Ready for your first hot yoga class? Of course you are! Hot yoga was designed for beginners – you get detailed instructions, mirrors to watch your form, and a great community to support you.
Now you can be even more prepared, check out this list from veteran hot yogis for secrets to make your first class even better.
1. HYDRATE well before you arrive, and make sure you haven’t eaten a big meal within 2-3 hours. This is basic hot yoga self-care, but don’t underestimate the power of a cleansed digestive system.
2. Let time be on your side: Arrive 20 minutes early to register, change your clothes, chat with the teacher, drink water and acclimate your body to the heated room.
3. Commit for 90 minutes: leave behind your hang-ups and to do list ; focus instead on your breathing for the full class time. Silent the cell phones and the distractions. And if some of the instructions or language or practices sound unfamiliar to you, suspend your disbelief for 90 minutes. You paid your money for this experience, now allow yourself to fully have it.
4. Pack your bags so you can leave your baggage at the door: Bring a yoga mat, 2 full sized towels (one for the post-yoga shower) and a bottle of water (don’t worry if you’ve forgotten, most yoga studios rent all the gear you need).
5. Wear the right stuff – Don’t get overwhelmed by the booming yoga clothing market, you don’t need to buy designer yoga-wear to be comfortable. A good rule of thumb: stick with clothing that is fitted and breathable.Women tend to wear tight shorts and sports bras, gym shorts for men – but wear what you feel good in, especially cause you’ll be staring at your body for 90 minutes in the mirror!
6. Give it another chance: Your first hot yoga class can be overwhelming. The heat, the 26 postures, learning to breathe deeply in a new climate, the rapid fire instruction. There are many layers to a Bikram practice, and the first one is often just dealing with physical discomfort in the room. But as any devout yogi will tell you, these minor discomforts pave the way to incredible benefits that last long after the class is over.
7. You are part of a community: Ever notice when everyone in a class is synchronized and focused? It feels like you are being physically supported by others in the room. Everything you do inside the yoga room and in the changing rooms affects your fellow students, your teacher and the whole studio. Be quiet and respectful during Savasana. Smile at strangers. Keep your practice focused and calm in between postures. Don’t just react to challenges – respond with the awareness that everything you experience in yoga is a reflection of yourself. Then you’ll find a much deeper level to your practice.
…and here’s one extra secret:
8. Take more breaks: Feeling out or breath or overwhelmed? We’ve all been there. Give yourself permission to sit down on your mat and watch. It’s not giving up, in fact its often harder to give yourself permission to step back and relax. As long as you’re breathing and present, you’re still practicing yoga.
Hey Yogis – What do you wish YOU had been told before your first class? What advice would you give if you brought your best friend to class?