What to Know Your First Time at Hot Yoga

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Photo by digboston.

Maybe you need something to warm you up now that there’s a chill in the air. Maybe you’ve heard that hot yoga is relaxing. Or maybe you want to try something that’s challenging and yet, in some ways, easier: your muscles are more flexible when they’re warm. Welcome to hot yoga.

If you haven’t heard of hot yoga, you might think I’m making it up. I promise I’m not. It’s a yoga class done in a studio that’s been heated to—in the case of Bikram, the original hot yoga—105 degrees Fahrenheit.

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You may have done yoga before, but if hot yoga is new to you, the usual beginner advice still applies: tell the instructor you’re new, don’t be afraid to ask questions before class, and feel free to sit out the harder moves if you truly need a break.

Here are some of the things I learned my first time:

  • People wear bikinis. You’re free to wear anything you like, but it gets really hot in that room. Some people in my class wore leggings and some wore shirts, but nobody wore both. I would say the average amount of clothing was a pair of shorts and a sports bra.
  • It’s the same poses every time. Bikram yoga uses a very specific sequence of poses in a 90 minute class. (This isn’t true of every type of hot yoga, though.) Once you’ve done a few classes, it gets a lot easier to follow along.
  • You will sweat like you have never sweated before. You’ll need a large towel to put on top of your mat, or else it turns into a slip ‘n’ slide. Plan on showering afterward, which might involve awkward communal showers.

Now it’s time for you to tell us your thoughts on hot yoga. If you’re a devotee, what do you think is most important for beginners to know? And if you’re thinking about trying it, what questions do you have?

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