Hot yoga, most simply defined, is yoga taught in a room heated anywhere between 85 – 105 degrees. While Bikram yoga is typically what comes to mind when people think of “hot yoga”, any style of yoga taught in the heat falls under the hot yoga umbrella, including Power Vinyasa, Yoga Core, Yang/Yin and many others.
Hot yoga is open to all levels of practitioners and anyone will quickly see the benefits, but especially with hot classes, preparation is key. Bend and Zen has compiled a list of how to prepare for your first hot yoga experience to make sure it’s Your Best Yoga! – right from the start.
For your first yoga class you’ll need to sign a waiver and discuss whether you’d like to buy a drop-in class or purchase a package. You will also want to orient yourself with the studio and locker spaces, so it’s recommended you arrive at least 15 minutes early.
Bend and Zen Hot Yoga has a uniquely diverse menu of yoga class options, offering students an amazing 12 different types of hot yoga! While this is great news, you do need to ensure that you read the class description and know what you’re getting prior to coming. Class durations vary, lasting either 1 hour, or 75 minutes, so please plan accordingly. Visit the Class Descriptions page on our website for a full list and explanation of all yoga classes.
You probably know you’ll need a yoga mat for your yoga class, but in hot classes you will sweat so much that doing the postures will be nearly impossible without a towel laid over your mat. If you’re going to do the practice regularly, it’s recommended you invest in a special yoga towel that is the size and shape of a mat and has one grippy side that will keep it in place.
As a Bend and Zen Hot Yoga client, if you forget any of these items you are more than welcome to borrow one from us! Towel service and water are complimentary and if forget your mat we are happy to provide one!
You can also purchase hot yoga towels, mats and Hydro Flasks at the studio.
You will eventually learn yoga etiquette if you continue to venture back to the mat, but some knowledge beforehand can help you avoid doing anything too embarrassing or annoying to your fellow yogis during your first class.
Hot yoga is one of the most intense workouts out there and each class guarantees to work every muscle in the body while raising your heart rate, helping the bodies’ natural detoxification process, and learning relaxation techniques applicable on and off the mat. Try getting all of that from running on a treadmill!
You need to hydrate well not only the day of the class, but also the day before. You will sweat more than you have ever sweat in your life, especially in a Bikram yoga class, and your body needs more fluids than it would for other types of exercise. Drink a lot of water throughout the day before you practice, but don’t chug immediately before class. That will only give you a stomach ache. For that same reason, avoid the urge to guzzle water during class and instead take small sips between poses. Save the guzzling for after class, when you’ll need to replenish yourself with all the water you just lost. Coconut water is a great post-workout option.
You don’t need to buy expensive outfits to be a yogi, even if many of the people you’re in class with do. What you need is form-fitting clothing that won’t interfere with movement, and those baggy shorts and t-shirts you use for running aren’t going to cut it! Leggings and tight shorts are both good options. Some like to go with longer leggings as it makes the legs easier to grab onto during certain poses while you’re pouring sweat. Don’t worry about being judged; everyone is working out too hard to notice, and no one looks good when sweating profusely.
The heat will be overwhelming. Putting your head below your heart in some yoga poses and doing back bends can both lead to feelings of nausea for some. Your teachers will tell you to breathe through it, but not eating for two to three hours before class will help minimize that nausea. A light, healthy snack a couple of hours before class is fine and keep drinking lots of water!
It may seem contradictory when yoga instructors are simultaneously pushing the class to go further while also encouraging the class to lay down in child’s pose or savasana if need be. What’s important to understand is the yoga concept of finding your edge. Your edge is the place where you are working your hardest, but not pushing yourself too hard; a place of ideal balance.
As a first-timer, you’re going to be engaging muscles that don’t get worked in other forms of exercise and so you will probably have to take more breaks than the people around you who may have been doing it for years. Be kind to yourself and lay down on the mat when you need to. In hot yoga, it’s a victory as long as you manage to stay in the room through the entire class!