Hot yoga is not for the faint of heart. This type of yoga is done in a room that is heated 85 to 95 degrees or over 100 degrees for the entire class.
The reasoning behind this is to loosen your muscles while contorting your body in and out of different poses and as well as to enhance perspiration.
There are different levels of hot yoga; Vinyasa Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga and each level is attractive to many different people for various reasons.
Vinyasa Hot Yoga is usually done in a room that is heated 85 to 95 degrees while Bikram is done in a room that is heated to over 100 degrees. With each class being conducted in extremely heated rooms, it is crucial to have appropriate attire in order to have an enjoyable and safe experience.
So, what should I wear to a hot yoga class? When choosing your attire for a hot yoga class it is best to think of the phrase ‘less is more’, because less really is better especially in a hot yoga class. It can be difficult to feel comfortable let alone move around in layers and layers of sweaty wet clothing.
There are hot yoga must-haves that will help any yogi through this often times challenging yet rewarding practice. Such attire includes yoga tops, sports bras, yoga pants, yoga shorts, water bottles, yoga mats, props, yoga towels and we’ll even discuss yoga attire for men as well as hair care.
Yoga Tops and Sports Bras
Some women prefer to do a hot yoga class in only a sports bra and a bottom. There are some women who prefer a sports bra underneath a yoga top. All of this is personal preference and can be changed at any time, if need be.
If you are a woman who prefers a top along with her sports bra, the best tops to look for are non-cotton and material that is sweat resistant. Once sweat hits a cotton shirt it is immediately absorbed and will make the top extremely heavy.
The best material to look for in a top is nylon, polyester, wicking fabric and spandex because those will not absorb sweat and will leave you feeling dry through the end of class.
Women must be mindful when searching for the perfect sports bra to wear to hot yoga class because not every bra will work. In hot yoga, you will be covered in perspiration and certain body parts will need to stay in place as much as they can.
When women are working out they want to feel comfortable in their sports bras and want to make sure the bras hold everything in place until the end of the workout. If you have large breasts, read this article about the best yoga bras for large breasts.
Sports bras come in different sizes, variations, comfort levels and but not all are good fits for hot yoga class.
When searching for the perfect sports bra women should look for sports bras that provide medium to maximum support through compression that allow for ease of movement, racer back or multi-strap, material that is easily washable and is able to take perspiration each and every time.
The perfect material to look for in sports bras that are best suited for hot yoga are polyester, mesh, spandex and moisture-wicking fabric. These different materials are able to be easily washed in the washing machine or hand washed.
When trying on a sports bra for hot yoga class, women should first put the sports bra on and then immediately go into a standing forward bend. If you come out of the bra then that is not the proper bra for you and it is time to move on and look elsewhere. You should be able to move around, in and out of every position without falling out of your bra.
There are many different companies that make sports bras for different activities but the best companies that make sports bras for hot yoga are Onzie, Nike, 90 Degrees by Reflex, Bodyism, Alo, Backcountry, KiraGrace, Lululemon, 15Love, Lucy, Lole and Venus.
These are companies that have hot yoga in mind when manufacturing sports bras.
Yoga Pants and Yoga Shorts
Hot yoga can be enjoyable if you have the proper attire for class, from head to toe. Yoga pants and shorts are the most popular bottoms worn in yoga classes, including hot yoga.
When it comes to searching for yoga pants and shorts for hot yoga there are specific features that I recommend.
These features are breathable, having the ability to be hand washed (if ever in a crunch for time), made from material such as polyester, nylon and spandex (the material must be sweat resistant), wide but hidden waistbands (great feature for holding keys or hair ties), tight-fitting to make bending and moving in and out of poses bearable.
Be cautious when wearing shorts because your hands will easily slide down your legs but a hand towel can easily solve that issue if it ever does become one.
Having the correct bottoms for a yoga class is just as important as having the right yoga mat because when one or both of those are not the best fit, you are bound to have a disappointing experience in class. It is crucial to know what is it that you are looking for when searching for bottoms for class, the more you know the better the experience will be for you.
There are plenty of companies that make yoga pants and shorts but there are only a few that continuously stay at the top of the list for the above reasons. Lululemon, Onzie, Lole, Prana, Zobha, be present, Hyde, Athleta, Alo, Backcountry, 90 Degree by Reflex and Nike are the companies that never seem to be anywhere but at the top of the best yoga clothing lists year after year.
Yoga Mats, Props and Yoga Mat Towels
A yoga mat is the most important item that enters a yoga studio because it is the area on which you practice. When choosing a yoga mat for hot yoga or for any yoga class, the process must be incredibly meticulous.
There are many different companies that manufacture and put out yoga mats into the world and you just have to know the best one for the occasion.
There are specific features to look for in a yoga mat that will be used in hot yoga. Yoga studios that hold hot yoga classes, whether Vinyasa or Bikram, are extremely heated and stuffy and can be uncomfortable if you are not prepared.
That preparation all starts with the yoga mat. An ideal yoga mat for hot yoga should have a double-sided thickness, not be made from any toxic materials, be non-slip, easy to wash as well as unmistakably durable.
All of these features will mean a heavy yoga mat but that is what is needed to go in and out of poses, not slip and ultimately have a successful hot yoga class.
The best and most reputable companies at this time that manufacture yoga mats that will not disappoint in hot yoga are Yoga Design Lab, La Vie Boheme, Gaiam and Manduka. While there are other yoga mat companies, these are the ones that manufacture the best ones to use in hot yoga.
Yoga mats are not the only essential items to bring to hot yoga, there are different props that can be useful during class.
