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Takeaways From My First Traditional Hot Yoga Class

March 23, 2022 5 min read

Doing yoga half-naked in a sauna, drenched in your own sweat and with suspicious smells hanging in the air is not for everyone. For this yoga practitioner, however, it was an awakening.

As a yoga teacher-in-training, I had heard about both the benefits and the disadvantages of traditional hot yoga. But I couldn't just take anyone's word for it. I had to experience it myself.

What is hot yoga?

Thetraditional hot yoga series, also known as Bikram yoga,is made up of 26 poses plus two breathing exercises. It’s practiced in a room heated to about 104°F/42°C and at 30% humidity.This style is for anyone who wants to try it, whether they have practiced yoga before or not. All you need is a mat, a towel to cover your mat, water and ultra-light workout clothes

Check out our Hot Yoga Gear Guide.

Takeaways From My First Hot Yoga Class | Mukha Yoga

What are the benefits of hot yoga?

The heat warms up the body and loosens up the joints and muscles. This means that your range of motion will increase and your mobility will improve. The traditional sequence massages internal organs in addition to compressing and extending the entire body, which may help detoxify, oxygenate your blood, and improve circulation and digestion.

Furthermore, certain standing and balancing poses are great forms of cardiovascular exercise, which increases your fitness and aids in weight loss.

In terms of mental benefits, this style forces you to be fully present. Moving through the discomfort stops wandering thoughts and allows you to focus only on what you’re doing and feeling. As a result, you build mindfulness, concentration, mental strength and resilience.

Emotionally, this practice melts away the stress and worry, it boosts your energy and can be incredibly uplifting.

What are the risks of hot yoga and how to avoid them?

During my research, I read horror stories of people fainting, vomiting or simply being unable to bear the extreme conditions of this practice. I was experiencing a mixture of excitement and dread at the challenge.

The extreme temperature and conditions of the class may result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, dizziness, nausea and elevated heart rate. Before signing up for a class, talk to your physician to make sure that you don’t have any conditions that could be a concern.

How to prepare for a hot yoga class | Mukha Yoga

To prevent dehydration, don’t drink alcohol at least a day before your class and avoid caffeinated drinks. Drink at least 1L of water before class. Additionally, consider taking electrolyte drinks containing sodium and potassium before and after a class. Coconut water, salt tablets and bananas are good recovery options.  

Always listen to your body. A traditional hot yoga class is aimed at all levels, so don’t force yourself to go into postures your body isn’t ready to reach. If you’re feeling dizzy or nauseated, slow down, sit or lay on your mat for a few breaths.

Don’t forget to eat properly after a class to nourish your body and rest to prevent overexertion.

My experience: the initial shock

Once I arrived, I peeked into the room. I was hit so hard with a wave of thick, hot air it almost hurt. This 90-minute class was advertised as a beginner-friendly series, but as soon as I stepped into the studio, I began questioning that claim.

 After two minutes, I decided to strip down to my yoga bra and shorts - something I had never done in a studio class before. After seeing everyone else do the same, I realized that this style does have a touch of body inclusivity. When you’re baking hot, dripping with sweat, and holding challenging poses, the perfect beach body is the last thing on your mind.

The class began with the first breathing exercise. However, trying to breathe in the scorching air resulted in ragged and fractionated inhalations. I just couldn’t do it. In fact, I found myself gasping for air because I never seemed to take in enough.

As we transitioned to the first standing poses, I felt my morning smoothie churning in my stomach. If you're told to eat something light at least one hour before, pay heed! I finished my smoothie about 40 minutes before the class… And I could feel it.

 After a few deep breaths and many prayers asking every deity known to humankind to not let me be the one who would vomit first, the nausea subsided a bit. As I stretched and felt sweat gushing out of my pores, I began falling into an awkward rhythm. In spite of my limited range of movement, I could easily adjust the poses to my flexibility.  

My experience: easing in

As time went by and we plowed on, I felt… powerful.

I felt like my body was melting, but I kept on going. My muscles burned, but I kept on going. I felt dizzy during the last breathing exercise, but I kept on going.

By the time we reached the seated poses, I could feel odd shivers running down my limbs, especially my arms. Sometimes they were so strong that I almost felt cold, but the teacher told me this was the beginning of the detox process, one of the main benefits of this style.

When the class was over, I felt incredibly light, energetic and exhilarated. No other yoga style has had that effect on me before. For now, I can report that I’m hooked and I can’t wait to try it again.

What types of hot yoga are there?

Are you wondering whether hot yoga is right for you?

A traditional hot yoga class is 90 minutes long in a room heated to 105 °F/40°C and at about 30-40% humidity.This style (known as Bikram to some),follows the same sequence of 26hatha postures and 2 breathing exercises.

If you would prefer to ease into it, look for shorter heated or warm yoga classes. These take place in rooms at temperatures between 98-100°F/36-37°C and are a maximum of 60 minutes long.

If you want more variety, some studios offer heated hatha and vinyasa classes. For those looking for a challenge, hot power or flow yoga classes are a combination of hot yoga with fast-paced vinyasa sequences.

A slower and therapeutic option is a heated/warm yin or restorative yoga class. You will be comfortably warm and hold calming poses for several minutes at a time. Some studios even diffuse essential oils to create a soothing atmosphere.

As you can see, hot yoga comes in many shapes and sizes. There is bound to be a class that is right for you!

Types of Hot Yoga | Mukha Yoga

What types of hot yoga are there?

Are you wondering whether hot yoga is right for you?

A traditional hot yoga class is 90 minutes long in a room heated to 105 °F/40°C and at about 30-40% humidity. Each class follows the same sequence of 26hatha postures and 2 breathing exercises.

If you would prefer to ease into it, look for shorter heated or warm yoga classes. These take place in rooms at temperatures between 98-100°F/36-37°C and are a maximum of 60 minutes long.

If you want more variety, some studios offer heated hatha and vinyasa classes. For those looking for a challenge, hot power or flow yoga classes are a combination of hot yoga with intense and fast-paced vinyasa sequences.

A slower and therapeutic option is a heated/warm yin or restorative yoga class. You will be comfortably warm and hold calming poses for several minutes at a time. Some studios even diffuse essential oils to create a soothing atmosphere.

As you can see, hot yoga comes in many shapes and sizes. There is bound to be a class that is right for you!

Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer
By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2022

Aimeé Durán Triujeque l Mukha Yoga Writer By Aimeé Durán Triujeque; All Rights Reserved @2022

New to Hot Yoga?
Check out our Hot Yoga Gear Guide!