Choosing Clothing for Hot Yoga: Tips to Stay Cool and Comfortable
Getting into the flow of your hot yoga class is easier when you’re not worried about having the proper clothing and gear.
The sweat-drenched practice of hot yoga attracts those who enjoy excessive heat. Hot yoga, also sometimes referred to as “bikram yoga,” became popular in the 1970s in California. Bikram classes involve repeating the same 26 poses in cycles, with each pose held for 10 to 90 seconds. Classes last about 90 minutes.
Today, just about any form of yoga can be practiced as hot yoga. For example, vinyasa is a sequence of smooth transitions that links breath to movement and may be offered in a heated studio.
Hot yoga classes take place in a setting that can be anywhere from 90 to more than 100 degrees. During class, it’s normal to hear the drip of sweat plopping on mats.
With this kind of heat and the expectation of intense sweating, you may wonder what to wear and how to prepare for a hot yoga class, especially if it’s your first time.
Here’s what you need to outfit yourself for your first or next hot yoga class.
Look for Moisture-Wicking Workout Fabric
Fabric that dries quickly and absorbs moisture is your friend in a hot yoga class. Try to avoid wearing anything that is 100 percent cotton, as it will retain sweat and make your clothing heavier.
Look for pants, tops, and sports bras made from fabrics popular in sportswear. These include stretchy, comfortable apparel with sweat wicking ability that quickly absorbs excess moisture while reducing the chance of sweat stains and odor.
Many labels for workout clothing indicate that it is moisture-wicking or breathable. Usually, these types of fabrics are made of light-weight material such as mesh or polyester, the workhorse of workout clothing that is durable and wrinkle-free.
Nike Dri-FIT clothing uses an innovative polyester fabric designed to pull away sweat to help you stay dry, comfortable, and focused. Nike Infinalon fabric is comfortable, thin, and light and provides a gentle compression so you can stretch without limitations.
Shirts & Tops: Form-Fitting for the Win
Whether it’s wearing only a tank top, sports bra, or no shirt at all, many yogis opt to minimize top layers. Remember, it’s hot and humid in class!
If you want to wear a tank top layered over your sports bra, choose one that is more on the form-fitting side. Yoga poses require your body to twist and bend over, and wearing a loose-fitting shirt will cause it to shift around. When you’re working hard to get into inversions or upside down poses, the last thing you want is your shirt flopping over your face.
Opt for tank tops rather than shirts with sleeves to allow your shoulders and arms to move around freely. Also, many tank tops offer a built-in sports bra, which is great if you don’t want to deal with removing two sticky layers of clothing after class.
Go Long on Pants & Leggings
Wearing shorts is an obvious way to stay cool in most yoga classes. But with hot yoga, leggings and long pants may offer some advantages.
Wearing shorts to a hot yoga class means your legs will get sweaty and slippery, making certain leg-holding poses or arm balances trickier. Wearing leggings or pants comes in handy for a number of poses, such as crow pose, where your arms need to rest on your legs. Pants and leggings provide the grip for getting your legs to balance on your triceps. As with all yoga clothing, look for items with minimal seams to improve comfort.
Choose a light-weight, dry fabric with lots of give to allow your legs to move around freely. Also, pick a style where the bottom of the pants are tapered. Bell bottom yoga pants, for example, may ride up your calves if you’re in a three-legged downward facing dog. You want your clothing to stay in place, so you can concentrate on breathing and properly getting into the poses.
Also, if you’re shopping for new yoga pants, try them on and do the bend test. Bend forward to make sure the rear is not too tight or the fabric too transparent.
The Yoga Mat Is Your Friend
Choose a yoga mat that is durable, thick, and non-slippery—even when it gets wet. These mats are great for providing the grip you need to get into your poses without any slippage.
If your mat isn’t the “sticky” kind, consider an inexpensive yoga towel to sit on top of your mat. While you certainly can use a regular beach or bath towel, some may be a bit too thick or completely cover your entire mat.
Yoga towels are thin and made to grip your yoga mat. Choose one that’s moisture-absorbing, dries quickly, and helps your mat stay dry and odor-free during class. If you choose to go this route, spray a little bit of water on the parts of the mat where your hands and feet will be placed when you’re in a downward facing dog position. The moisture from the water improves the grip on the towel. Many yoga studios offer a water spray so you can spray down your towel before class begins.
Make sure you wipe down your mat after class with an antibacterial wet wipe to remove bacteria and reduce odor. Roll your mat up so that the side you practice on is on the “outside” so it can breathe a bit.
Roll your mat up so that the side you practice on is on the “outside” so it can breathe a bit.
3 More Hot Yoga Tips
- While clothing is important, hydration is critical. Make sure to stay hydrated during class and take small breaks as needed.
- The nice thing about yoga is that you don’t always have to follow what the teacher is doing. Class is what you make of it. Feel free to experiment and do your own thing.
- Pace yourself. If you need to lie down or take a break, there is no judgement, so don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing.
Remember: You Got This
Choosing the proper clothing for hot yoga will prepare you for the extreme temperatures and excessive sweating. Getting into the flow is easier when you’re not worried about having the proper clothing and gear.
Start slow and listen to your body. Get ready to work up a sweat and improve your well-being, flexibility, and strength! For more inspiration and great yoga workouts, check out the Nike Training Club app.