How to Prepare for Hot Yoga

hot yoga outfit featured by top Dallas fashion blogger, Running in Heels.

There are several types of yoga, the most common are Bikram or Vinyasa. Bikram yoga is a fixed series of 26 poses typically practiced in a heated room at 105 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity at 40% intended to replicate the climate of India. Vinyasa yoga is a flow connecting movements typically between 75-95 degrees. Many Vinyasa-based studios around me heat up to 99 degrees for hot yoga classes. Regardless of the type of yoga you prefer, hot yoga has many benefits and requires sufficient preparation, which I outline below.

If you are looking into your first hot yoga classes, they have many benefits including increased flexibility, stress relief, increased circulation, and even better sleep. In a vinyasa hot yoga class, you will start with grounding usually seated or lying down where you begin your ujyaye breath, or breath in and out of the nose to create heat. Then, you will move into a warm-up transitioning into a sun salutation A and B, which are your flows aligning to breath. Sun A and B are followed by poses or balances, and finally ending with supine or seated postures, often some ab and back strengthening work, concluding with Shavasana.

There is no secret to getting the most out of each session, just showing up is always the hard part. Even when I don’t feel like going, when I do, I am happy I went. I enjoy it best when I can set an intention and clear my mind. Continue reading for my best tips for how to prepare for your first hot yoga class.

How to Prepare for Hot Yoga

Hydrate: Before, During, and After Class

I have had a ton of excellent yoga instructors in my years, and recently I have one that says be sure to hydrate before, during, and after class, which is the best advice I’ve received for hot yoga. Don’t drink just water, either, you’ll need electrolytes for energy and substantial hydration. Before class try to drink around 16oz from 1-2 hours ahead of class. Bring a bottle with you to drink while you’re practicing, and then drink electrolytes post-class to replenish hydration that was lost by sweating.

Wear the Right Attire

The right attire is whatever you feel most comfortable in. I did write a post on the best clothes to wear for hot yoga from my experience. My preference is a tight-fitting tank top and sports bra, or a crop, paired with long leggings. I prefer high-quality sweat-wicking materials for comfort and generally prefer long leggings to shorts. I feel like I get too sweaty and tend to slip and focus more on my sweat than my practice when I wear shorts.

I don’t recommend cotton or anything that will absorb sweat when practicing yoga they will feel heavy and chafe. You should also avoid anything loose that may hang and get in the way as you move.

Skip Fragrances

Don’t wear fragrant lotions, perfumes, or colognes. You are in close proximity to others and strong scents can be jarring to your fellow practitioners. Fragrant lotions or perfumes can irritate your skin when you’re sweating, as well.

Bring Equipment

Yoga studios usually have equipment you can rent, but I recommend at the very least bringing your own water bottles and sweat towels. I also have a post talking about everything you need for yoga.

You can also bring a mat, blocks, and a yoga mat towel, but studios often have mats for rent and blocks, straps, or bolsters that you may need.

Arrive Early

Get to the hot yoga studio early, especially your first time to sign papers and get registered. Regularly, you’ll want to arrive between 10-20 minutes early for class so you can set up and get acclimated to the heat in the room. It can be quite an adjustment to the heat, so take some time to get situated, lay on the mat, and center yourself, or stretch.

Don’t Forget to Eat

For any exercise, but especially practicing yoga in a heated room requires sustenance for energy. 2-3 hours before class is a great time to eat and if you find yourself getting light-headed in class, try a snack like fruit or a smoothie before and you’ll feel great.

Leave Everything That You Don’t Need Outside

Leave your phone, apple watch, or anything that will be distracting outside of the room. You showed up to class, so be sure to keep your focus in the room. Anything in your email or texts can wait an hour. Also, leave your shoes and any clothing you won’t need, it clutters the space and you should be respectful to your fellow yogis and not take too much.

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