hot yoga 101 | our top tips
posted: January 29, 2014
Part time graphic designer, part time fitness and hot yoga instructor, Mardi Booth knows her sh*t. Not only can she produce the most beautiful pieces of artwork, but she can transition into Bird Of Paradise like nobody’s business (I’ve seen it, and it was awesome). Mardi’s got a few things up her sleeve that’ll help your hot yoga practice in more ways than one.
I love living a fit, healthy, and active lifestyle to compliment my super cool and creative desk job (here at lululemon). I’ve been a Personal Trainer, and high impact Group Exercise instructor for close to a decade. A few years ago I started practicing hot yoga, and it changed my life. Now I teach hot yoga in Melbourne, sharing the hot sweaty bendy zen love. I also regularly travel to Thailand to teach (and soak up some rays) too. I love teaching, but understand from personal experience how challenging practicing yoga can be. So here are some tips and tricks to help you get through your safe, sweaty, summer hot yoga practice.
You hear us say it every class. Hydrate. Drink water. Then when you think you’ve had enough, drink more. Especially outside of the hot yoga studio. Varying from person to person (like our Pigeon pose), it’s recommended to drink a few litres per day when practicing hot yoga regularly. Some of us need more than others. My fav trick: keep an eye in the loo. Sounds creepy, but this can sometimes be a good indication of your hydration. Generally dark yellow urine CAN be an indication of dehydration. Your medical professional can give you specific information and guidance on this, but as a general rule, I aim for a straw coloured stream.
When we get our sweat on, the toxic stuff our body doesn’t need leaves the body (that’s why we feel oh so awesome after class). But when we get super sweaty regularly, the natural salts and essential electrolytes our body needs to rehydrate also leave our body. So not only is it important to consume water regularly, but to really boost our hot yoga performance, we must also rehydrate with electrolytes. Statistically, coconut water has the best ratio of electrolytes to replenish your hot yoga bod. Add it to your morning green smoothie or protein shake and you won’t even notice the taste!
Instead of grabbing your water bottle after each pose, try hydrating 24 hours before and after your practice. Although we love an impromptu class, hydration is easy to stay on top of when you know when you will be practicing. Even more reason to keep that sweat date with your mat. Before long this will just be a habit, focusing only on your awesome Camel pose – your drink bottle will be the last thing on your mind.
Seriously. Eat food. Healthy, colourful, wonderful food. The real stuff. What we eat fuels our body, like fuel to a car. Your practice will give you a deeper connection with what’s happeing in your body – inside and out from head to toe. Including what foods work, and what foods kind of disrupt your body’s natural balance.
drop any expectations.
Each class is going to be different.? You have to take the good with the bad. Sometimes you’ll feel amazeballs. Sometimes you’ll feel like savasana is the only option. And that’s okay! Deal with it, leave it on your mat, let it go. Enjoy each class for what it is, yes?!
You may not be able to control the heat in the room but you can control your breathing. When you control your breathing you control your heart rate and your mind, and any anxieties are easier to combat when we slow down and focus. Inhale the good stuff, exhale any stale energy, thoughts and emotions that don’t serve you. Feeling tired or you just can’t be bothered? Take. Your. Time. Slowing down is sometimes the hardest thing of all. Yoga is not a race or a competition. Chill out chick! Lay down in savasana! You rock that pose, and join back in when you are ready.
“I am who I am”, says a wise spinach loving cartoon character. Listen to that sailor. The moment you stop comparing yourself to front row bendy Betty, is the moment you will step into that real yoga zone. Let go of any ego. Be patient. You don’t have to touch your toes or have straight legs. Listen to your body. Be kind to yourself. You’re awesome. I hope you know that.
Be curious about each pose. Ask your teachers questions after class. We are all made up very differently, especially skeletally. Our poses will always look different to suit our bodies. We learn more about this when practicing Yin, but I think it’s important to own your practice and your pose. Make it your yoga.
listen to your teacher.
Are you kicking in Standing Bow? Or are you so used to hearing your teacher say it you turn into that broken umbrella and just fall forwards as your leg moves down instead of up…? If you set an intention at the beginning of your class to really listen, it can be amazing how much you can pick up from your teachers instructions. Even if you’ve been practicing for years, there’s always more to learn. So listen up, kick back and up in Standing Bow!
don’t take yourself too seriously.
It’s just hot yoga. Sure some pretty amazingly cool stuff can happen in yoga. But slow down and chill out. It’s totally ok to turn the corners of your mouth UP when practicing yoga. No prizes for the most serious yogi award. Oh, and have fun!