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Over the past couple of decades, the public’s fascination with yoga has increasingly grown. Integrating mindful breathing with movements aimed at cultivating strength, flexibility, stamina, and balance, yoga not only boosts physical health but also nurtures an individual’s psychological well-being.

As the trend grows, different styles are created, perfected and pursued. Hot yoga is a style of yoga that consists of a variety of poses practiced for 60-90 minutes in a heated room. Benefits of this practice include improved flexibility, strength, blood circulation and stress reduction.

Yoga is associated with many positive benefits, but the added heat to the yoga sessions is believed to add its own unique advantages. While the heat and humidity prepare the body to eliminate toxins through activation of the lymphatic system, blood circulation is improved and the metabolic processes of organs and glands are increasingly supported. It is also believed that due to activities in the heat, heart rates increase leading to enhanced cardiovascular activity and metabolism– thereby toning the body and amplifying weight loss.

The ever-growing yoga movement is proof of the exercise’s ability. As individuals become more involved with the class, concentration and focus increases, clearing the mind of all worries, distractions, and conflicts. Due to the practice’s intensity and extreme heat, hot yoga isn’t the ideal workout for all. If there is uncertainty about starting the class or you have problems with dehydration or heat intolerance, it is best to speak with a doctor before joining. If all is well and you want to give it a try, follow these tips to keep yourself safe, healthy, and hydrated.

Expectations – Even people who exercise regularly should keep low expectations of their first class. Each pose requires slow, tedious, and intense movements that can be difficult adjusting to. Don’t stress if you can’t keep up or need a break. You’re still learning!

Start Slowly – The best classes to start are obviously beginner classes. If you are already fit or flexible, you may think it’d be fine to skip ahead. While you might keep up with the class, you can’t guarantee you’ll hit the positions correctly. Save yourself time and hurt ligaments, start slow and learn the positions.

BIG Water Bottle – Dehydration is real, and heat plus exercise is a combo aimed right at making that happen. So protect yourself and bring a really big bottle of water. You’ll be surprised how quickly it’s gone.

Towels – Sweating is guaranteed. Extreme sweating. Bring a towel to wipe off your head and body between exercises and after class. It may also be beneficial to bring a towel to lay over your mat.

Clothing – It’s going to be really hot. So be ready. Forget leggings and sweats. The less amount of clothes and restriction the better. Also, pack an outfit for after the workout. While you don’t need it, by the end of the session, you’ll want it.

Food – Don’t workout on a full stomach. However, you might not want to workout on an empty stomach either. Try to avoid eating within the hour before class, but those with growling tummies might want to eat a light snack before hitting the yoga floor.