Getting the most out of your hot yoga class
Going to Hot Yoga classes regularly can be fantastic for your health. They can help to improve energy levels, reduce stress, and could also help with injuries and managing weight. Although there are many benefits to the practice, it’s important to stay on top of your own health and nutrition and try to manage yourself effectively in order to really reap all the benefits from a regular Hot Yoga practice.
Below are some tips of what I have learned over the past few years with regards to a Hot Yoga:
Tip 1: Eating
It’s important to eat enough if you know you will be taking a Hot Yoga class that day, or if you regularly come to class. It can be really tempting to skip a meal or not eat that much if you’re looking to manage weight, however it’s so much more beneficial to look for balance in diet and food intake, whether you’re on a diet or not.
Whole foods and complete proteins are a fantastic energy booster, so I like to eat lots of salads filled with beans, lentils, nuts etc. You can find really exciting recipes online. It’s a good idea to eat whole meals and snack throughout the day but try not to eat within 2 hours of the class as you might feel a bit queasy whilst practicing!
I like to keep an eye on my caffeine intake too; not only because it causes us to have dips in energy etc. but also as caffeine is a diuretic, you’ll find that avoiding too much caffeine can help you to stay hydrated and balanced with your energy levels.
Tip 2: Hydration
My last point has brought us on nicely to the topic of hydration, which is a key factor to consider when practicing Hot Yoga. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout each and every day anyway, however you’ll notice that you do sweat a lot in the Hot Yoga classes, and as a result you’ll need to make sure your body is nicely hydrated before starting the class and that you replace the water and salts lost following the practice.
This means drinking plenty of water throughout the day (no need to overdo it, just make sure you’re drinking enough) and also keeping an eye on how much caffeine we’re taking in etc. Our blood maintains a certain level of essential salts and electrolytes including magnesium, potassium, calcium and lots more.
When we sweat in a Hot Yoga class, it’s great as we sweat out a lot of bad stuff in our system, however we also sweat out a level of these essential salts. So it’s a great idea to supplement your practice with an electrolyte drink afterwards to replace the lost good stuff.
As a teacher, I personally use the Zero electrolyte tablets that we sell at our studio (they dissolve in a drink of water for us to drink). I really notice the difference now when I go without these supplements. So it’s important to note form this that it’s not only important to top up on water levels, but also on salts and electrolytes.
Tip 3: Timing
Modern life is busy by definition! Sometimes work and family commitments can take up more of our time and energy than expected and we find we’re behind on our plans. If it’s possible, it’s a fantastic idea for yourself to aim to arrive to class 15 minutes early.
This means if things do delay a few minutes, there’s no stress about being late. Also, and most importantly, yoga classes are a time for regaining your own headspace, to get in the zone, out of your mind and into your body. You’ll find if you are able to arrive 10/15 minutes early, you’ll be able to settle your things in the changing rooms, settle down on the mat and really start to relax before the class.
A lot of people find this really helps them with their focus during the practice, and that if they ever are rushed to get to the class on time, they feel a bit on edge and it’s sometimes harder to soften 100% into the experience.
Tip 4: Managing Your Energy Levels
No doubt 75 minutes of dynamic Vinyasa Yoga in a 40 degree room takes a lot of energy! And you’ll find that a regular practice helps you to monitor your energy levels during the class. If you’re feeling particularly sluggish one day, you may find you reap more benefits from taking a couple more breaks in child’s pose than you usually do.
When I started a Hot Yoga practice I found the heat invigorating and energy consuming at the same time. As a result I would really go for it at the beginning of the class and find I may be flagging towards the end! I quickly learned that monitoring my own energy levels, on a daily, monthly, seasonal basis really helped me to understand exactly what pace I wanted to set myself for the class in order to make the most of it.
So I definitely would encourage all students to have a little self-scanner switched on before, during and after each class to learn exactly how is best to pace yourself. It’s such an individual experience for each person, with so many variables that it’s a great way to discover yourself.
Tip 5: After Your Class
After the class you could feel a range of things, depending on the day and your own energy levels. When you first start practicing you may feel a type of euphoria or giddiness following the class, when you get more used to the practice, this seems to turn into a regular bliss that can stay with you for the rest of the day 🙂
If you leave feeling tired or a bit low, make sure to take care of yourself. Perhaps you need a bit more food or more rest. Always ensure you re-hydrate and replace all the lost salts and electrolytes that we discussed earlier!
We all choose a yoga practice for different reasons; maybe for fitness, injuries, flexibility, strength, to cope with stress etc. However most of us leave a yoga class with more than that one benefit that we went there for in the first place.
You hopefully will find with a regular practice that the everyday stresses of life don’t haunt the same way they used to, and that maybe it’s easier to smile.
See you for a class soon 🙂