Talk about a specialty topic!! Hot yoga is the practice of yoga in a heated room, usually between 95-104 degrees. The heat aids in pain management and flexibility, and I have been a practitioner off and on for about four years. Besides the physical exertion of the exercise, it is the meditation portion of the proceedings that help me feel sane in this insane world, and when I don’t attend for a stretch, I REALLY miss it!
That being said, there are a couple of things that hot yogis should keep in mind when attending class:
- No strong odors! Good or bad. In the heat, smell travels. Strong laundry detergent may affect your neighbor as much as stinky feet.
- Allow room for your fellow yogis, both to allow you to do postures without intruding on each other’s personal space, and at the end of the session when you are exiting. I am far from a germaphobe, but one of the grossest things I can think of is someone ELSE’S sweat dripping on me as they exit the hot yoga room because that someone else is taking a short cut and I am still in savasana. Stop It.
- Follow the rules of the room. At our studio, there is no talking in the yoga room. At all. It seems a bit draconian, but the thing is, it is the ONLY place in my entire life that there is no talking, no computer, no cell phone, and I can’t explain how healing that is for the amount of time I have for that particular class. Conversations with fellow practitioners at my studio bear this feeling out. When a new yogi, or an inconsiderate one, chats with their friend while waiting for class to begin, it is like fingernails on a chalkboard.
- No electronics in the yoga room. See above.
- If you must leave in the middle of class, don’t make a big production out of it. Quickly and quietly leave, between postures if at all possible, attend to whatever it is you need to attend to, and come back. Hold the door so it doesn’t slam. Also, if you think you need to leave because of the heat, try lying in savasana with your eyes open and concentrating on your breathing. Close your mouth, nose breathing only. This becomes a mediation state, and really does work.
- After class, clean the area around you according to your studio’s procedures. My studio as a melaluca and water solution to spray the area with, as well as absorbent towels for really heavy sweaters.
- Save questions about postures, etc. for before or after class.
- Dress appropriately. Because it is, frankly, hot as hell, most folks tend to go minimal. Which is FINE! What is less than okay is garments that show your ‘goodies’, shall we say, as you move through postures, clothing that becomes transparent when wet, or clothing that when wet with sweat, gaps in previously unrealized ways. Closer fitting tops work better than oversized t-shirts, on a practical level, for women. Men, you lucky dogs, shirts are optional. Also, men and women, this is NOT the time to go commando, okay? Just trust me on that one. I’ve seen WAY more than I want to see of perfect strangers, and say a pray that I haven’t, in turn, provided the same show.
If you are thinking of trying hot yoga for this first time, these are easy, and mostly comment sense, ways to make the class enjoyable for all the participants. For us ‘old hats’ this serves as a gentle reminder, and will help bring new converts into the practice we love!