The Pilates Plus + OC team gives us pointers on this popular workout.
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When a yogi modifies their practice for their own personal journey, they often do different variations or poses. Similarly, yoga itself has taken on many different variations that add a little bit of flair to the ancient art. If you’re looking for a unique way to flow, try one (or all) of these classes.
Trade your mat for a board and your studio for some fun in the sun. Standup paddleboard yoga strengthens your core and legs, tests your balance and keeps you cool. If you’ve spent all your time practicing on land, perhaps it’s time to make some waves and give this floating class a try.
Beer plus yoga? The ultimate hoppy hour. As much as I would love to say that I made this class up, it is a real thing—and it’s awesome. Breweries are partnering with local yoga studios for classes that bring your intention (and your beer) to heart center and encourage you to sip while you salute the sun and earn your savasana. It’s a fun twist, but probably not recommended for days when you’re trying to twist out the toxins.
If you do have a lot of toxins you need to let out, there’s no better way than in a heated yoga class. Performed in a heated room, hot yoga detoxifies your body through sweating (and a LOT of it). Studios are usually around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on how full the class is and the studio policy. While it may seem intimidating, it’s a great way to build strength and increase flexibility.
Take your downward dog to the next level, literally. Instead of feeling bad for leaving your furry best friend behind while taking a class, try some doga. It’s normal yoga class that incorporates practicing with (you guessed it) your dog. Because even pets need peace of mind sometimes, too.
If you happen to have a goat, you can be a part of an up-and coming-trend known as goat yoga. It’s more or less the same as dog yoga, but with more of a zen farm vibe instead. If you aren’t able to BYO-goat for your home practice, some places actually offer it as a class.
Although not a totally-out-there class, yoga sculpt is a definite must-try if you’re looking to add a little bit of toning to your practice. It follows a Vinyasa-type flow but incorporates light weights and a few sculpting series to build muscle.
Some yoga studios dim the lights, while some opt for a full yoga rave with blacklights. Glow yoga is a party of a class that combines upbeat music with a glow-in-the-dark element. You can even use glow paint to decorate your body like your true warrior self. You’ve always had the inner soul-glow—now’s your time to let it show on the surface.
Tired of being on the ground? Give aerial yoga a try. The class uses a hammock to deepen your practice and help you feel light and airy. This type of yoga has tons of benefits, too, from better alignment to improved circulation and inversions.
No matter what type of yoga you do, remember that it’s all about the journey. Rather than continuing with the same practice every time, try opening yourself up to something different. Dive heart first into something new, even if it scares you—you might just be surprised at what you’re capable of.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.