I’ve never tried Bikram (it’s on my yoga bucket list), so I can’t comment on THAT much pouring sweat. However, a warm room for 90 minutes of ashtanga or vinyasa opens up my pores pretty nicely.
When I first started yoga, I always kept a hand towel next to my mat. I wiped my hands and face constantly as sweat dripped and splashed. I felt like my hands were always slipping on my mat, and my vision would get blurry as my contacts floated around with all the extra liquid.
It actually became a huge distraction (both the sweat and the towel) during my practice to have to stop, wipe, then try to jump back in. My towel also became a bit of a crutch for me. It was my “break” between the standing postures and seated. Then, it seemed I took little breaks between all the seated poses. No matter how often I wiped, there was more dripping. I couldn’t seem to wipe sweat fast or often enough.
One day, my teacher moved my towel to the side just out of my reach as he walked past. I was forced to deal with the excess moisture. Here’s what I’ve done to manage the sweat:
1. Get an absorbent mat. I used a yoga towel over my mat for a long time before investing in Lululemon’s The Mat. It soaks up the sweat and provides enough traction for my hands and feet even when wet.
2. Pull all hair away from the face. The ashtanga pigtails help keep the single ponytail-drip from constantly going down my neck and back. Then, I use snap clips for my bangs. They sit flat against my head so I don’t get anything jabbing me in headstand.
3. Carefully launder sweat-wicking yoga clothes. After too many washes, some of the wicking properties on pants especially can get scrubbed off. Sweat-wicking material keeps me cool and doesn’t weigh me down, so I take great care when doing laundry to make sure towels, jeans and other rough fabrics aren’t rubbing up against my yoga clothes.
4. Use hands to “squeegee” sweat. A firm swipe of the fingers from the nose out to the ears seems to pull enough sweat away from my eyes for comfort. And then, I either wipe my hands on my top or the next time I put my hands down on the mat for a vinyasa. During sun salutations, your arms are moving about anyway, so the wiping action flows easily with the rest of the movement.
5. Maintain controlled ujjayi breathing. This one obviously isn’t a quick fix. But I found the more I worked on controlling my breath, the more it kept my body calm and steady. The practice felt less like cardio and always trying to catch my breath. Instead, it felt like moving meditation where my body was warm but not overheating. Over time, I find that I don’t sweat nearly as much as I did when I first began.
What tricks do you have for sweat management?