What to Expect at Your First Hot Yoga Class

People lying on yoga mats in group yoga class

If you are new to hot yoga, we’ve got you covered! Here is everything you need to know before your first class.

Going to your first hot yoga class can be intimidating. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s too hard and not suitable for beginners. Perhaps you’re worried that you are too old or too young, too small or too big, or not flexible enough.

Instead of imagining the worst, try visualizing yourself walking into the front doors at Namaste Yoga, being greeted by a welcoming smile. There is a friendly face at the reception desk waiting to give you a tour and introduce you to other members. Anything you forgot to bring is available at the studio so you don’t have to worry about a thing. There are clean restrooms and showers available for you, fully stocked with all the necessities you may need to make this your home-away-from-home.

Come early and relax on our patio as long as you like. We have complimentary herbal tea and fruit-infused water waiting for you. There is a library full of books for you to borrow and read on the patio or in our waiting area.

Before Class

When it’s time for your class to begin, tell your teacher about any pre-existing conditions or concerns so that they can custom tailor this experience for you. The studio space is an oasis of sights and sounds that make you feel fully immersed in a new place. All your senses are taken on a mini vacation from your ordinary life. The class is challenging in the best way and makes you feel invigorated, accomplished, and energized. As you leave the studio, you realize that you already miss the experience and can’t wait to get back for your next class.

See, there is nothing to be afraid of after all!

While hot yoga can be challenging, it’s worth it if you give yourself some time to acclimate to the experience. Hot Yoga makes you feel amazing in mind and body, introduces you to a community of like-minded people, and improves your life in ways you never would have expected. At Namaste Yoga we have a variety of classes to choose from and you will find there is something for everyone.

History of Hot Yoga

Bikram Choudhury, born in 1944, is the founder of hot yoga. His fixed series of 26 postures, practiced at 105°F with a humidity of 40% for 90 minutes, was founded in the 1970s and was developed from traditional Hatha yoga, simply called Bikram Yoga. The heat and humidity were intended to mimic the environment in India, where yoga started, because of the boost in flexibility that practitioners experienced in that environment. Many followers of Bikram Yoga noticed a dramatic improvement in their physical and mental health with consistent practice. An international love of hot yoga was born.

The heated environment warms every muscle in the body simultaneously, increasing flexibility almost instantly, without the necessity of warm-up exercises. Hot yoga also has many other scientifically proven added benefits including increased heart rate, lowered blood pressure, increased metabolism, improved heart health, boosted immune system, increased detoxification, decreased stress, and many more.

In 2016, Bikram Choudhury was forced out of the industry because of accusations and lawsuits of sexual misconduct. Many studios changed their class structure and dropped the name to distance their reputation from his.

While Choudhury turned out to be an embarrassment to the yoga community, the benefits of hot yoga were loved by many, so the practice continued and evolved. Hot Yoga now includes a variety of class styles including warm yin, hot vinyasa flow, power yoga, 26+2, and many others. Many studios develop their own class styles and sequences to balance the ultimate mind-body connection with a great workout.

Similarities Between Hot Yoga and Non-Heated Yoga

Hot yoga and non-heated yoga are similar on most levels. There are a variety of class styles for all ability levels and the focus is on connecting with your breath. The breath in yoga is associated with Prana (life force or energy). Observing and controlling the breath and syncing it to the postures (asanas) gives you a more meditative experience, bringing a sense of calmness and relaxation to the mind and body.

All yoga is a low-impact activity that will improve your energy, reduce stress, improve flexibility, lower your risk for heart disease, and increase strength.

How is Hot Yoga Different from Non-Heated Yoga

The only difference is heat. Hot yoga is done in a room that is heated to 90-105 degrees Fahrenheit and usually also includes added humidity.

Benefits of Hot Yoga

A hot room warms your muscles quickly, increasing flexibility, making it easier to get deeper into the postures, and reducing the risk of injury.

The heat also increases your heart rate, causing you to burn 50% more calories and burn more body fat than in a non-heated class.

You will detox through sweating.

Your mental focus will be increased in a heated class, making it more challenging and more rewarding than its non-heated counterpart.

What to Know Before Your First Class

Come hydrated: During hot yoga, you may sweat more than you have ever sweated before in your life. It feels amazing, but it results in significant fluid loss which puts you at risk for dehydration. Put some electrolytes in your water bottle and drink plenty before and after class. When you sweat you lose important electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium and it’s important to replenish yourself before and after class. If you don’t hydrate well before class, you may feel nauseous or dizzy during class. If you do feel light-headed during class, lower your body to the floor. You may want to rest in child’s pose or corpse pose (or any position that makes you feel relaxed) for a few minutes while your core temperature regulates. If you don’t have any electrolytes in your pantry, don’t worry, we have some available for sale in our retail area. We also have a complimentary water bottle refill station and bottled water available for purchase at the studio.

At Namaste Yoga, we highly recommend that you always listen to your body. There will be days when you feel energized and want to work hard in your yoga class and there are days when you just want to lay on your mat and soak up the energy without expending any of your own. Most days will be somewhere in between. Maybe you keep up with the teacher some of the time but choose to intermittently rest in child’s pose. Your yoga practice is your own. We encourage you to allow yourself to be who you are and feel how you feel. There is no pressure and no competition. Yoga is an internal practice, and you are free to do what feels right for your body today.

Tips for Your First Class

Eat a light snack 2-3 hours before class: If you are too hungry you can feel depleted. It requires energy to practice hot yoga. If you eat right before class, you may feel nauseous.

Bring a yoga mat and a yoga mat towel (to cover your yoga mat) because you will get sweaty which will make your mat slippery. If you don’t have either of these, you can rent or buy them from the studio when you get there.

Our showers are equipped with bath towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and basic toiletry items if you need them. If you don’t have time for a shower at the studio after class, we also sell yoga towel car seat covers in our retail area to keep your car nice and clean.

If you have a heart condition, are pregnant, or have pre-existing health conditions, please consult your doctor to determine if hot yoga is safe for you.

Join Us at Namaste Yoga

Join us at Namaste Yoga to find balance, clear your mind, increase flexibility, detox, and make new friends. You don’t need to be more flexible, lose weight, or change yourself in any way before you come. Just come as you are – because you are already perfect for Hot Yoga and Namaste Yoga in beautiful North Scottsdale.