Just finished work and was on my way to the last yoga class of the evening. I’m excited and ready to take on this challenge, because I know my mobility and range of motion are treacherous.
My only concern was getting my body to get in some of these positions, I consider myself to be amply athletic and strong, so I’m confident I can hold my own weight. I get there and to my surprise it’s Hot Yoga. Somehow that little tidbit of information failed to be conveyed to me. In my head, I’m thinking, “I’m here, I’ve committed to this, so let’s do it.”
Fast forward 10-15 minutes into it, I’m now reconsidering my entire thought process leading into this decision. I’m drenched in sweat, and manage to get into the flow of things quickly, and then I’d submit to savasana or child pose (balasana), both of which made no difference to me at the time. Each position felt like a near death experience. The heat was staggering, I was cramping up, and it was getting grossly uncomfortable.
Fast forward to the end, when it was finally over, and as I was walking out, I immediately became a fan of Baptiste yoga, and the rest is history. Since I can’t go back and change how I approached my first class, at the very least I can offer some insight to men who are now considering it, to be better prepared for your first class.
Majority of our body is compromised of water, taking on a Hot power vinyasa class is not a good idea if you haven’t stayed hydrated throughout the day. Bring water with you, or use an electrolyte drink aid. I made the mistake of getting my workout in earlier in the day and not hydrating properly as the day went on. You don’t want to be cramping up in class.
9. HAVE SWAG
Wear breathable clothing that allows you to move. Wearing a regular cotton short sleeve isn’t going to cut it when its drenched in sweat, it will make you feel even heavier and hotter. Opt for shorts and a tank or an athletic fiber top. Heads up, your shoes and socks are left outside the room.
8. YOGA LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING YOU
Don’t be intimidated if you cant get into a pose, our bodies are the same but different at the same time. Everyone is in tune with their own practice so don’t feel the need that you have to level up right then and there. We don’t get under the bar and start benching or squatting 300lbs immediately, and yoga is not different. Leave your ego at the front door.
7. SECURE THE BEST SEATS IN THE HOUSE
In this case this will be at the back of the class, so arrive early. The guide who is leading the class may stay in the front or walk around the class. You want to be in the back so you are able to view how these poses look either from your guide or neighbor and also still be able to hear what the guide is speaking to. Don’t worry if you encounter some challenges getting into some of these poses, the instructor or those assisting the class may offer a variation to the pose.
6. STEP BACK BUT DON’T CHECK OUT.
I’ve died many deaths in practice and emerged better for it. Yoga will test your mettle, when things get challenging you may be tempted to leave the room. Alternatively, you can opt for child’s pose. This will be your go to when things get rocky, it will be an opportunity to regain control of your breath and get you back into practice.
5. PROVIDE INSIGHT
If you have any limitations let the instructor know, this way they can cater something special for you as you go through your flow. They have the ability to challenge you more in one area, or know when they need to step back and let you create something for yourself.
4. BRING A MAT
Make sure you invest in a proper mat and not a regular exercise mat. Mats are not all created equally, if you show up with a regular exercise mat be prepared to be slipping and sliding all over the place. Make sure you get a mat that has really good grip like BMat from Byoga. If you don’t have one, don’t sweat it you can rent one at the studio.
3. BRING A TOWEL AND CHANGE OF CLOTHES
You’re going to be drenched in sweat after class (more than your regular workouts), and will probably want to get into the shower at the studio. Nothing feels more amazing then jumping in a cool shower right after a hot and sweaty yoga class. I made the mistake of not bringing my change of clothes my first time out, and the drive home was not pleasant at all.
2. FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING
When things get challenging you may have a tendency to hold your breathe. The instructor will periodically guide you on the inhale and exhalation when in flow. You’ll notice as you breathe you will be able to get deeper into the pose, so don’t hold your breath.
1. SILENCE IS GOLDEN
When your going through flow you may let out some grunts and moans and that’s to be expected. What you don’t want to do is have a running conversation throughout class where you are disrupting your neighbor or class. Save the chit chat for your local coffee shop or until the class has ended. This is your practice, be present and be in the moment and notice how you take on challenges on the mat. This will be an amazing opportunity to see how yoga is taken off the mat.