10 Things NOT to do Before Hot Yoga
When you want to bend, twist and sweat your way fit with a hot yoga workout, avoid making these mistakes before class
Hot Yoga Don’t: Moisturize with heavy lotions
Getting sweaty during a hot yoga class can make your yoga mat a little slippery, but if you’re wearing heavy lotion, it can make some poses seem near impossible.
“As soon as you start to sweat, any lotion that you put on is going to make your skin very slippery which can inhibit some poses,” says Sarah Bolen, a Halifax-based yoga instructor and host of Coral TV’s Surviving Yoga.
The last thing you want is to make your hot yoga workout even harder, so keep that in mind before you moisturize in the morning.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Wear perfume
When you spritz on your perfume in the morning, you might not be thinking of your afternoon yoga class, but you should.
“Scents will become more prominent as soon as you start to sweat,” says Bolen. So to accommodate the people around you, avoid perfumes or heavily scented lotions and shampoos.”
The other people in the class might have sensitivities to scents, or worse, it could make them feel a little dizzy, which is exactly what you don’t want in a hot room.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Eat heavy foods
You probably weren’t planning to eat a four-course meal before working out, but before you reach for another dinner roll, consider this: big meals and hot workouts don’t mix, says Bolen.
“Yoga helps to aid digestion through twists, which can be uncomfortable if you have eaten anything too heavy throughout the day,” she says.
Another thing to avoid: Coffee. It will dehydrate you, which is the last thing you want before entering a hot room. (We’re talking roughly 40 degrees Celsius!)
Hot Yoga Don’t: Eat within an hour of class
When preparing for a hot yoga class, make sure you eat healthy foods – and try not to eat right before you roll out your yoga mat.
“Ensure that you have eaten balanced meals throughout the day, and that any large meals are finished about two hours before class,” says Bolen.
Of course, if you’re really hungry and your yoga class is about to start, it’s best not to go into the room with a growling tummy. You need energy to carry you through, after all.
In that case, Bolen recommends snacking on something light and refreshing, like fruit. (We’ve also got some great yoga snack ideas.)
Hot Yoga Don’t: Do strenuous workouts the same day
Determined to pack in as many workouts as possible? Resist the urge to do so when you’re just starting a hot yoga practice.
“If it is your first time practicing hot yoga, do not do any other strenuous workouts on that day,” says Bolen.
The best approach is to gradually introduce yoga to your weekly routine.
“Always work new classes into your schedule progressively as it will take your body time to adjust and recover,” she says.
Eventually, you’ll be able to do hot yoga the same day as your other favourite workouts, and they’ll complement each other nicely.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Eat foods that bloat your body
During hot yoga, you want to be thinking about one thing: hot yoga (not the greasy chips you ate in the car on the way over).
That’s why it’s not just the quantity of food that matters – it’s also the type of food. If you know that bread makes you sleepy or feel too full, for example, avoid it.
And, of course, skip the usual suspects like processed and high-fat foods, says Bolen. “(Avoid) anything that will make you bloated.” (Or gassy!)
That’s good health advice whether you’re doing hot yoga or not.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Wear baggy or restrictive clothing
You might be tempted to reach for your coziest t-shirt and sweatpants before a workout, but for hot yoga, baggy clothes aren’t the best option. You’re going to get sweaty, and that comfy tee will turn into a soggy, uncomfortable shirt. Not only that, but it restricts movement.
“Avoid constricting and baggy clothes that will restrict your ability to move,” says Bolen.
Instead, she suggests a fitted sports bra or top paired with form-fitting shorts or leggings. Trust us, in a hot yoga class, less is more.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Chug water
To compensate for all the sweating you’re about to do, it might seem like a good idea to load up on as much water as possible before class. But you’ll regret guzzling a huge amount of water when it’s sloshing around in your tummy mid-pose.
Instead, Bolen recommends hydrating as much as possible during the day (ideally drinking three to four litres of water). “Be sure to consume this gradually throughout the day, as chugging water directly before class will have an adverse effect,” she says.
If you’re attending a hot yoga class first thing in the morning, make sure you’re hydrating the day before.
Once you’re in class, if you need some hydration, take small sips from your water bottle. “If you are overheated during class, chugging water will not help and will likely make you feel worse,” says Bolen.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Get stuck in traffic
Showing up late to hot yoga is a bad idea.
Not only do you need time to settle in and adjust to the temperature, you might disturb your fellow yogis and interrupt their practice – that is if you’re allowed in.
Many hot yoga studios lock the door at the beginning of class so other students don’t get interrupted or distracted by a blast of cool air at the door.
Hot Yoga Don’t: Ignore your doctor’s advice
Hot yoga can pose risks for for those with low or high blood pressure or anyone with a heart condition. If you suffer from either of these and your doctor recommends avoiding hot yoga, skip the heat and try a different yoga style instead.
Same goes for pregnancy, especially in your first trimester when nausea and dizziness are bad enough without getting overheated.
Bottom line: It’s better to check with your doctor than end up feeling sick or making your symptoms worse.