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I Tried Hot Yoga for the First Time — Here’s What Happened

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

I’ve never been keen to go too far out of my comfort zone, but in an attempt to branch out in this post-COVID space, I reluctantly signed up for a beginner’s Hot Yoga class at my gym this past week. 

Much like Zumba or CrossFit, I’d envisioned a very “trendy” approach to health and wellness. Traditional exercise — but with a twist! Instead, I quickly found out just how peaceful yoga can be when your body is warmed up and you’re ready to relax. Here are some things you should know if you want to give hot yoga a try:

  1. The Heat

It sits in the room like a blanket. If you’re at all heat-sensitive, or you don’t feel comfortable in extremely warm temperatures, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s certainly not like a sauna, but the air is something to get used to. Once you’ve acclimatized to the room, however, it can be very enjoyable! Especially when the air outside is freezing. During Savasana I closed my eyes and pretended I was on vacation in Hawaii. My skin felt great afterwards! It’s a great way to get warm without sun damage. 

Also, be sure to drink water and wear clothes you can sweat in — seriously. I wouldn’t recommend fleece or long sleeves, if possible.

  1. The Atmosphere

With some help from low lighting and calming music, my newcomer self-consciousness quickly melted away, and I felt completely at peace in the environment. All you have to do is define your space and make yourself comfortable. If you need a quiet moment to unwind and rest your mind, I would highly recommend taking a class. I used to think I had to run 5k or lift weights in order to have a “good workout,” but hot yoga allows you to get a great workout in, while simultaneously relaxing! It’s the best of both worlds. 

The hour-long class seemed to fly by. We had lots of chances to rest, reflect, stretch, and modify our movements. The teachers slowly increase the heat so that in the highest intensity portion of the session, the heat is the highest, and by the end, you are comfortable again. It felt like there was a defined beginning, middle and end, which I appreciated — it was a real “yoga journey.”

  1. What to Bring

Definitely bring water, and make it cold. A small towel is useful too, if you like to dab sweat as you exercise. I would also recommend bringing your own yoga mat, since you’ll likely be standing, lying down, and sitting, and it might be preferable to do so on your own property. 

I didn’t when I went, but I also think it would be fun to bring a friend or group of friends to the class with you! Just don’t expect to be able to talk much. 

Overall, as a yoga novice, I very much enjoyed the hot class this past week, and I’ll certainly be looking for more sessions to attend in the future. Even though it may be a “trendy” workout, it certainly lives up to the hype. Maybe I’ll see you there soon!


Emma Johnston

Waterloo '22

Hi! My name is Emma, and I am completing my Bachelor of Arts in English Rhetoric, Media and Professional Communication at the University of Waterloo. I love journaling, peanut M&Ms, and collecting fashion magazines from around the world!