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Wednesday, June 13, 2012
How to Prepare Students for Hot Yoga
By Sangeetha Saran
A Hatha yoga teacher, who has heated classes on their schedule, should prepare a handout and only admit students who have completely explained their state of health. Not every student will be able to endure the intense heat. Students with high blood pressure should consult a physician before considering entering a heated class. Students from northern climates may find the intense heat causes them nausea. It is wise to mentally prepare students before they attempt a heated session.
Hot yoga is a general term and can refer to any Hatha style with an emphasis on the practice room being heated. Bikram is a form of heated Hatha yoga, but a very specific form in which the room is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and the same 26 poses are practiced twice in the same sequence every session. Bikram classes are so identical that the yoga instructor even gives the same monologue as he or she walks students through the asanas. When most practitioners think of practicing asanas in a heated studio, they often think of Bikram.
Tips to Tell Your Hot Yoga Students
1. Stay cool! Plan for a heated room and choose your clothing wisely. One practitioner says she usually ends up stripped to a sports bra and spandex by the end of her hot yoga practice. A cool t-shirt and shorts will suffice, although material that wicks away sweat will keep you from getting too slippery.
2. Bring a towel, and not just a hand or sweat towel. Most yogis bring a full-size bath towel with them to hot yoga, since the hour to hour and a half they spend in the heat and humidity can leave every corner of a regular sweat towel soaked.
3. Drink up! Yoga in a warm room was conceived of as a purifying practice, which helps the body cleanse itself through sweating and opening pores. With this in mind, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help flush out all the toxins in your body.
4. Eat a little something! The combination of heat, humidity and demanding postures will challenge your body in many ways. Arriving at a hot yoga session with a completely empty stomach will leave you tired, hungry and possibly dizzy or unable to complete the session. Avoid faint spells and nausea by eating a light meal one to two hours before your practice, if possible. If you are crunched for time, bring an apple or banana and a handful of granola to eat on the way to the studio.
5. Because Bikram, and other heated Hatha styles, practice the same or similar 26 asanas in the same sequence, it is open to practitioners of all levels. It is not a fast or vinyasa flowing sequence, so beginners are able to follow along and learn the poses, but yoga teachers often warn students that you can expect to be challenged no matter what your level. The more experience you have, the deeper you will be able to stretch into each pose as aided by the heat and humidity. Arrive ready to work hard.
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