Some word of advice for newbies to Hot Yang Yoga at Yoga Republic.
I get asked a lot of questions from curious individuals who have heard of Hot or Bikram Yoga but never done it and are thinking about trying it out, but are just a little nervous. I mean let’s face it, the prospect of going into a room heated to 37 degree celsius for 75 minutes and doing 26 postures and breathing exercises a little daunting, right! Understandable!
The most frequent question I get is either: “I’m thinking about signing up for a Hot Yoga class! Should I be scared?” or “I just signed up for a HOT YOGA class! Am I going to die???
The short answer to both is NO, absolutely not!
The long answer is also NO, absolutely not, but there are a few things you should think about before your first class, and a few things you can do before, after, and during class to ensure a positive first experience in the hot room!
So without further ado, for all of you who have asked and all of you who haven’t, here is my list of 17 tips, tricks, and hints for your first HOT yoga class! Enjoy!
1. Hydrate. But not too much. Drink plenty of water throughout the day leading up to your first class. Now don’t go crazy and guzzle litre after litre or anything, but do add a little more water than normal to your daily routine. You don’t want to arrive at class and realize that Ooops, all you’ve had to drink all day is a gallon of iced coffee and a diet coke.
2. Eat. But not too much. A hot yoga class can be very demanding on the body. Thus, you’ll want to make sure you’ve eaten enough during the day to fuel you through your class, and that what you’ve eaten has been fairly light and healthy. The day of your first hot yoga class is probably not the best time to hit up the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, or chow down on a huge breakfast. Keep it light, keep it simple, thing, stop eating around two hours before class. You don’t want anything churning around in your belly while you’re trying to “compress your abdominal wall, contract your abdominal muscles”!
3. Don’t wear heavy material clothing.You will be very, very sorry.Wear what you feel comfortable in,,but make it light. Light Yoga pants or shorts,sports bra, and/or a tank top for the ladies, shorts or swim trunks for the gents.
4.Get there early. At least 20 early if its your first time. Gives you time to fill out the necessary paperwork, get changed, and get a good spot in the room. Also, many teachers give specific instructions at the beginning of class for first-timers, so you want to make sure you’re in the room to hear it and not still in the locker room fiddling with your tiny butt-hugging shorts.
5.Tell the teacher you’re new. It’s surprising how many people don’t want to do this. But really, the teacher is there to help you! Yoga teachers love to teach people about yoga. That’s why they’re teachers! And trust me, they want you to have the best experience possible on your first class, and they’ll do whatever they can to make that happen. So don’t be shy, march right up to the teacher, and pluckily say, “Hi, I’m, and I’m new!” You’ll be best friends within minutes.
7. Ask where the “cool spot” is. Now that you’re BFF with the teacher ask where the best spot is for you to set up your mat. Most studios have a “cool spot”–often (but not always) near a door or a window–and this is usually where they recommend new people set up for their first class. Because, obviously, it’s a cool spot.
8. Have NO expectations. That goes for expectations of yourself, the teacher, the class, the studio, etc. Expect NOTHING, and be open to EVERYTHING.
9 Keep an open mind. If you’ve practiced other yoga before, just know that this will be different. Try not to be all HEY, THIS ISN’T HOW WE DO IT IN VINYASA/ASHTANGA/KUNDALINI/WHATEVER! Of course it’s not the same! This is Hot Yoga! Listen to the teacher and be open to what they say, even when your brain tries to tell you something else.
10 Take breaks if you need. There’s no shame in sitting down! It’s your first class, go easy on yourself!
11But not too many breaks. Then again, if you feel good, keep going! Don’t sit down just because you feel like you want to take a nap. Listen to your body really honestly, see what it tells you, and react accordingly.
12 Stay in the room. In every class, the teacher is guaranteed to remind you that staying in the room is the most important thing. Even if you have to sit the whole time, by staying in the room, maintaining your focus, and mentally staying with the class you are still practicing yoga. The heat is one of the greatest benefits of this practice, as it allows your body to open up and your muscles to release in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise, but it can also be the toughest thing to adjust to. By staying in the room, you give your body the time and space to make that adjustment.
13. Breathe. When things get tough, breathing will keep you alive! It can be hard to remember in the moment, but if at any point you feel yourself struggling in a pose, back off a little and recover your breath. I mean, let’s face it: if you’re not breathing, you’re unlikely to be doing anything else. KnowwhatImean?
14.Don’t get up and leave too fast! At Yoga Republic we promote staying in the room approximately 5 minutes in “the most important posture of all,”Savasana”Makes no sense to rush out just to be the first one in the shower,This really will make a difference to the way you feel when you do leave the room,,and the rest of your day.
15 Re-hydrate. Have something with electrolytes. Coconut water is best,,especially when t fresh for the coconut, Other electrolytes are good also,,as long as they are not laced with sugar.
16. Eat. Have a nice light healthy meal. Fruits, veggies, lean protein. You know, the “good” stuff.
17. Go back again tomorrow. WHAT?!? But that’s CRAZY, isn’t it?!??!? Actually, no it’s not.. Your body has to get used to this new, very different thing you’re doing, and the more frequently you go, the better opportunity it has to do just that.
So there you go, yoga people (and soon-to-be yoga people!), a few tips for your first journey into the hot room. Above all, remember to ENJOY YOURSELF! Hot Yoga can certainly be challenging at times, but don’t be intimidated! Like all forms of yoga, it’s not something to be learned and mastered in a day, or a month, or a year, or ten years! This practice is rich and deep and amazing and takes a lifetime, but that’s what makes it interesting and relevant! See this as a new adventure, a new experience, and a new way to explore the power of the mind-body connection that only yoga can facilitate!
Have fun. Namaste.