Back in August I began going to hot yoga a few times a week. Over the past few months it has become a vital part of my wellness routine and I practice 3 to 5 times a week. Even if I don’t do a yoga class or an at-home sequence, I use so many of the stretches and poses daily. The yogic breathing helps me stay calm and centered, legs up the wall pose is deeply relaxing, and I often find myself in a child’s pose if I’m especially stressed out.
It can be a little overwhelming to start a yoga routine so here are my top tips for you.
Do a few beginner classes from YouTube before you go to the studio.
It’s stressful if the instructor calls out a pose and you have not a single idea what it looks like. Doing 3-4 short yoga videos in the comfort and privacy of your home makes walking into your first class a lot easier. It feels good to walk in with some confidence on your first day. The only videos from YouTube I’ve done are Yoga With Adriene and I highly recommend her for any level.
Know what you’re getting into
A few things I didn’t know when I began going to classes regularly:
- Yin means restorative, relaxing yoga. It usually uses props like a bolster, blanket, and blocks to make poses as comfortable as possible. It’s basically the 8-10 minute stretch at the end of a class for a whole hour
- Hot yoga is typically about 95 degrees, which feels a lot hotter than I expected. It varies a lot between instructors; I’ve been in classes ranging from 92 to 98 degrees. Bring a towel and prepare to sweat buckets.
- Flow or Vinyasa is a type of yoga class that consists of poses broken up by “flows” or transitions, linking movement to breath. This builds a lot of heat in the body so prepare for a bit more of a workout
- Bikram yoga is in a heated room and follows a specific set of 26 postures
Try a few different types of classes. I never thought I’d enjoy Yin but now I go twice a week and truly cherish the hour. My yoga routine usually consists of 2 flow classes and two yin classes (both are hot) each week.
What to wear
Usually leggings, a sports bra, and a comfortable, fitted tank top or t shirt are ideal. In most classes, if other women are just in sports bras, I’ll do that too. No matter what you’re wearing, make sure your bottoms are relatively high-waisted. No one in the row behind you wants to see that much.
Most studios have mats to rent if you’d rather not purchase one and a rug is good enough for an at-home practice. There are a lot of inexpensive options for mats if you’d like one but aren’t willing to spend too much. If you want to be more serious about your yoga routine, there are some nice mats from Lululemon that fold instead of roll so they can fit in a tote bag.
If you’re getting into hot yoga, a mat towel is a worthwhile investment that keeps your mat from getting slippery and wet from sweat. I never go to class without mine!
If your class is hot, bring a hand towel or a washcloth to wipe your face every once in a while. You’ll be happy you have it.