Yoga Practice

What to expect: Hot yoga


While I think I’ll be taking a loooong hiatus from doing hot yoga, I wanted to offer some tips for what I learned so you will know what to expect.

  • The room will feel hot. Ok, that might seem like a no-duh, but let me explain. If you’ve been in any state in the south or southeast during the middle of summer, that’s pretty close to what it feels like. It’s not a dry heat. It’s humid and sticky, and everyone is glistening – sopping wet, even. You cannot help the amount of sweat that will come out of your pores no matter how mentally calm you are.
  • On that note, you will sweat a LOT. Expect to use a towel (or two!) to wipe your face and your arms before attempting to do arm balances or inversions. You don’t want to slip in your own glow. It helps to wipe sweat from around your ears too. I learned that one the hard way.
  • Wear the most breathable yoga pants you own. Go as thin as you can without going see through. (Do the bend-over pant test at home first!) A good technical fabric will pull the moisture away from your skin. I haven’t found any good yoga shorts yet, but I totally understand why people wear them.
  • You will want a towel for your mat. I gave it a pretty good try on my Lulu The Mat, but about part way through class, I really needed an absorbent layer ASAP. If you sweat buckets (like I do or most men do), you will need something to catch all the drips.
  • Hydration is important – well before class. I knew to drink a lot of water during the day before an evening class. What I don’t recommend is chugging that last amount of water within an hour of class because even if you empty your bladder right before, you may find yourself needing to pee again in the middle.
  • Don’t attempt anything dangerous. Especially if mats are really close together, it’s probably not a good idea to attempt your first headstand without working up to it with a teacher. There’s a lot of potential to slip and crash into your neighbor. It could very well be a domino effect down the row.
  • You may feel panicky. At one point in one of the classes, I was breathing hard after a particularly challenging flow and found myself panicking a bit. It was a combination of the heat, my elevated heart rate and not catching my breath. I had to force myself to take slower breaths until I could calm down.
  • The floor will be very wet. After class, people will attempt to wipe down their mats and the surrounding floors (assuming it’s not a carpeted room, ick). However, it will still be really slick from people’s feet and missed spots between mats. Try your best to wipe down WAY more than your immediate sweat puddle and be careful exiting the room.
  • The last thing you want in your face is hair. Can you imagine an Olympic swimmer’s annoyance with hair stuck in her face while trying to finish a race? I’m not an Olympic swimmer, but hot yoga soaked my hair as if I were submerged in a pool. I made sure to tie and clip it back in ashtanga pigtails.


As I wrote in my previous posts, hot yoga isn’t AS BAD as I expected it to be. The classes themselves were enjoyable, but the keys to a successful experience are heat management and being fully prepared before going to a class in those temperatures.

Any other tips?

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  1. I tell first timers to don’t be afraid to just lie down- or go into child’s pose… i’ve been going for several weeks and still find myself sometimes just having to lie down- that panic feeling you mentioned. And for post-class- coconut water and bananas really help to re-hydrate. Love the pigtails, btw!!

    • Terri says

      good call on re-hydration! i’m terrible at that after a class.

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