HOW TO START HOT YOGA! – BY ELEANOR MAY

May 25, 2016 2:42 pm

Hot yoga is a particular form of yoga where the room is heated to between 35-40 degrees (yup, really!). It was pioneered by Bikram Choudry when he found that the cooler climate of North America’s East Coast limiting to his practice. Originally, only Bikram yoga was practiced in heated rooms but recently the style has evolved and more vinyasa-style classes are becoming commonplace. Recently, I tried a class in London’s Yoga Haven with Adam Husler and got my sweat on. It was a tough class, but I felt amazing after and wish that there was a studio close enough to me for a more regular practice! For any of you interested in trying hot yoga, I’ve broken it down into some top tips:

Water before, during, and after, food after!
As practicing yoga in a hot space will cause water loss, it is very important to be fully hydrated (without needing to have bathroom breaks!) before you begin. Sipping water throughout the class is essential to keeping you cool, but won’t hydrate you much, so make sure you’ve had plenty of water before and after the class. Avoid food though, because a full stomach can make you feel queasy as the digestive system shuts down during exercise. Have a little fruit or a smoothie if you really need beforehand, but otherwise save fuelling up until later.

Bring two towels (at least)
Unless you have an ultra-grippy mat, like the Liforme or Suga mat, you’ll definitely need a grippy towel on top. You can buy some very pretty ones that are just for yoga (I like these and these) and take up limited kit bag space. Alongside this, you’ll want a towel to wipe off sweat throughout the class, and for the shower later. One on it’s own probably won’t cut it!

Pace yourself
When you’re used to flowing through 90 minutes of Vinyasa without any trouble, it can be a little disconcerting to find yourself feeling impossibly tired just by stretching out into Warrior II. Accept that practicing hot yoga is more strenuous and don’t be afraid to sit back in child’s pose or on your back when you need it.

Embrace the increased flexibility… carefully
The temperature rise allows your muscles to stretch more, meaning that your flexibility increases more quickly as you attend sessions. Don’t force yourself too much though, as you can risk over exerting your muscles. Just let your body move and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised without risking injury.

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