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A Beginner’s Guide to Hot Yoga

By Chloe Mulliner, Guest Blogger

My first few hot yoga classes were rough. Ok, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even make it through my first class without having to tap out and leave the sweltering 105-degree F room. During my next few sessions, zenful yogis gracefully maneuvered into handstands and contortionist-worthy moves, while I sat there, trying not to pass out or throw up.

I struggled through each class, but I continued attending at least one hot yoga class each week. I slowly began to challenge myself and hold the stretches for longer. Within a few months, I was craving hot yoga, and I even started looking forward to the extreme heat and intense workout. I felt my confidence increasing as I gained muscle and flexibility. I also noticed a decrease in my anxiety and a new appreciation for being present.

Because it took me time to fully understand how to enjoy hot yoga, I wanted to pass on a few words of wisdom to help beginners beat the heat and survive those first few classes:

Change the rules

My personal rule is that I have to try something at least three times before I form an opinion about it. However, if I’d followed my own rule, I would have quit hot yoga after my first three pathetic classes. When it comes to hot yoga, I say try it at least 10 times before you bail. Ten classes and you’re probably hooked!

Tune it out
Hot yoga is a mentally relaxing practice, but it’s impossible to get into a peaceful mindset if you’re worried about what others are thinking about you. Everyone has so much sweat clouding their eyes, they can hardly see past their own noses. No one’s checking you out, judging your downward dog, or counting the number of breaks you take. For the best experience, focus on you, and only you.

Drink up
You’ll sweat unlike you have ever sweat before. It’s extremely important to hydrate before and after class, but don’t chug a gallon of water five minutes before stretching. Nothing’s worse than feeling all that water sloshing around in your stomach during your first set of planks. Your body takes time to hydrate, so knocking back a bunch of water all at once won’t do the trick. For best results, consistently drink water throughout the day.

Eat lightly

Gorging on a huge meal right before class is one sure way to ruin your entire practice. The few times I’ve made the mistake of eating too much or too close to the start time, I’ve spent the entire class trying to keep down my food. Eat a small meal around two hours before your class starts, so you can focus more on your pigeon pose and less on your escape route.

Create your own pace

Hot yoga isn’t a synchronized sport. Everyone works at their own speed. Don’t worry if you’re a few breaths behind the instructor’s pace. There is no such thing as moving too slowly. Listen to your body, challenge it when you can, and ease off when you need to.

Practicing hot yoga is mentally and physically challenging, so even the littlest accomplishments, like working through an entire class, can be extremely rewarding. Follow these tips to slowly, but surely, become a sweat-loving, toe-touching hot yogi yourself.
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