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Friday, April 5, 2013

What to Bring to Hot Yoga

hot yoga essentials


When it comes to yoga, Bikram hot yoga is my absolute favorite. I remember the first class I took many years ago like it was yesterday. At the time, I had just done a figure show and felt like I could take on any fitness challenge. Surely, I could handle a little yoga. So what the room was hot. Big deal.

Boy was I in for a surprise. The heat was so intense and unlike anything I had done prior, I questioned whether I would make it through the entire class. I was plotting my escape to make a beeline for the door. But I hung in there, and made it through. It was truly a humbling experience.

I found the heat to be a new challenge. I wanted to conquer it and all those poses that I could barely do. Yes, practicing yoga in a room set to 105 degrees is mildly torturous, but I love it.

I've taken a bit of a break from yoga and am going to start incorporating it into my routine again. It made me think of all the things I need to remember to bring with me to be comfortable. In case you're thinking of adding a little hot yoga into your mix (which I highly recommend), I thought I'd share the items I find to be most essential.

1. Yoga mat. Of course, this goes without saying. I find that any yoga mat will do. You can rent a mat for a small fee at Bikram studios.

2. Towel. You can use a bath towel, and these can also be rented at Bikram for a small fee. One year I got a yoga towel for my birthday and now I can't imagine practicing without it. The towel fits perfectly to the size of a yoga mat and doesn't bunch up. A worthwhile investment in my opinion.

3. Fitted top. Because you sweat so much, you don't want a loose fitting top to get in your way. A fitted tank is the way to go.

4. Water bottle. You'll want one that has a wide mouth that you can easily add ice cubes. CamelBak makes one that's good for this use and it's BPA free.

5. Coconut water. Add this to your water bottle with a bunch of ice cubes. As you get through the class, the ice cubes will melt, keeping your drink cold. Be sure to add plenty of ice cubes. I suggest filling the entire bottle with cubes, then add the coconut water on top. Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes and potassium which helps regulate fluid balance in your body.

6. Flip flops. You don't want to leave class and have to stuff your sweaty feet inside a pair of gym shoes.

7. Yoga shorts. Like with the top, you want to wear a fitted short of some sort. I think ones with some color and flare are fun, but any will work. You definitely don't want to wear pants.

8. A clean top and short. After you're done practicing, you'll be a sweaty mess. There's nothing worse than sitting in your car, and driving home drenched with sweat. A fresh shirt and pair of shorts will make the drive comfortable. If you want to rinse off and shower at the studio, go for it (just remember to bring all of your shower goodies).


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