Hot yoga is an intimidating concept. With studio temperatures ranging from 90 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, most people aren't sprinting to the nearest studio to get their sweaty downward dog on.
Because we know plenty of people who get terrified looks on their faces whenever hot yoga is mentioned, we decided to check in with a few flow-based hot yoga studios in New York City to get a few facts and tips. So, in addition to preparing to sweat, here's what you need to know about hot yoga.
1. Come prepared.
Hot yoga is a sweaty, slippery business, so show up with the right equipment. Keep your yoga clothes light (shorts and a tank top work well, and water-wicking material is a plus), and invest in something to stop you from slipping.
2. You can take breaks.
It's called hot yoga for a reason: It gets really hot in there, especially once you start moving. So Modo Yoga's Rebecca Foon suggests giving yourself a bit of a rest if you ever feel lightheaded, dizzy or just need a second to cool off. "You can and should rest anytime you need to in child's pose. The instructor will keep reminding you of this fact," Taylor Wells, co-founder of Prana Power Yoga, told The Huffington Post.
3. Eat well all day long.
If you have an evening of hot yoga ahead of you, Modo Yoga's Rebecca Foon suggests loading up on nutritious food throughout the day. While it's best not to eat within an hour or two of class, if you must, eat something small and full of electrolytes.
"Raw coconut water, half a banana or some watermelon with a sprinkle of kosher salt are great options," Tangerine Hot Power Yoga's Tamara Behar told HuffPost.
4. Water, water, water.
Think you can go water bottle-free in hot yoga? Think again. In order to get the most out of your hot yoga experience and avoid unnecessary lightheadedness, make sure you come with plenty of water.
"Hydration is the number one way for you to have a great experience," Behar told HuffPost.
5. You'll build strength.
Hot yoga isn't just about sweating and getting bendy. You'll get a great muscle workout, too. "Expect to use both upper and lower body strength and build up your core," Behar said.
6. It's better for flexibility than regular yoga.
Ever notice how much tighter your muscles are in the winter than the summer? Heat makes our muscles more stretchy, so it only makes sense that hot yoga helps improve flexibility.
"Hot yoga warms the muscles in your body so that you move with more ease," Behar explained.
7. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.
We know hot yoga sounds intimidating, but at the end of the day it's just yoga.
"It's just yoga in a hot room! Have fun with it, if you fall or if you need a break, don't sweat it (pun intended). You can always get back up," Levey said.
Who's ready to get sweaty?