It is important to avoid eating too much or too little before participating in a hot yoga class, which can be a tricky task to master. Nayeli suggests avoiding heavy foods, but encourages light snacks before yoga classes to properly fuel your body.
"Fruit, particularly those that have a high water content, such as watermelon, or sodium content, like bananas, [are great to eat before class]," she says. "Dried fruit is good too (figs, raisins, apricots, etc.). Seeds and nuts are also great. However, I would limit the dairy intake before class."
Ingber agrees and recommends snacks like half a banana, melon or almonds.
It is important not to overexert during hot yoga classes. The warm temperatures and practice of poses can make your body feel looser and more flexible than normal, which can make it easier to pull a muscle. Be mindful of your body and try not to overstretch or push yourself too far when first starting out.
Gradually let yourself experiment with poses as your body adjusts and becomes more accustomed to the atmosphere and workout. If you feel any symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion, poor vision or weakness, stop your practice and immediately leave the room.
"Personally, I do not recommend hot yoga for beginners," says Nayeli. "Rather, it's something to build yourself up to. Every body is different and not always suitable for such an intense workout in such intense heat. I have seen some harsh and concerning reactions in class with people not realizing what to expect, and then they feel they need to 'keep up' with the rest of the class even though their body is saying 'take a break.'"
Ingber says one of her main concerns for hot yogis is the strict guideline a studio may have about staying in the room. "It's really important to listen to your body more than the teacher."
If you have any injuries or health concerns, such as diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory disease, or a history of heat-related illness, make sure to get your doctor’s OK before practicing hot yoga.
According to Nayeli, a person can expect to burn anywhere between 500 to 1,000 calories during a hot yoga class, depending on their metabolic rate. Talk about sweating your butt off!
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