Choosing Clothing for Hot Yoga: Tips to Stay Cool and Comfortable

Buying Guide

Getting into the flow of your hot yoga class is easier when you're not worried about having the proper clothing and gear.

Last updated: 26 January 2022
5 min read
Choosing Clothing for Hot Yoga: Tips to Stay Cool and Comfortable

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 practised 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 32 to more than 37 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 the clothing you need 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 trousers, 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 odour.

Many labels for workout clothing indicate that it is moisture-wicking or breathable. Usually, these types of fabrics are made from lightweight 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.

Tops: Form-Fitting for the Win

Whether it's wearing only a tank top, sports bra or no top at all, many yogis opt to minimise 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 this will cause a loose-fitting top to shift around. When you're working hard to get into inversions or upside-down poses, the last thing you want is your top flopping over your face.

Opt for tank tops rather than tops 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 Trousers & Leggings

Wearing shorts is an obvious way to stay cool in most yoga classes. But with hot yoga, leggings and long trousers 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 trousers comes in handy for a number of poses, such as crow pose, where your arms need to rest on your legs. Trousers 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 lightweight, dry fabric with lots of give to allow your legs to move around freely. Also, pick a style where the bottom of the trousers is tapered. Bell-bottom yoga trousers, 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 trousers, try them on and do the bend test. Bend forwards 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 odour-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 odour. Roll your mat up so that the side you practise on is on the "outside", so it can breathe a bit.

Roll your mat up so that the side you practise on is on the "outside", so it can breathe a bit.

3 More Hot Yoga Tips

  1. While clothing is important, hydration is critical. Make sure that you stay hydrated during class and take small breaks as needed.
  2. 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.
  3. 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've 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.

Originally published: 16 July 2021

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