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Essential Bikram (Hot) Yoga Checklist
So, I accidentally signed up for a Hot Yoga class.
Accidentally, because I assumed it was a “room temperature” yoga class, and thought so all the way up until opening the studio door and stepping barefoot onto the heated floor. Unrolling my mat, I knew I was in trouble. I debated walking out before the class started. I prepped excuses: work emergency, dinner reservations, wardrobe malfunction, etc. Moving along in the stages of grief, I gave up bargaining, and moved straight to acceptance. I thought, “You know, it’s really not that bad when you’re lying down. Heat rises. This is fine.”
Long story short, I enjoyed the experience, but I did compile a checklist to improve the experience for next time.
Non-skid yoga mat: The sky’s the limit for prices on yoga mats. Go with one that is middle-of-the-road in terms of price and quality. No too soft, not too thick. Feeling the resistance of the floor on your kneecaps or lower back is all part of it. Also, it’s only a matter of time before it smells like feet during your Sun Salutation. That slow motion sniff of the yoga mat going from plank to upward facing dog will tell you exactly how gross the mat is. When it’s time, toss it out and get a new one. ($24, https://www.proozy.com/products/halfmoon-studio-yoga-mat-charcoal).
Yoga towel: Non-negotiable.
Some are even cleverly designed to match the size and shape of the mat. A lot of places will offer a towel to use for the class. Take them up on that offer. It’s absolutely necessary.
Mat bag: It sounds ancillary, but think of it like this: your mat is a sweat and foot-funk sponge. After class, you roll it up and carry it with you, thus covering your hands in your foot-funk. Put it in it’s own bag, containing just your sweaty yoga stuff. Don’t let it socialize with non-sweaty neighbors in your bag. ($40, https://www.proozy.com/products/prana-womens-jazmina-tote-bag?variant=33359466188)
Tank top: Be comfortable. Above all else, if you’re not comfortable it’s all for naught.
That being said, short of falling over during chair pose, there is nothing that gathers more eyes than removing clothing in the middle of class. Whether you are eye candy or not, the break in the routine will pull focus to you. Also, go with something that wicks away sweat. ($24, https://www.proozy.com/products/under-armour-womens-ua-tech-sleeveless-tank-top?variant=32057846412)
Yoga pants, shorts, or capris: Comfort is key. But one way to avoid being self-conscious is to not worry about sloppy gym shorts flopping around during a pose. Don’t wonder if people can see your underwear. Wear something form fitting that isn’t going to move. ($15, https://www.proozy.com/collections/womens-pants/products/prana-womens-roxanne-capri-leggings?variant=20184741958)
Water: Bring a bottle in with you. Or, if you’re a fan of delayed gratification, keep it in the car until you’re done with class. Water will never taste so great. Either way, remember to hydrate. ($20, https://www.proozy.com/collections/fitness-equipment/products/eco-vessel-surf-glass-bottle-with-silicone-sleeve?variant=31907429836)
Change of clothes: Every yoga studio I’ve been to has some form of dressing room. Take a few minutes and at least put on a fresh shirt. It will make the trip home a lot less gross.
Yoga Block: If you’re a germaphobe, you likely already have one. The shared ones at the studio don’t get cleaned between classes, so it’s like High-5’ing 10 sweaty hands at once.
And, if you really must know, I plan to continue the class every week. However, I will be better prepared. Enjoy your week!