5 FOOL - PROOF WAYS TO THRIVE IN HOT YOGA
Have you been wanting to try hot yoga but for some reason haven’t yet?
I have spent nearly every day since 2014 (and since 2017 at my own studio) teaching yoga to brand new beginners!
So many of us feel drawn to try hot yoga but to take the first step very often feels a bit daunting. Knowing that we won’t know anyone, that we don’t even have a clue of what yoga is, that we might not like it….. bla bla bla bla!
The little voice in the mind questioning wether we should go or not, do or not, will I like it or not, will always be there every time you set yourself to do something completely new and different.
That’s the job of the mind.
Our job is to listen to the mind and make our own decision rather then let the mind decide for us. We call it “follow your heart”.
I wanted to write this blog to help you follow your heart.
1. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!
Hydration is arguably the single most important thing that you can do to set yourself up for success before a hot yoga class.
When you arrive at class well-hydrated, your body does a really efficient job of managing the heat.
No question that you’ll feel hot in class and you’ll sweat. You’ll be in such a better position than if you had not had any water.
Now, hydrating before class doesn’t mean chugging a bottle of water two seconds before you walk into the studio. Cary a bottle with you and drink water along the day.
How much should you drink? There’s a lot of different opinions about. NHS recommends anything between 1-2 litters. The days you do hot yoga you should add at least 1L to that.
For me personally I find that it also depends on the type of food I eat, so I might need to drink more or less.
2. TAKE IT EASY & PACE YOURSELF
Most hot yoga classes are 60 minutes. That might feel like a long time to be stretching in a hot room when you’ve never done it before! That’s why pacing yourself can lead to feeling energised rather than burnt out.
Go easy, especially in the first 15-20 minutes of class. By “easy” I mean exert only about 60% of your maximum effort. Just because you can push harder, doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
In fact, holding back and pacing can be part of the mental challenge!
Focus more on staying connect with the Ujayyi breath rather than aiming to go all 100% on the poses and movement.
The style of hot yoga that I teach, I like to think of the class as a marathon. You keep a steady pace with some high and lows, slowly building up and increasing your stamina.
As we know a marathon is not a sprint; instead, a great deal of pacing is required to make sure the runner has energy at the end of the race. Take the same approach with your first hot yoga class. Take it easy at the beginning and save some energy. If you give it everything you’ve got in the first 10 minutes, it will be hard to keep going.
3. INFORM THE TEACHER OF ANY MEDICAL CONDITIONS OR INJURY BEFORE CLASS
We ask every new student if before their first class if they have any injury or anything we should be aware of.
This helps the teacher to give directions during the class to better suit the students needs.
For instance, very often there are a few people in class that have been suffering from lower back pain. In this case the teacher will call out for extra awareness and reinforcing the queuing on how to protect the lower back.
It also helps the teacher to protect the student in case they might be doing a pose in a certain way that might aggravate the condition.
The teachers are also all trained to give various options of a pose to suit every body type and ability.
Assisting the students in poses is something we take very serious in class to help the students feel more in their bodies, deepen the practice and help in case of injury or any other condition.
If the teacher knows your situation ahead of time, he or she can make sure that your first experience is the best it can be!
4. HAVE NO EXPECTATIONS
Yes, it’s true.
Here’s why: if you show up to class thinking, ‘This is going to be a piece of cake. How hard can yoga be? I’m going to do every single posture and not rest at all.’ then you’re setting some pretty high standards for yourself on something that’s pretty challenging, on something you’ve never done before.
Think about the flip side: if you arrive to class expecting to take it easy, expecting to rest, expecting that it will be challenging, then you will practice the yoga postures with more relaxation.
That relaxation will lead to easier breathing and ultimately an easier time controlling your movements. If you have sky-high expectations for your first class then there’s no where to go but down.
If you have little or no expectations then there’s no where to go but up.
The students who make the best of their first class always show up saying, “I’m just glad I got here. I’m going to take it pretty easy. I may not be able to do everything.”
We live in a world today where more is better and pushing to the max is expected. Use this yoga class as an opportunity to do exactly the opposite and see what happens.
5. DON’T COMPARE
A very simple definition of the word yoga is “union.”
This union refers to the union between YOUR mind and YOUR body.
While it’s tempting to compare yourself to others in the room, each individual is on his or her own journey.
There are 7 billion people in the world, with 7 billion different bodies, cells, mind-set. There is NOT ONE single person in the world with the identical bones, joints, muscles, proportions, size and personality.
The super bendy person next to you might actually be coming to class for the mental benefits and needing to work on building up strength.
The guy in the corner who can’t touch his toes might be using yoga to avoid back surgery, needing to increase mobility and flexibility.
You never know.
People show up to yoga class for myriad reasons.
When you focus on yourself, your postures, your breathing, your body, and your mind YOUR YOGA JOURNEY HAS STARTED!
Whew! I hope those five tips above are helpful!
I speak for myself and all of the wonderful teachers I have had the pleasure to work with. When a new student walks through the doors, we are so genuinely happy and excited that he or she has decided to come try out a class.
Showing up to the studio is the hardest "pose", but if you just show up, we will take care of the rest.
Lots of Love
P.S. - Do you want to read about the what is hot yoga and its benefits, check out this blog.
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