Hot Yoga 101: What You’ll Need for Your First Hot Yoga Class
A water bottle, a yoga mat, a towel and comfortable clothing. This is essentially all you need for your hot yoga practice. Simple, right? Not really. Which type of towel takes care of your sweat but doesn’t have you slipping and sliding left and right? Do I mean beach towel, bathroom towel, or yoga towel? Why does your plastic water bottle keep making loud suctioning sounds in savasana? What counts as comfortable clothing? Do you have to wear a sports bra or go shirtless for optimal performance? Which mat supports your body’s access needs? Why does your mat keep slipping in downward dog? Why is this mat so cute but so painful on your knees? And finally, how do you find gear that not only fits your body but also your budget?
No matter where you are in your yoga journey, you are not alone with these concerns. It takes some time, trial, and error to learn which yoga gear suits your body and your needs. To support you in the quest to assemble the ultimate hot yoga care kit for your practice, we have compiled a list of tips and resources.
The Yoga Mat: One size does not fit all!
Figuring out what matters to you and what you need from a yoga mat is the first step. Are you the type of person that is motivated by the design, colours, style of the mat? Do you prefer more cushioning, or less, because of specific injuries, pain or access needs? Do you want to invest in a sustainable, eco-friendly and durable mat? How much traction and grip does it offer if it gets wet during hot yoga? Luckily, you don’t have to try out all the yoga mats at the mall to find these answers because some lovely researchers have already tried, tested, and reviewed yoga mats here. (hyperlink: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/yoga-mats)
The Water Bottle:
Some prefer to sip on warm water during class to adjust to the heat. Others prefer water bottles that keep their water cold and can also be used as a light cold compress in peak times during class. Metal or glass bottles tend to be more durable and sustainable then the regular reusable plastic water bottle.
Pro-Tip: If you struggle with meeting your hydration goals, don’t be afraid to add in some electrolytes for the extra hydration and energy boost in power flow, or some lemon and mint for detoxing in yin classes. Did you know when you sign up we gift you a sweet Modo Yoga water bottle?
For a hot yoga class, you will need the following:
Face Towel: Any small towel works to keep those sweat drops from distracting your focus in tree pose. At Modo Yoga, we always keep extra, fresh face towels in the changing rooms in case you forget yours! It is important to always use a fresh, clean towel each visit to keep your skin happy.
Yoga Mat Towel: This is different than a regular shower, body towel. It is specifically a micro-fiber towel that is meant for hot yoga and collects sweat throughout the class. Its purpose is to keep you from slipping and sliding during poses. Find a towel that has a solid grip. If it does not stick right away without getting wet or sweaty, than having a small water-spray bottle to quickly moisten where you place your feet and hands before class starts is an option to. Owning two yoga mat towels comes in handy when you are too lazy or tired to wash the one you used in a previous session and are running late for class!
Body Towel: A regular towel to use after your yoga session in case you wish to shower afterwards. Our studio has fully equipped changing rooms for women and men. These include: hairdryers, makeup remover pads, face towels, lockers, and more!
And when in doubt, do not worry we always have extra towels of all kinds at the studio!
Yoga is a journey of learning to meet your body where it is at, understanding its needs and charting paths for personal growth intuitively. Starting a new fitness practice can be intimidating as it surfaces a lot of anxiety we hold about meeting ableist standards of health and what our bodies should look and feel like. What we wear, in particular, is such a personal relationship to our bodies and how we express our selves. Hot yoga rooms can feel intimidating because of the misperception that you have to bare it all and the fear of others judging you. This is why it is so important to choose a studio, such as Modo Yoga, where the teachers and owners of the space prioritize accessibility and body-positivity. At our studio, we celebrate all bodies and all lifestyles. What members wear at our studio ranges from t-shirts, tights, shorts, tank tops, loose-fitting pants, sports bras etc. And, what you feel is comfortable to wear will wax and wane with your body’s needs on different days. Choosing a studio that offers a loving space and body-positive culture, as well as a healthy and accessible vision of fitness and yoga is equally, will make you feel most comfortable and at home in your yoga practice.
Extra Little Pick-Me-Ups
There are somethings we all do, that are not necessary or functional, but are little ways of bringing joy into our yoga practice. Most hot yoga studios are scent-free to make sure the space is accessible for everyone. However, you can spray your mat towel with a little bit of diluted essential oils such as eucalyptus or lavender to find that extra push in those chattarangas or relaxation in savasana. Just make sure the scent is not too strong and does not travel beyond your mat. Another little pick-me-up is writing down your intention before class begins on a tiny piece of paper or notebook and placing in front of your mat as a visual reminder of why you are practicing, what inspires or grounds you etc. As you develop your practice, and learn to grow into your yogic self, find ways to make a place for your self on the mat and honour what brings you joy and peace.
See you on your mat – whichever one you choose!
Modo Yoga Vancouver