Is it hot in here? Seven things I learned about hot yoga

For the past four weeks, I’ve been going to hot yoga as much as possible. Now, I’ve been going to classes sporadically for the past five years, but I finally set up a consistent weekly schedule with the thanks of one special studio.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

Down Under School of Yoga has six locations in the Boston area, with Brookline, Back Bay and the South End to name a few. The studio offers a newcomer special that includes 4 weeks of unlimited classes for $49, so I’ve been able to try everything from heated flows, pilates and yoga sculpt. I haven’t had a negative experience in a class yet, and I have learned a few tips and tricks to make the heat a little more bearable. 

You don’t need the most expensive mat. 

Yoga mats can range anywhere from $15-$100, but to be completely honest, you don’t need to invest in the most expensive one. I’m sure the more expensive mats are of higher quality, but it’s totally fine to get a more affordable mat when you’re first starting out.. 

In fact, I’ve been using the same Target All In Motion mat for the past five years and it’s never done me wrong. 

Get a towel to cover your mat. 

It’s in the name — hot yoga classes really do get hot. Along with the heat, especially when I’m practicing a flow, I find that I sweat quite a bit. When you’re constantly on a mat during your class, the sweat can make your mat slippery and hard to balance. So, a lot of people bring microfiber towels to lay over their yoga mats. 

My only tip for this is to get a towel that has grips on the bottom and covers the entire length of your mat. This will better ensure that the towel doesn’t move around while you move. 

It’s normal to modify poses. 

I thought this was important to point out, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced yogi. It’s totally okay to modify what the instructor says to do. In fact, most of the time the instructor is more than happy to give you modifications if you let them know any limitations before class. Don’t be afraid to take the experience into your own hands, and mold it slightly if needed.

In a lot of the hot yoga classes I’ve been to, especially the heated flows, the instructor will often offer several suggestions when it comes to variations of poses. Also, it’s completely fine to try something new that you see someone else in the class attempting. Don’t be afraid to safely try something new, even if you fall out of balance. 

Take breaks and drink some water in between poses. 

In almost every class I’ve been in, the instructor usually gives a rest and reset pose if you are feeling like the yoga class is becoming too much. It is totally okay to sit out for a pose or two and sip some water if the heat is getting to you. 

I don’t think that I’ve made it completely through a class without stopping to take a sip of water, and I’ve noticed that most of the other people in the class take similar breaks. Taking a break is never a bad thing, and in my opinion, it’s better to take a small break rather than being completely unable to finish the class. 

No one is watching you or paying attention to your ability. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by trying out a hot yoga class for the first time or at a new studio, do not fret. The first class can be intimidating, but I think the yoga community is very supportive. I can genuinely say that I haven’t ever judged or felt judged by someone’s ability to do a pose or their need to take a break. 

From my experience, everyone in the classes has been nothing but welcoming, encouraging and supportive, especially the instructors. 

Hydrate well before the class and make sure to eat plenty before.

I learned this one the hard way. Hot yoga causes you to lose water through sweating. I’ve found that the best way to have an enjoyable experience is to hydrate not only during the day of the class, but the night before. Finally, make sure to eat enough food before stepping into the studio to give your body the energy it needs. 

Depending on the time of your class, it may even be a good idea to have an early dinner if you’re like me and prefer not to eat late at night. 

Every body is a yoga body! 

This last tip isn’t so much a tip, but rather a reminder. I know it can feel scary stepping into a new studio or trying hot yoga for the first time, but remember that everyone had a first class that they went to. I was worried my first time wouldn’t go well because I wasn’t super flexible, but after five years of taking as many classes as I could, I can tell you that, everybody is a yoga body. Practicing yoga isn’t just for super flexible people. 

So, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try out a hot yoga class for the first time. They may turn up the heat a little too much, but you’ll carry some of that warmth around you for the rest of your life.

More Articles

One Comment

  1. Great article, informative…however, after 50+years of diffferent yoga classes, I can tell you hot yoga was not one of them. Must be my Scandinavian heritage. I like cool and just thinking about hot yoga makes me sweat. Keep up the good reporting. 😘