Thinking about coming to a hot yoga or hot mix class? Here are some tips from Emma Smaldino Richardson to get you ready:
- Hydrate – Make sure to drink enough water BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER hot yoga. Before yoga, that extra water will act as extra blood volume to help sustain your blood pressure, preventing you from fainting from those lightheaded poses. It also acts as storage to replenish you as you sweat like a sumo wrestler. Drinking water throughout your yoga practice will continue this reinvigoration throughout the class.
- Breathe…deeply – When you take deep breaths, you stimulate the vagus nerve which passes through the diaphragm and is the major nerve that heads up the parasympathetic nervous system, a.k.a. the “rest and digest” part of your central nervous system. This sends a subconscious signal to your brain and body that it is NOT in distress, that everything is ok, that you can relax and not be killed by a wild boar. This will slow your heart rate which will then, in turn, decrease the body’s oxygen demand, thereby slowing down your respiratory rate, and so on and so forth. Pranayama breathing is particularly helpful — it stimulates the vagus nerve but doesn’t allow too much air to flood your body at once. The faster you breathe, the more your body thinks it’s in danger. Reassure it…calm it down…breathe in through your nose and out through your nose.
- Bend your knees, lower to the ground, without bringing your head below your heart -When you sweat like a beast in hot yoga, your pores and small vessels dilate so that heat (and sweat) can escape, thereby regulating body temperature and turning your face bright red. A side effect of this is that blood tends to pool at your feet when you’re standing, which means less blood flow to your brain, which means lightheadedness. This is why you bend your knees after coming up to stand → small calf muscle contractions force blood against gravity up to your brain where it’s needed. If that doesn’t work, squat down to the ground; this is a stronger version of bending your knees in that it adds more strength to forcing the blood up to your brain and decreases the distance from your feet to your head.
- 1-2-3 = Water + Air + Life. – Remember these three and your hot yoga practice will deepen and grow more than ever before.