I've been wanting to do a post like this for a while to address the common questions I receive from students, friends, and members of my home yoga studio. I love to hear about the questions and thoughts that pop up in students heads and usually most of the class has had the same questions/thoughts at some point in time.
As a beginner, yoga can be totally confusing and a little intimidating.
Many of your guys know that when I first started practicing yoga, I didn't love it...at all...Actually I kinda, reeallllly HATED it.
When I first started taking yoga classes, I had NO IDEA there were different styles of yoga and my first experience was with a very serious yoga purist style teacher that was strict vegan, chanted mantras, and we moved very S-L-O-W-L-Y. This style is great for a lot of people, but it wasn't my thing.
I come from a fitness background and love high-intensity workouts so sitting still on my mat for 60-75 minutes and moving SLOW was really, really tough for me to adapt towards. What continually brought me back was that I knew my body needed to stretch.
It wasn't until I found a cool, young tattoo-ed yoga teacher, that played hip-hop and dance music, laughed during class and made us MOVE that I realized yoga could be and is fun! Then I discovered HOT, POWER YOGA and this style completely stole my heart.
I'll be addressing common questions/comments I receive in the hot yoga studio in a series of posts. Let's get into the first 10 Questions/Comments I have:
QUESTIONS FOR A HOT YOGA TEACHER:
How HOT is Hot Yoga?
Each Hot Yoga studio has their own specific guidelines for temperature and humidity. At my main Hot Yoga Studio, Real Hot Yoga Hoboken, NJ, we tend to keep classes in the following temperature ranges:
Hot Power Yoga: 95-98 degrees
Yoga Tone & Sculpt: 85-92 degrees
Yin Yoga: 85 degrees
Real Hot Series: 105 degrees (Bikram inspired)
Humidity varies depending on the season. We tend to need less humidity in the summer and increase the humidity in the colder months.
What should I wear to Hot Yoga?
Whatever clothes you are comfortable moving and sweating in! For women, leggings and tank tops or sport bra tops are the most common outfits, however shorts and t-shirts are fine too. Personally, I prefer cropped leggings or shorts (because I'm a sweat mess and always hot) though many prefer to have full length leggings to help wick sweat for arm balances.
The most important thing is that you wear something that YOU feel comfortable while moving and sweating.
Do I wear my socks and/or shoes in class?
You can take off your socks and shoes before going into your hot yoga class. If you are worried about slipping on your mat, mat towels are available to help. Mat towels are giant beach towel looking microfiber towels with grippies on the bottom to help wick sweat and "grip" you to your mat.
I'm a beginner, should I go in the back row so nobody sees me?
If you feel most comfortable in the back row, of course it's OK to set up in the back. I like to encourage new students to set up in the middle of the room this way they always have others on all sides of them to look over and see what's going on if they get lost.
Also, in many classes we travel around the room while we flow through our sequences so this is super helpful. If we flip our flow and face the back of the room then you'll unintentionally end up in the "front" row so I personally believe the middle of the pack is the place to be.
Can I drink water during class?
Of course! There are some styles of yoga and classes that may encourage students to not drink water during class.
My professional opinion as a fitness professional and licensed nutritionist is if you need/want water DRINK WATER! Water breaks are totally OK and even if they are not formally offered during class, know that you are always, always able to drink water as needed.
Please hydrate before class and stay hydrated during class!
If you adjust me, does that mean I'm doing the pose wrong and am bad at yoga?
NO WAY! Actually the OPPOSITE! I usually only adjust students that I feel can experience a deeper expression of the pose they are currently working on. Adjustments are meant as a means to safely and efficiently work on poses. Personally, if a student is challenged by a specific pose, I will allow them a safe space to master their stability/balance first before guiding them to deeper expressions via adjustments.
If you give me a prop does it mean that I'm bad at yoga?
Of course not! I wish everyone took advantage of props more often in yoga classes. Blocks are my favorite prop and I personally use them
Why do we OM and do you get nervous when it's time to OM in class?
In the simplest explanation, OM is the sound of the pulsing and vibration of the universe of all beings and living things in existence....Whoa, that's deep! The philosophy behind OM is really cool, and depending on who you ask OM means different things to different people.
Mind Body Green has a great description of the purpose of chanting OM which you can read about here
In my classes, I like to keep the themes and spirituality simplistic to allow space for each student to have their own experience to to create a welcoming space for all students. For some, the spirituality piece of yoga is the most important, and for others its the asana, I like to end my classes with a single OM to unite all students together.
I don't get nervous when it's time to OM and if my voice is the only voice, I'm ok with that! :) I also teach yoga at a Crossfit Affiliate and when we first started our classes together, I was usually the only voice or a few faint OMs so I guess I'm used to it!
What's the difference between Beginner, Level 2, and Level 3 Classes?
Every studio has a different criteria to differentiate Beginner/Level 1, Level 2, and/or Level 3 classes. In some studios, Level 2/3 classes contain more challenging asanas, move a quicker pace, or have more inversions/arm balances.
In some studios, Level 2/3 classes are more spiritual or deeper rooted in yoga philosophy than beginner levels so it's good to check with your home studio and see what criteria they use to determine different levels of classes.
You must be tired doing yoga all day, right?
This question/comment always makes me LOL! If you've taken my class before, you know my class is pretty high energy however, aside from demo-ing poses when necessary, I spend my time moving around the room and focusing on my class rather than doing the yoga poses on my mat during my classes.
While I may spend a few hours a day in the hot yoga room, when I'm teaching I don't take my own class so no worries, I have plenty of energy to go around and am not taking 3-4 yoga classes a day, I'm focusing on YOU! <3
What questions or random thoughts do you have about yoga/hot yoga?
Share them below!