The Pilates Plus + OC team gives us pointers on this popular workout.
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It’s no surprise we miss our beloved hot yoga studios. I miss joining my yoga community and sharing in movement during our joint yoga practice. I miss teaching in-person classes and connecting face-to-face. I so badly want to experience my body heating up, feeling the change in temperature as I walk into a heated yoga room. And of course, I miss all the benefits of hot yoga (flexibility, stress relief, calorie burn, and so many more.)
Yeah, this is hard.
To make these times a little bit easier for us hot yoga folks, I’ve created this list for you to experience hot yoga in your room at home. Think of it as a ritual you partake in, just for you. Think of it as something you deserve to create for yourself, even during this time of chaos. While it will never take our favorite yoga studio’s place, it will quell our thirst (or will it?) until we meet again.
This is rule number one. In order to have the full hot yoga experience, your room has to be hot. Position your infrared heater a few feet away from your mat, with the heated side facing you. I achieve my best at-home hot yoga sessions when I allow the room to heat up for 20 minutes prior to my flow. This is a great time to adjust to the temperature, drink water, meditate, or journal.
Please note: an infrared space heater should never be left unattended. When not in use, unplug that bad boy.
Now, we’re talking. All the best hot yoga studios know a combination of humidity and heat is what makes the room feel so dreamy and sauna-like. Adding this element of moisture to the hot air is a gamechanger (and helps us move through those poses with ease). You can place your humidifier in the corner of the room and turn it on at the same time as the heater. Build your personal yoga studio oasis, baby.
I know, don’t yoga teachers always say that? Well, we do, because it’s true. The key to building internal heat is by utilizing ujjayi breath. Keep a steady, consistent, strong breath; inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose—for the entire yoga practice. It’ll take some getting used to, but it makes all the difference.
When we target large muscle groups and incorporate dynamic movement in a yoga sequence, we can build heat more easily. Think oscillating between Warrior 2 (quadriceps, glutes) and Star Pose—or Crescent A (quadriceps, hamstrings) and Low Lunge Pose. However many times on each side until your heartbeat starts pumpin’ (and you start to sweat)!
The stomach area is where the Manipura chakra is located. The element of this chakra is fire, and it’s no wonder—when we engage our belly muscles, we build tons of warmth. A plank is a simple and effective static pose that will quickly create heat and sweat. Continue building your sweat by adding Side Plank Pose, Dolphin Pose, Boat Pose, or crunches. Must I go on?
Who wouldn’t want a softly-lit yoga space? Sprinkling candles around the room adds not only warmth, but an ethereal vibe to your practice. You can even use the fire from a candle as your Drishti (point of focus) when moving through your standing postures.
Please note: make sure the candles steer clear of flammable objects and are placed on stable surfaces.
Imagine yourself walking into your favorite hot yoga studio. What do you smell? I’m sure it’s a combination of moving bodies and essential oils (tell me I’m wrong). Add them to your at-home hot yoga ritual! Consider placing your favorite essential oil on your wrists and your temples prior to beginning your practice. If you have a diffuser, that works, too.
While we aren’t exactly stoked to be inside, we owe it to ourselves to keep our passions alive. By creating a home practice that mimics the studio experience (and going virtual when you can), we can continue to thrive as we shelter in place.
What would you add to this list? Let us know by posting on your Instagram story and tagging @mindbody.
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.