Hot yoga: 9 myths debunked
Fancy trying hot yoga but feel like it might just be for the super fit or the super flexible. Think again! We asked the Hot Yoga Club for the truth about this popular practice.
Myth #1 – I’m not flexible enough
You don’t need to be physically flexible to start hot yoga – we hear this worry all the time and it’s really not a problem. Every pose starts at a basic level and increases in intensity, which the teacher will talk you through. Push yourself as far as you feel comfortable with. The element of heat helps to warm muscles, joints and ligaments, more so than in a non-heated class, and over time you will see improvements in flexibility which is really rewarding.
Myth #2 – It’s just a stretching class
Noooo! Whilst stretching is an important and enjoyable part of each class, it is so so much more than that. The physical benefits of hot yoga are endless, including building strength and muscle tone, improving metabolism, circulation, balance, posture, stamina and giving your ticker a great cardio workout. You’ll be surprised at how much your heart rate will rise during certain poses! You will certainly be able to challenge yourself in every class whether you’re a beginner or experienced yogi.
Myth #3 – I’ll look really hot (as in red-faced and sweaty!)
We can’t lie, it gets hot and humid in there. But the temperature is not excessively high. You will sweat, just like everyone else, including the teacher. Tomato faces are allowed and embraced in hot yoga classes – we don’t care what you look like so you shouldn’t either! We just want you to feel amazing afterwards. Sweating is all part of the experience, but after a few classes you will acclimatise and cool down quickly after class. Bring a towel to place on your mat to avoid sliding around, and also one for your face if you want. Regular sports clothes made from quick-drying fabrics are great for staying as comfortable as possible.
Myth #4 – I won’t be allowed to drink water
No one is going to stop you from drinking water in the hot studio so definitely bring along a bottle. The yoga teacher will prompt you to take water breaks and will encourage you to sip rather than gulp so you don’t take on too much fluid during class. The best preparation you can do, however, is to hydrate well in the lead up to your class so drink plenty of water during the day or night before.
Myth #5 – I won’t be allowed to leave the studio once it starts
The door isn’t locked, don’t panic! You are free to leave whenever you want! We’ve all experienced the hot studio for the first time and it’s all about acclimatising and managing the heat effectively to begin with. Your teacher will keep an eye on you during class and will encourage you to take rests and sit down on your mat and breathe as needed. Sitting down is not cheating and you don’t need to power through all of the poses! In every single class people will sit down, take breaks, and resume when they’re ready. Class by class you’ll be able to do more, rest less and feel like a superhuman!
Myth #6 – People will sweat over me!
Class numbers are limited, not only to create an optimum experience, but to allow space for every yogi to stretch their arms and legs without getting too cosy with their neighbour. As it’s a low impact and non-contact activity, it’s one of the most civilised ways to sweat!
Myth #7 – It’s just for women
Stop right there! It is for EVERYONE. More and more men are choosing to practice hot yoga, for a huge variety of reasons. They want to loosen up and become more flexible, increase fitness, de-stress, enjoy an activity that’s calming as well as challenging, and to compliment other sports like running or weights sessions in the gym. These are exactly the same reasons that women come along!
Myth #8 – I’ll feel too self-conscious in a class
Once you get into your practice you’ll find you’re busy focusing your mind and body on the task in hand. Don’t be scared of the mirrors! They are there to help you check your alignment and help with balance in certain postures and they’re actually really useful. All ages, shapes and sizes are enjoying hot yoga with us and as long as your clothing is practical, you can wear what you’re comfortable in. As for worrying about wobbling or ‘falling out’ of a pose, we all do it – even the teachers! The best thing to do is laugh, have fun and just go with the flow.
Myth #9 – I’ve got a bad back/knees/shoulder so I can’t do it
Amazingly, people have found that hot yoga has helped heal or ease aches and pains, and kept them active whilst recovering from minor injuries. But everyone is different and it’s important to know your limits and for the teacher to know if you have injuries. When you arrive for a class, chat with the teacher before you head into the studio. If you have a niggle, pain or a specific medical condition, your teacher will advise on poses to avoid or go easy on and will show you how to modify them if needed. There will be plenty of other poses you can do, as a typical class devotes time to the whole body.
Hot Yoga Club is a premium hot yoga and pilates studio based in Staines. They have an introduction offer for two weeks unlimited yoga for £35.