Yoga blocks are popular and are in just about every yoga studio but you can still bring your own to class. The best yoga blocks are lightweight, firm, non-slip, dense, long-lasting, durable and easy to pack and transport.
Yoga props and blocks help with alignment and provide extra support in certain poses to those that need it.
Durability and non-slip in yoga blocks are crucial because they are used in certain poses and your safety should never be a question. Hugger Mugger is one of the best yoga block companies when it comes to fitting all of the above features.
The most efficient yoga mat towels to use during class are non-slip, quick drying, microfiber, soft, light-weight and suede. A towel that is able to be thrown in the washing machine easily after class is the most ideal because you always want to make sure you have it for every class.
Yoga mat towels help with postures and promote more confidence because you are stable and not slipping and sliding all over your mat during class; even a hot yoga class.
Some yoga towel companies also make yoga mats and yoga clothing, which is good if you are looking for a one-stop shop. The best yoga towel companies are Yoga Design Lab, Jade, Youphoria Yoga, Manduka, Shandali and Sporti.
A yoga towel has become an essential item on the list of what to bring to hot yoga class.
Water is most essential in a hot yoga class because staying hydrated during class is not an option, it is a requirement. The best and most useful water bottles to use in hot yoga class are double insulated, stainless steel or glass, BPA free and a flip top.
These are the features of a water bottle that are best suited for hot yoga classes because the probability of becoming sweaty is high and often times unavoidable.
It is important when looking for a water bottle for hot yoga to look for one that will keep the water ice cold because reaching for your water bottle during class and tasting warm water is not good.
Another great feature to look for is a flip cap to promote convenience during class and not have to worry about fumbling with the water bottle when you are in desperate need of its contents. The best companies for the most suitable water bottles for hot yoga class are Gaiam and Hydro Flask.
This topic is often times forgotten about when discussing what to wear and bring to hot yoga class. It is just as important as the other layers and should be discussed.
Hot yoga can be brutal on your hair if you do not care for it properly and frequently. If you have long hair it is best to wear your hair in a ponytail or braid to keep out of your face.
Headbands and bandanas are also great to use for keeping sweat out of your face during class. Washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner that is best for your hair immediately after class is highly recommended.
This is to remove all of the sweat, grime and dirt from your hair created during class. Using an appropriate towel to dry your hair to ensure that nutrients are not stripped from your hair. It is important not to neglect your hair if you are consistently taking hot yoga classes.
Yoga Attire for Men
Hot yoga is not just for women, men also enjoy taking classes. Men should also be mindful when searching for appropriate attire for class and paying close attention to certain details and features to ensure they have a comfortable as well as enjoyable experience in class.
Men, like women, have an area of their bodies that need to be covered for protection but still feel comfortable.
Some instructors feel as though shirts are optional for men and there is nothing to cover for men undershirts so that may be the best option to keep cool and comfortable.
But if men do opt to wear tops, the tops should be made from a material that is sweat resistant such as spandex, nylon, polyester or mesh. The tops should also be easily machine washable or hand washed, comfortable and loose-fitting and light enough to move around in during poses.
Yoga bottoms are quite possibly the most important item for men to focus on when going to class, other than yoga mats, water bottles and yoga towels. Men should focus on bottom attire and how to bring protection and comfort there.
Yoga pants and shorts for men should provide full and complete coverage during class and this can be done through wearing a compression garment underneath the bottoms.
Studies have suggested and shown that most men prefer shorts over pants for hot yoga class although some men do not mind, just as long as they are fully protected and comfortable.
There are specific features that men should be looking for and those are sweat resistant material such as mesh, spandex, polyester or nylon, material that is able to dry as soon as sweat comes into contact with it, wicking fabric, internal compression which provides full coverage protection, offering ease of movement, easily machine washable, pockets, pockets with zippers, stretchy fabric, breathable, durable, comfortable, anti-odor as well as multi-use.
The best companies that manufacture yoga pants and shorts for men are Lululemon, Prana, Manduka, Yoga Crow, Onzie, Alo, Vuori, Southpole and YogaAddict. These are the best companies because they possess all of the important features above for men to look for in hot yoga class bottom attire.
Some Final Considerations
Hot yoga is usually discussed in two levels: Vinyasa or Bikram. In each of those yoga classes, the rooms are heated from anywhere between 85 to 95 degrees and over 100 degrees. With rooms so hot, yogis burn quite a few calories during hot yoga.
This form of yoga has won the hearts of men and women all over the world and has quickly become a phenomenon. It can be very intimidating to some if you have never stepped foot into a hot yoga studio and also the thought of what to wear can be overwhelming.
There are essential must-haves for hot yoga to ensure comfort. These must-haves are yoga tops, sports bras, yoga pants and yoga shorts, yoga mats, yoga towels, props and yoga blocks, water bottles, hair care and men’s attire which includes yoga pants and yoga shorts.
All of the must-haves should be made from a material that is sweat resistant, machine or hand washed easily, comfortable and unmistakably durable. These essential features ensure that the yogi will have an enjoyable experience in class and want to continue going back.
When it comes to hair care and hot yoga, yogis should take extra care of their hair if they are doing yoga on a weekly basis. If you have long hair, you should wear your hair in a ponytail or braid to make sure your hair does not get into your face.
Headbands and bandanas are good to use as well. Immediately washing your hair with a shampoo and conditioner that is best suited for you after class will make for clean and healthy hair.
Hot yoga itself can be intimidating and when you factor in the anxiety of what to wear and bring, that will make for an unpleasant experience.
Once you know what exactly it is you are looking for in must-haves you will ultimately feel better and less resistant to attending a class. If you keep comfort in mind when looking for must-haves you will be steered in the right direction.