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Hot Yoga Beginner – What To Expect

I recently wrote about some of the reasons I love hot yoga.  If you are considering taking your first class, here are some tips to help you know what to expect.

Hot Yoga Beginner – What To Expect

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Yoga Class at a Gym Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What to Wear: i wear yoga capri pants and a tank top.  Others wear sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I tend to adjust my clothes more if they are baggy so I prefer to have tighter clothing so I can concentrate on poses rather than my clothes.

What to Bring:  You definitely need a yoga mat.  I have a yoga mat towel that I lay on top of my mat but you can use a regular towel too. It will help absorb the sweat so you aren’t slipping and sliding on your mat when you sweat on it. Whatever kind of towel you use, I definitely recommend using one. If you forget your towel, chances are you will only forget once. And I always bring a hand towel to blot the sweat off my face.

Before class:  Drink plenty of water during the day before class.  You will sweat a lot and if you aren’t properly hydrated you may feel dizzy.  Many bring a bottle of water to class and take sips in between poses.  I got dizzy my first time because I didn’t hydrate enough but that rarely happens now as I make sure to hydrate properly.

Also, it’s best not to eat at least an hour before class.  Having a full belly will slow you down and you may feel uncomfortable.

What if I get tired: If at any point in the class you feel nauseous, dizzy, faint or just too tired to go on just sit in child’s pose. It is very common in every class I’ve taken to see students in child’s pose at some point.  There actually has not been one class I’ve taken that someone DIDN’T go into child’s pose to rest.

The main goal for your first class should be to just stay in the room for the duration of the class. Even if you sit in child’s pose or cross legged the whole time, it’s fine – it’s totally fine. The instructor won’t get mad and no one around you will care.

But if you have to leave the room, by all means, pay attention to your body and do what you feel is right.  Just get up and quietly walk out, take a breather or go to the washroom and come right back in.  No one will remember or care for that matter, I swear.

I have a friend that started coming to class with me and his first time he left the room 3 times. I was proud of him for continually coming back to the mat.  Now he doesn’t leave the room until class is over.

What if I don’t know the poses: When I first started going to hot yoga, one of my concerns was that I didn’t know all the poses.  The good news is that you do not have to know all the poses.  If I am ever unsure of how to do a pose I just look around the room and watch what others are doing.  Every single person is a beginner at some point. The only way to improve your practice is to practice.

Occasionally the teacher will come around and adjust my pose if I am not doing it to it’s full potential and I really appreciate the assistance.  I find that when the teacher is adjusting a student it’s because they sense that the student is taking it very seriously and will welcome the assistance. It’s not intended to shame or make you feel bad at all.  The teachers objective is to help you grow your practice safely.

Whether you do 20 poses or 1 pose, your practice is your practice.  There is no expectation of you by anyone else.  You set your intention when you enter the room.  People are there for different reasons.  Some for the work out, some for the stretch, some for the mental clarity, some just need a good sweat (it’s very detoxifying), etc.

Class:  When I arrived for my first hot yoga class I made sure to show up early so I could get a spot that I felt most comfortable with.  I was new so I felt self conscious and wanted to be in the back. As the students shuffled in I noticed ALL shapes, sizes and ages were there and ready to sweat.

The yoga room is a somewhat sacred place.  We take off our shoes before entering and once inside speak in a whisper if at all because others are taking these first few quiet minutes to relax and slow down.  Also, if you have your phone with you, make sure it’s on silent.

In my classes, the teacher enters and starts with warm up stretches called Sun Salutations. You will ramp up slowly to more challenging poses and work up a great sweat. After some time the temperature in the room will start to slowly get cooler and towards the end of class you will do work on the floor.

At the end of class, your last pose will be Shavasana (corpse pose).  Pronounced shah-VAHS-anna.  This pose is one of the most important. It allows the body to regroup and process the information it has just received from your yoga practice. Stay in this pose as long as you need.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.


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Why I Practice Hot Yoga

 Why I Practice Hot Yoga

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Before I started practicing hot yoga I always wanted to try it but was too scared.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I had only taken a few beginner classes previously, I was overweight, self conscious, didn’t feel strong enough, didn’t know all the poses, what if I couldn’t handle the heat, etc.  I’ve come to learn that all of my fears were absolutely normal.  I was definitely not the only beginner that felt that way.

A good friend had finally talked me into going to a class with her. I made her promise that I wouldn’t die and turns out she was right. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with it and love how I felt during and after.

What exactly is hot yoga?  Hot yoga is a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions. Different types of yoga can be performed such as Bikram, hatha or a flowing vinyasa style. Typically 105 degrees and 40% humidity.

Yoga is for all walks of life.  All ages, sizes, shapes and fitness levels.  I’ve seen big bellied pregnant women in class, men and women that are 60+ in age, big football player shaped men, etc. Yoga does not discriminate.

When I started my practice I was 70 pounds overweight and not in good shape whatsoever.  I couldn’t do a push-up to save my life.  My practice has done so much for me.  I still have lots to learn and I’m excited about that.

My Top Favorite Things About Hot Yoga (So Far)

  • It’s a fantastic workout, I sweat buckets.  There isn’t one part of my body or clothes that isn’t drenched in glorious sweat when class is over.
  • My skin has never looked better.  The heat and the sweating clears my pores and detoxifies my skin.
  • I sleep like a rock!  On occasion I have trouble sleeping but hot yoga is my remedy.  I fall asleep faster and sleep more sound, better than taking any medication.
  • What back pain? I used to visit the chiropractor maybe once every week.  I haven’t seen her in over a year.  Pity, she’s a really nice person.
  • I have muscles now.  I was goofing around with my husband a couple of days ago and he was like “you have guns now”.  Of course I thought he was joking until he had me go flex in the mirror.  Hello gun show!
  • I’m ubber flexible now.  When I first started practicing, I couldn’t touch my toes. Class after class I became more and more flexible.
  • “Private Time” with the hubby is way more fun now (sorry for the TMI but it had to be mentioned).
  • My anxiety issues have greatly diminished.  Yoga helps clear my mind and let go of whatever it is that is weighing on it.
  • Improves my digestive track.  Yoga massages the organs and in turn helps them to function better.
  • That time of the month is so much easier to deal with.  My hormones stay in check, I’ve become more regular, cravings aren’t as strong and cramps are much improved.
  • I love myself more every day.  The sense of accomplishment after completing each class is like giving my a huge hug and high five.
  • It has helped me shed close to 70 pounds!

I think those are great reasons to check out hot yoga.  All it took was showing up to my first class.  If you are thinking about it, do it!  At least you can say “I did it” as opposed to “I’ve always wanted to do it”. Check out my article about hot yoga for beginners.


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