve and gland. Incorporating strength, balance, and flexibility. Some of the benefits students of Bikram yoga enjoy include enhanced flexibility, successful recovery from injury (due to deep stretching), and the endless flushing of toxins due to increased perspiration.
Who Is Hot Yoga For?
Because of its intensity and potential to cause heat-related illness, hot yoga isn’t for everyone. Be sure you check with your doctor before trying hot yoga if you have any health concerns. As a beginner, you wouldn’t want to do too much too soon, but as your fitness level and recovery improve, you will be able to increase workout volume and intensity.
If you have heart disease, problems with dehydration or heat intolerance, or have had heat-related illness (such as heatstroke) in the past, it is probably best to skip hot yoga. Pregnant women should also pass on this type of yoga.
If you have no health concerns and you want to try a hot yoga class, be sure to drink plenty of water, and stop if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or sick in any way.
How Often Can You Do Hot Yoga?
For Beginners, 1-2 times a week is sufficent to improve flexibility. For intermediate yogis, at 3-4 times a week a new awareness develops and the physical changes happen more rapidly. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
How Can You Expect to Feel?
It is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive and nervous before your first Hot Yoga class. Once you get your first class out of the way, a lot of the apprehension will disappear.
The key to enjoying hot yoga is to go in prepared. Being aware of your own health is key. It’s important to be well-hydrated before taking a hot yoga class, drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day in anticipation.
During the Class
Time will fly! You might experience mixed emotions. Just go with it. Remind yourself that you are new and that you have to start somewhere. It might seem like the class is moving a little faster than you would like, but that is only because the terminology and movements are somewhat unfamiliar. With each class, you will become a little bit more comfortable and a little more focused on the workout.
After the Class
You will be excited to get your first class under your belt. It is important to know that you will be sore. With any new workout or at the start of any exercise program, you experience muscle soreness. This is because your body is adjusting to the demand being placed on your muscles and is perfectly normal.
What To Wear
The most important thing to wear is comfortable workout attire. Most people wear track pants, shorts, and t-shirts, while some are more comfortable in Lycra. You should feel comfortable enough to move and sweat.
What To Bring
Bring a yoga mat, a large towel, a water bottle, and your energy!
It is important to arrive 15 minutes before class to meet the instructor. During these 15 minutes, the instructor will ensure that you are comfortable during your first class and answer any questions you may have. The instructor will ask you such questions as:
- Have you ever exercised?
- Have you ever participated in group fitness?
- Have you ever done any yoga workouts?
- Do you have any injuries or problems that might affect your ability to participate?
Where To Stand
The best place to stand is within clear view of the instructor. It is not necessary to be at the front, but try to be in the center of the room. It is important to avoid mirrors and to concentrate on the instructor. He or she is the best source of visual technique information. Mirrors are distracting and sometimes relay unnecessary information. Mirrors might tell you that you look silly doing the moves, even though you might really be having fun. So please ignore them!
How To Approach Your First 3 Classes
It is good to attend your first couple of classes with the simple objective of learning the movements, the class format, and the basic terminology used. Try not to concentrate so much on the quality of your workout; that will come later as you become more familiar with the movements. In your first three classes, simply concentrate on the names and objectives of the moves.
Talk To the Instructor
Remember to talk to the instructor after class. For example, let him or her know how you felt and if anything was particularly challenging for you. The instructor will then make recommendations for your next class. Most of all have fun during your first Hot Yoga experience!