Welcome to 2016! Whether or not you are a fan of New Year’s resolutions, you can’t fault someone for just needing to hit the reset button. So why not give hot yoga a try? It’s challenging, restorative, relaxing, effective and provides an unparalleled supportive community.
Before I first began my practice at Modo Yoga, I remember furiously Googling any question I could think of. What happens in that room? Do they burn incense and play soothing music? Or is it like the dance scene in Center Stage when Jody goes to the hip Broadway Dance Studio? How hot is “hot”? What do I wear? How quickly will I learn the moves? What do I bring? Will I stand out like a sore thumb?
Fret no more, my friends. With 3 years under my stretchy waistband, I have a few tips to share with you before you head into the hot room.
- Bring a mat, 2 towels, and a water bottle. One towel should be large enough to cover your mat, which will keep you from slipping into the splits. And the other is a hand towel to soak up sweat during breaks. Believe me, you’ll need it. Be sure to check out my product recommendations below.
- Wear something tight. Now my mother has never ever given me this advice, but for yoga, it is necessary. Proper alignment is at the core of practice, and wearing form-fitting clothing helps the instructor evaluate your alignment. If you’re self-conscious, don’t be. Every body, shape, age and size is wearing spandex leggings in that room.
- Arrive 15 minutes early. A lot of studios won’t let you into the room once class has begun. So give yourself time to get you and your belongings situated before class.
- Leave your shoes at the door. They work hard to keep the practice room clean, so don’t track in any snow or dirt. If you’re paranoid about being barefoot, it’s ok to wear clean flip-flops and park them next to your water bottle during practice.
- Keep your stuff in a locker or cubby – don’t bring it into the hot room (this includes your cell phone). If you’re afraid of theft, harken back to your middle school days and bring a combination lock. Your yoga selfie can wait.
- Be quiet. This varies from studio to studio, but when in doubt, enter peacefully. A lot of yogis rely on quiet time in the practice room, so don’t interrupt it with your chatting. Take your cues from others, and remember that just because another yoga class was loud and boisterous, this new one may not be.
- It ain’t over til you Namaste. If you need to leave class early, don’t go to that class. I know that sounds extreme, but leaving early can be really disruptive, during the pinnacle of the practice. Pick a class time when you can be fully present (mind and body) for the entire time.
Don’t be afraid to call the studio ahead of time to ask questions. Or, you can leave a comment and I’m happy to help! Remember, gaining new members is as part of any (successful) fitness facility’s business plan, so instructors and attendants have come to expect even your weirdest inquires.
You can spend anywhere from $15 on up on a piece of yoga gear, so I recommend giving it a few tries before you fully dive in. When I began, I found Gaiam gear at Target that works great for a beginner. Then once you fall in love with hot yoga and decide you want to practice forever and ever (like I know you will), I recommend PROlite mats, and yogitoes towels from Manduka. They’re experts and have thought of everything. My yogitoes towel has little grippers on the bottom, securing the towel to the mat. And with the combined wicking power of my eQua hand towel, they can’t be beat.
Yogi attire has really expanded to offer every option under the sun. The internet is your oyster. I found some really great pieces that are a part of my regular rotation thanks to Mika and Onzie. Mika is the proud maker of my most favorite yoga bottoms ever – the Light Perfit Kaya legging. They are smooth, soft, long, and lightweight yet durable. And whether you are looking for full coverage or just a bra, Mika has cute tops that always get compliments in the locker room. My favorite bra, however, goes to the Onzie X-Back Elastic. Ozzie also carries the coolest patterned leggings.
Questions or comments about your yoga tips or favorite gear? I’d love to hear them!