TIPS FOR SUMMER PRACTICE:
- Hydrate Properly. Proper hydration is extremely important for every physical activity but, due to the increased sweating in Hot Yoga, hydration is even more important. Drink at least 1 to 1.5 liters of water before every class. Such preparation will also prevent you from needing or wanting to gulp lots of water during class, which can cause stomach cramps and generally act as a distraction.
- Replenish Electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that may be lost from the body during periods of heavy sweating. Symptoms of electrolyte deficiency include dizziness, headaches, cramping and fatigue. Electrolytes are contained in most sports drinks, but drinks that are low in sugar, e.g. coconut water, are preferable and healthier. A mixture of water, sea salt and lemon juice can also work to restore lost electrolytes, as well as tomato juice.
- Eat right. As with any physical activity, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating right to help you perform your best. While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is recommended (fruit, fruit juice, raw vegetables, a small serving of almonds or trail mix are all viable options), you might want to allow two hours between any snacks and four hours between any heavy meals and your yoga practice. The only thing worse than practicing with a belly full of water is practicing with a belly full of food! You’ll want to eat a snack or meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice.
- Listen to your body and respect your edge. Only you know how far you can comfortably push your body. Listen to those signs that your body offers you. When our muscles are warm, it’s easier to stretch them, which means that suddenly body parts find it easier to reach one another—forehead to the knee, fingertips to the toes, foot behind your calf muscle. Move slowly and mindfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while! Don’t feel the need to “keep going” in a pose if the intro level is enough of a stretch and challenge for you. Your yoga practice is yours and yours alone. Quiet the ego–that little voice that tells you to push harder when you know you could risk injury–and just breathe and enjoy being where you are now.
- Dress for it. Hot yoga is not the time to be modest. No one is there to judge you, and no one looks his or her best when dripping in sweat. Wear tight-fitting clothes, as looser garments trap heat. Tank tops are a great choice, as they allow for better range of motion and generally stay in place better than a T-shirt. Regular cotton clothing is not recommended—once drenched in sweat, it will feel heavy and clammy against your skin. A moisture-wicking headband is great for keeping sweat from dripping in your eyes. That’s a surefire way to break your concentration!
- Invest in a Yogitoes Towel. There’s nothing worse than trying to focus on a pose only to keep slipping because of all the sweat dripping off your body. If you decide that hot yoga is right for you, invest in a Yogitoes towel that you can lay over your mat while you practice, which is made of microfibers that absorb moisture and become grippy when wet. The Yogitoes also have silicone beads for added stickiness.
- Go au natural. Though it seems counterintuitive to shower before a workout, I often rinse off before yoga practice to remove any lotions or oils that will make my skin even more slippery once my body starts to sweat. Skip the perfume, the smell of which can be overwhelming in heated, humid rooms.
- Take rest as needed. If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or otherwise ill at any point during the practice, take a break. Take a knee, sit down on your mat (keep your head above your heart), or if on the floor, rest in Savasana.