If you've been following me on Instagram you'll know that I've been spending a lot of time at Fierce Grace Brixton getting sweaty as I work yoga into my marathon training plans. Seriously, it's pretty much my second home these days (and not just because of the plentiful supply of herbal tea) and I love the effect that it's having on my body - my core is getting stronger, my hips are less sticky and I feel like I'm holding myself much better.
I've become pretty convinced that all runners should be including hot yoga in their routine. But I also appreciate that stepping into a studio heated to some insane temperature can be pretty intimidating - I put off trying hot yoga for ages, and even after I'd gotten over my initial fears it still took me a long time to brave a full 90 minute class in the heat! So, here's the low down on everything you need to know to feel all the benefits of getting your sweat on!
You're going to be sweating. Buckets. Even in Savasana there'll be pearls of sweat rolling down your stomach. So it makes sense to go in hydrated. I usually start the night before, making sure I drink water before bed, pack some electrolytes in with breakfast and then drink around 500ml of water on my way to the studio. The biggest mistake you can make is to panic drink. You know, when you realise you've not drunk all day and then chug water furiously. It'll leave you with a gluggy tummy during class and that is no good for anyone. So hydrate little and often, as you should do always!
During class it can also be tempting to glug down the water. Stop right there. Sip. Little and often, it helps you avoid that nasty sloshing feeling in your stomach. No one wants reflux in class.
Don't slip up
Sweaty yoga mats get slippy (and disgustingly squelchy...) so it's a good idea to put down a towel before you get started. I prefer a microfiber yoga towel, yeah it seems like a fancy extravagance, but once you try one you'll never go back. They're exactly the right fit for your mat. They grip nicely, so there's no bunching. They absorb all the sweat. Plus you can pick them up at Fierce Grace.
Dress for the occassion
Hot yoga is, well, hot. Hot sweaty kit isn't always comfortable, I remember the first time I went to Deep Core at Fierce Grace I was wearing leggings that just wouldn't stay up right and clung to my legs awkwardly, and a bra that just didn't feel right, and it just wasn't at all comfortable. These days I make sure that I'm comfortable, wearing fabrics that I know don't get uncomfortable when they're wet and bras that give me the support I need through class.
Take your time
The heat in the studio can be overwhelming. Get to class early so you can have time to acclimatise, those moment in the dark, lying on my mat, are some of my favourite, it's the perfect bridge between the world outside and my practice. During class don't be afraid to take breaks, but try not to leave the room. You'll get accustomed to the heat more quickly if you lie down and take a moment to rest and recover. Take little sips of water, go slow and trust that it'll all be ok.
The thing with yoga is that it's a whole lot easier if you remember to breath. Actually that goes for most things in life. However, in hot yoga the trick is to breath through your nose. It makes a massive difference, you don't get that nasty feeling of hot air hitting the back of your throat, so hot yoga becomes much more pleasant!
So, there you go, tricks to get you through your first hot yoga class! Give it a go, you'll see payoff when you run!
*I'm an ambassador for Fierce Grace Brixton, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for being understanding about my collaborations, I make sure I only bring you things that I'm genuinely passionate about and that I think you'll really love!