I remember hearing about hot yoga for the first time about four years ago from a friend. “Yoga in a 105 degree room?! Uhmm… no thanks!”. Even though I was initially very hesitant, I dragged my sister with me to see what this hot yoga thing was all about. Even though my first class was killer, I pushed through it and ended up falling in love. I have been doing hot yoga for almost five years now, and it is something that I am very passionate about. It gives me confidence, and helps me feel good about all the incredible things that my body can do! Yoga is something that I will continue doing for the rest of my life. I know from experience that going to your very first yoga class can be mega intimidating. You have no idea what to expect, what to wear, what to do- and it’s all a little overwhelming. Here are some tips I have learned over the past fews years that you may find helpful:
1.) Bring lots of water
- I highly recommend bringing TWO water bottles. I know that may sound a little excessive, but trust me, you won’t regret bringing them! It’s important to drink tons of water before, during, and after hot yoga to stay hydrated. This is something that you definitely don’t want to forget for your first yoga class (or any hot yoga class)!
2.) Bring a towel/wash cloth
- I recommend bring a washcloth to blot your face and body during resting poses. It’s gross, but you will sweat a ton in hot yoga. It can help definitely help if you bring a towel or washcloth to class. If you have a yoga towel, that can always come in handy as well. I never go to a hot yoga class without my Yogitoes yoga towel. It’s definitely my favorite and was totally worth the money! As for yoga mats, most studios offer yoga mats. Some places will charge you to rent them and some will let you borrow them for free. It definitely just depends, but most studios will say online about their mat renting policy. If this is your very first yoga class, you definitely do not need to go out and purchase one. I would wait until you’ve been to a few classes before going out purchasing one of your own. My favorite brand for yoga mats is by far Manduka.
3.) Wash your face before
- Do not wear makeup to class. I repeat, do not wear makeup to class. As a makeup addict myself, it can be hard to leave the house without putting anything on my face whatsoever. However, wearing makeup during hot yoga will clog your pores and cause breakouts. Also, if you towel is white, the makeup can heavily transfer off onto your towel during class (which is always awk. Trust me- I’ve been that girl). Same goes for spray tans! If you have a spray tan or any self tanner on, I recommend bring a darker towel to do yoga on along with a dark face towels.
4.) Don’t eat a heavy meal before class
- This one is something that took me a while to figure out. Exercising in the heat can already make you feel a little nauseous at first, and eating a huge meal before will only add to that. I recommend eating a light, healthy snack an hour before class. I really like greek yogurt,almonds, and fruits like strawberries, pears, and bananas. I find that hot yoga curbs my appetite a little bit, and I always end up eating very healthy after each class.
5.) Come early
- Show up to hot yoga class 10-15 minutes before the class begins. Most yoga studios are strict about arriving on time. If this is your very first class, you definitely want to arrive extra early. During the time before class begins, I like to stretch. However, it’s always nice to rest in Savasana pose.
6.) Wear whatever you feel comfortable in
- It can be tricky to figure out what to wear to your first hot yoga class. I find most people wear an athletic tank and yoga pants. I personally wear nike shorts or Lululemon yoga pants to hot yoga- depending on the weather outside and what I am feeling. I will usually pair that with a sports bra or workout tank. You can also do hot yoga in just a sports bra if that’s comfortable for you as well.
7.) Don’t compare yourself to others
- It can be so difficult not to look around the room and compare yourself to others. Some people have been doing yoga every single day of their lives for years and years. Everybody is at different points in their practice. Remember that everybody was a beginner at some point, and you have to take everything a day at a time. Yoga is about focusing on your own body and your practice.
8.) Ask for advice and always look to improve
- It is always, always, always okay to ask for advice from your instructor. If there is a pose that you are struggling with or unsure about, definitely talk to the yoga instructor after class, and they will be more than willing to help you. If there is a pose that is causing you pain or is a little too advanced for you, there are always alternative variations out there that the instructor can recommend for you. I really enjoy it when instructors correct my form during class. I always try to remember the correction and use that to improve my posture or form for the next class. I learn new things every single class, and I absolutely love that aspect of yoga. There is always room to grow in your practice and learn new things.
9.) Be patient with yourself
- Some poses take time. It can be hard to be patient with yourself, but I promise everything doesn’t happen over night. The more you practice, the more you will improve. I’ve been working on ‘One-legged King Pigeon Pose‘ for a while now, and I still struggle with it. Even though I am still not very close to mastering the pose, I’ve noticed improvement over the past few weeks. I think it’s important to set goals for yourself in yoga to help you stay motivated in your practice and to feel proud when you achieve something.
10.) Appreciate everything your body can do
- I struggle with taking my body for granted. Sometimes I forget to appreciate all the incredible things that my body can do. It can be easy to focus on the things our body can’t do, but yoga allows us to spend time appreciating every single thing that we can do it. It’s important to never take things for granted and to always appreciate the small things.
If you have ever considered trying out hot yoga, I would highly recommend giving it a try. What I love about it is that it is not made for one specific kind of person. I am not athletic whatsoever, but it something that I love so much. My sister, who is very athletic, loves it. My grandma, who has MS, loves it and does it several times a week. Yoga is something for everyone, regardless of your age, gender, weight, or body type. Hot yoga has given me so much confidence over the years and has really become something that helps relieve me of all my worries and stresses of everyday life. Yoga is my happy place and does so many positive things for me- physically, emotionally, and mentally. It has also given me something to work towards and to feel proud of. Yoga has completely transformed my life, confidence, happiness, work ethic, body, mind, and mental clarity.