My 1st Hot Yoga Experience
I’d like to share what I learned from my first ever hot yoga experience and pass along the fabulous tips that were shared on the FYM Facebook page for they really helped to set me up for success.
First, an overview of what Hot Yoga is all about.
Hot yoga was founded by the renowned Yogi, Bikram Choudhury. It is also known as Bikram’s Yoga, and Fire Yoga, is a sequence of yoga postures performed in a heated room (temperatures range from 90-105 degrees).
I must share that working out in a 105-degree room for an hour and a half was completely outside of anything I have ever done. As a trainer I teach busy moms how to get an intense workout completed in just 15-20 minutes, I do not do cardio for longer than 12-15 minutes, and it’s enough for me to attend a regular yoga class for 60 minutes just once a week, so I expected a bit of a challenge with this one.
Practitioners of hot yoga believe that there are many benefits of hot yoga that increases energy, decreases stress, detoxifies the body, improves blood circulation, strengthens the immune system, promotes mental clarity, focus, and weight loss. It is also amazingly effective in improving your flexibility, increasing the lubrication of your joints, tendons and ligaments.
I was told to expect…
~ To Sweat
Yes – buckets!
~ To Go Deeper into Stretches due to Heat
Absolutely, I even surprised myself on some. The only catch – the poses that require you to interlace your fingers or grasp on to parts of your body and HOLD are extremely difficult when your skin is all sweaty and slippery!
~ To be Challenged
Maybe even a little dizzy as a first timer but not to worry, just lie down until you feel better.
Couple things here. First, I would not have been able to get through this class if I was brand new to yoga. I highly recommend getting a couple dozen yoga classes under your belt before adding in the challenge of the temperature. Second, the whole thought of being able to come to a resting pose and even lying down sounded lovely, however I quickly found that lying down and getting back up again was not so enjoyable, that this was when I felt the twinge of some dizzyness. The key is to keep breathing and to come from lying and standing poses gently.
~ To Love It
Well this may come with practice. A common bit of advice is that it takes a good 10 classes to acclimate to the heat and fall in love with. I was thankful when it was over. I was thankful I attended a 7:00 pm class for it really wiped me out! Once I was able to breathe in some cool air and regain my senses, that is when I was finally able to have a conversation with my friend about whether or not I would come back. During class, all I could think of was – how can I tell her this is not for me!
Top 8 Hot Yoga Tips
These are the wonderful hot yoga tips that were shared on the FYM Facebook page when I placed a request for what to expect for my first class. Thanks to everyone who shared and helped me to be so prepared for my first class.
1. Hydrate, Hydrate Hydrate
“Anything you drink during class isn’t really going to help you during class if you haven’t hydrated ahead of time.”
“They say that the sips of water you have in the class aren’t hydrating you, they are just making you feel better.”
The class I attended only allowed 4 official water breaks – so yes, just enough to sip and feel a tiny bit of comfort before going back at it.
2. Do not eat anything heavy a good 2-3 hours prior to class
For obvious reasons.
3. Arrive 15 minutes early to adjust to temperature
I have a knack for being last minute (running late) so I made it to class with 2 minutes to spare. Having a few more would have likely prepped me better – or could have caused more anxiety as there is no talking in class and I was not able to place my mat next to my friend (since I was late). I did observe many who had arrived earlier were lying on their mats taking deep breaths.
4. Wear as little as possible
Yes – wow.
So glad I chose a loose fit, burn out yoga tank and while I did not wear shorts, I did have on the breathable Lululemon crops and glad I did for some poses as this gave me a bit of traction. The whole ‘expect to sweat’ …better explained as “you sweat from places you didn’t know can sweat”!
I used an insulated water bottle, glad I did as any ice in a regular bottle would have melted. The small but super cool sips were so heavenly.
- Beach Towel
Lie this on top of your yoga mat – without it you will be slipping all over the place!
- Hand Towel
For blotting your face to manage the amount of sweat running into your eyes, no sense in using it any other body part.
- Yoga Mat
- Change of Clothes
This is I did not do. I just figured I’d throw on my sweatshirt over my tank.
Not a good idea – I ended up taking off my tank, wrapping it in my towel and wearing sweatshirt. Good idea to also bring a plastic bag for all the items soaked in sweat. It was not a pleasant experience to then walk outside into the 30 degree air which felt like it went right through me. I had the heat blasting on high the entire way home – and even went to bed with a sweatshirt and sweat pants for I could not escape that cold feeling. What a shock to the body!
7. Be Present
“Open your mind and your ears. Hear what the instructor is telling you and enjoy how wonderful it feels!”
“Focus on your breathing”
I will say this was the most challenging part of the class – I was overwhelmed with how very hot it was and at times found my mind drifting to this aspect of class rather than being present in my pose and getting in tune with my breath ~ the more effort I made to cause this shift, the more I relied on my inner strength. As a result, I realized this is an area that needs some strengthening!
Water or Coconut Water
If you have a lingering headache it is due to dehydration. Thankfully I spent the day focused on water intake so this did not happen. I did sleep quite soundly that night and woke up to feeling quite rejuvenated.
“The first time is always a little intense but it does feel great!”
~ FYM Sheri
I have every intention of going back for at least one hot yoga class a week. It is a unique challenge experience and this practice is needed for the continuous development of my inner strength as well as the many body benefits this type of class offers.
How about you?
Have you tried Hot Yoga?
What was your first class experience like?
Your Friend and Coach,