With anyone and everyone practising this “new” trend of hot yoga, a friend and I thought we would jump on the bandwagon and try it out to see what all the fuss was about (I was a total yoga-newbie at this point and threw myself straight in at the deep end to try this out. If you’re going to fail, why not fail in style).
So, what is hot yoga?
It is your usual yoga class – i.e. bikram, vinyasa etc. – but in a heated or “hot” yoga studio. The rooms generally reach around 40 degrees Celsius (imagine the heat of Greece or Turkey mid-August – yep, it really does feel like you’re some where far away underneath the summer sun). The idea is that it imitates the weather in India where yoga originates from, the heat also allows you to stretch further and it is suggested that it prevents injury and helps heal any existing injuries too.
All sounding great so far? I thought so too.
Before we went to our first class we did a bit of research and found that you aren’t meant to eat 2 hours before a class as the heat can make you feel sick. Also, you have to make sure you are very well hydrated as the sweating you will endure in one of these classes is crazy. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness and weakness among other unwanted symptoms which aren’t desirable, especially during exercise.
I followed all procedures – I didn’t eat before I went to a class and made sure I was fully hydrated – and I came out of my first class feeling really great! The amount of sweating made me feel, in a strange way, cleansed; almost like I’d been sat in a sauna or steam room for an hour but with the added benefit that I’d actually taken part in some great exercise too.
I did worry about being dehydrated but I’d definitely suggest giving it a go. I don’t think it would ever replace the exercise I currently do but I’d definitely add it to my weekly exercise as a little treat (it can be pretty expensive). And even if you don’t think hot yoga sounds like your cup of tea why not give something else a go? Maybe a Zumba or Salsa class or maybe some Crossfit? You never know, you might enjoy it!
Top tip: Make sure you take lots of water to a hot yoga class. I bought a big bottle of water (I think 1.5L) and put it in the freezer the night before so I had nice and refreshing ice water during the class. I found that a normal chilled bottle of water heated up very easily in the hot yoga studio and by the end you were drinking warm water, not nice :(