How to Prepare For Your First (or 100th) Hot Yoga Class

I practice yoga regularly, but I had never taken my practice into the world of hot yoga until recently, and I am officially addicted! It took me awhile to try it out — the idea of 100+ degree heat made me slightly nervous — but I am so glad I finally gave it a shot. I am now a regular at my hot yoga studio.
Because you sweat excessively in hot yoga, there are some things you need to do to prepare your body and mind. To make sure you feel and perform at your best during class, and recover quickly after, here are five things you should do before attending hot yoga:
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It is said that you can lose an average of five pounds of water weight in a hot yoga class, so the most important thing you can do to prepare is to hydrate before, during, and after. Aim for an extra 16-20 ounces of water on top of your normal water consumption (half of your body weight in ounces, i.e., if you’re 100 pounds, consume 50 ounces of water a day). Sip water throughout class, and drink an additional 16-20 ounces afterwards; preferably something with sodium, potassium and electrolytes to re-fuel, such as Aqua Hydrate (pH balanced electrolyte water) or coconut water.
2. Keep your body nourished
A strong, well-fueled body has the most energy, and you’ll need all the energy you can muster during a hot yoga class. Make sure you get nutrients in during the day, but stop eating about an hour or two before class as a full stomach can cause nausea. If you’re a morning yogi like me, you’ll probably wake up and go on an empty stomach, so prepare yourself a good breakfast after class to get yourself going for the day, or put a scoop of protein powder in the water bottle that you take to class.
3. Pack your bag
In addition to your yoga mat, you’ll want to bring a yoga towel to place on top of your mat, a hand towel to wipe away your perspiration, a large bottle of water, and a yoga block. The yoga towel will ensure you are not slipping and sliding all over your mat, and the yoga block will help you feel more comfortable and aligned in certain poses. If you do not own a yoga towel or a yoga block, most studios will let you rent one or provide one free of charge.

4. Dress appropriately
With the room heated to temperatures upwards of 100 degrees, be prepared to sweat, sweat, and sweat some more. Wear clothing that is moisture wicking and comfortable. You do not want to go to hot yoga in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, as the sweat accumulation will weigh you down. Moisture wicking clothes are designed to hold in the sweat and keep you dry – you won’t even realize how much sweat is in your clothes until after you take them off! And definitely do a see-through test; you don’t want to arrive to yoga and realize your pants are a little too sheer!
5. Get pumped!
You probably already know that yoga involves just as much of the mind as it does the body, so focus your mind on a fun, successful yoga practice. If you feed your mind with doubt about getting through the class, you’ll only set yourself up for failure. You can do whatever you put your mind to, so get excited, feel confident in your body’s ability, and get ready to rock your hot yoga class!!
Hot yoga is a wonderful experience for both your mind and body. The added benefits of the heat help round out your yoga practice. While hot yoga may be intimidating your first time, there is nothing to be afraid of, and so much to be gained! Just be sure to follow these simple steps to give yourself the best, healthiest, and most rewarding yoga practice every time.

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Samantha Wilson

Samantha holds a journalism degree and enjoys sharing her love of a healthy and active lifestyle. She found her way into yoga after a devastating foot and knee injury and has never looked back. She is a recent transplant from Chicago to Charlotte and loves exploring her new city and getting involved in its yoga and running scene.

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