Recently I started going to a great studio that offers a variety of classes all in a hot studio, 95-105 degrees. This studio has some different offerings I've never seen before. They have vinyasa yoga, barre, cycle, lifting and a specialty class called method. I've only had a chance to try method, barre and vinyasa. I love the variety this studio offers, their philosophy and the overall atmosphere. I have done Bikram yoga in the past and loved it so I figured I'd have to try this too. Below are some pointers I've learned through trial and error. Please learn from my yoga mistakes.
DO arrive early. Give yourself time to set up, get acclimated to the heat and to clear your mind.
DO start slow. Every class, instructor and day is different. Whether this is your first class or hundredth, just because the person in front of you does every extra push-up and extra leg lift doesn't mean you should.
DO listen to your body, some poses are difficult because of past injuries, inflexibility or balance. Do not force a pose. Allow your body to move.
DO focus on your breath, especially for vinyasa yoga. Vinyasa flow is great for people who like to be in constant motion. It's not so great if you have a tendency to hold your breath or let your mind wander. It's important to focus on your breathing and the movements. This will help you from wondering how long it's been, why you signed up in the first place and if you are ever going to stop sweating.
DO drink when you're thirsty. Bring a larger water bottle with ice because well you know your water will get hot. I love my hydroflask. It keeps water cold the entire class and is big enough to get you the entire class.
DO keep going. The more you do hot yoga, the better your body will be able to tolerate the heat. The better your skin will look and believe it or not you'll start to crave it.
DO bring a towel or two, or in my case three. One to lay on top of your mat, one to wipe off the sweat when there's so much you can't see and one for the seat of your car for the drive home.
DON'T stare at your toes wondering when the last time you got a pedicure and then accidentally run through your schedule to see if you can fit one in. Stay in the movement and breath otherwise you might miss a transition or lose your balance. Not that I would know from personal experience.
DON'T compare yourself to your neighbor. You don't know how long they have been coming, their fitness level or flexibility.
DO however look to your neighbor for proper positioning. Sometimes you are upside down and backward so looking to the instructor in the front is difficult. Use those around you for guidance as this will help you stay in the position as if yuh both are wrong at least you are in it together.
DON'T worry if sweat drips directly into your nose in downward dog makes you feel as though you might drown. It's perfectly normal. I can't be the only one this happens to, right?
DO eat a small snack before and at least 16 oz. of water. Just makes sure you don't chug the water right before class. A full belly will be very uncomfortable.
DO drag a friend along so you have someone to look at when you hit that point you don't think you can handle the heat one more minute and to smile at when you finish.
DO bring at least a shirt to change into after. Your clothes will be drenched and you will be hot at first, the swear will still be pouring off of you and then all of the sudden you will be cold.
DO continue to drink water after class and remember to eat. Your body will need the fuel. Preferably not a burger or chips. That just defeats the purpose.
DO wear capris and a sweat wicking tank. Please for your sake and the others in the room, do NOT wear a cotton shirt. They hold smells and just think of how heavy it will be at the end.
DO wear a good deodorant. I'm an all natural deodorant lover but for runs over 10 miles and hot yoga I break out the clinical strength stuff.
DO tell the studio your new. No one wants to be the new person but it's helpful for the instructor to know.
DO find a spot near the door and in the back. This is often times just a tiny bit cooler, a really really tiny bit. Also if you get dizzy or just aren't able to handle the heat it makes for much more graceful exit than playing frogger through a bunch of moving people abs they pier yoga mats.
DON'T be self conscious about unsightly sweat marks. By the end of class your whole outfit will be wet. Sounds fun right? Seriously, it's SO worth it.
DON'T go out Friday night and have one too many glasses of wine and use your Saturday morning hot yoga class as a detox. It's not pretty and you will feel awful. So I've heard.