7 Tips to Survive a 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge
Have you ever had days when you just don’t want to or can’t get out of bed? And it happens just after a major workout the day before? It is that feeling of extreme exhaustion and fatigue that makes even the most trivial thing, like seeing what time the clock on the wall says, a major dread.
This happened to me. I have always been tempted to take on a 30-day hot yoga challenge. Problem is, I don’t know if I am capable for that kind of discipline.
So, rather than registering for an official challenge, I challenged myself on my own yoga schedule. I maxed out my yoga membership by signing up for hot yoga classes everyday at my local yoga studio. *They are definitely not making money on this gal*
My first week into it, I felt like a punctured rubber tire. I would go to bed completely spent, and wake up at death’s doorstep. By the last day of the first week, I could not get out of bed. The thought of walking my dog around the block was too much to handle.
After talking to hot yoga experts, doing research and surviving my experience, here are my top 7 practical tips on how to survive a 30-day hot yoga challenge:
#1: Stay Hydrated
It is important to drink water throughout the day, especially before and after the class. Gulping water during class between poses does not count, and is considered by some, a bad habit. In fact, many hot yoga instructors will not cue for a water break during class, and some yoga studios discourage students from bringing water bottles into class. Why is this so?
Yoga is a practice of concentration, focus and stillness of the mind. Although it is not hazardous to health, the habit of taking time out during class to drink water is generally discouraged. It breaks the momentum of the poses and hinders the delivery of yoga’s full benefits to the body.
It is also an emotional call. Some people feel because they are sweating profusely that they are ‘going to die’ if they don’t hydrate, creating unnecessary anxiety. That is so untrue. Just make sure to hydrate at least 45 minutes before and after class.
#2: Feed the Crave Naturally
Throughout my hot yoga intense week, I developed an insatiable craving for all things sinful and sweet. Chocolates, soft drinks, french fries. You name it. I craved it. Hot yoga works your body really hard so expect your blood glucose levels to drop. For me, the best way I replenished my sugar levels and stabilised my cravings was to do it naturally with fruit juices. I find a glass of freshly squeezed watermelon juice or veggie juice after class always does the trick.
#3: Up the Electrolytes
One great tip is to mineralise your water. You can do this with Himalayan salt as it contains the same 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body. These fine pink-coloured salts also help to reduce muscle cramps. Isotonic drinks like 100Plus, Pocari Sweat and Gatorade also contain electrolyte minerals to replenish the body. If you want to opt for an au naturale drink, then coconut water is the best – from young green coconuts. Although by itself, coconut water is not suitable for prolong and endurance exercise; it is low on calories and is a natural source of electrolytes that includes sodium and potassium minerals.
#4: Show Some Skin
Less is more when it comes to hot yoga. Don’t be afraid to go to class and show some skin. Yoga shorts and bra tops made from light and breathable material is recommended. It gets really hot in there! Avoid thick or cotton-based clothing because once soaked with sweat, it can get extremely uncomfortable. With that said, nobody wants to see your bum hanging out of your shorts. Too much skin makes others around you uncomfortable; so dress well and sensible.
Hot yoga can be extremely challenging. It is tempting to do the occasional sneak peak at your neighbour. This is understandable when you are in a challenging pose and contemplating giving up, your eyes naturally wander to seek approval or consensus from those around you. But, stop it! Who cares. You will either end up overexerting yourself or lose focus in your practice. Direct your concentration internally. Learn to listen to your body and be aware to respond to its signals.
#6: Eat Carbo-Rich Foods
Your body needs carbohydrate-rich foods to convert into sugar for immediate energy. Hot yoga burns a tremendous amount of energy in one session. For instance, it take a 72kg person to burn 264 calories when doing 75 minutes of housework. It takes the same person to burn 636 calories when doing 75 minutes of hot yoga! After a hot yoga class, refuel your muscles on cargo-rich diet like brown rice, energy bars, low fat yogurt, whole grain bread, bananas and whole wheat pasta.
#7: Get Good Sleep
Thirty days of daily non-stop hot yoga is no small task. During a 75-minute or 90-minute hot yoga class, your body is brought to a maximum level of strength, balancing and relaxation. Sleep allows the body to repair any damages, flush out toxins and relax. If you want to keep your mind alert, body agile and make clear decisions throughout the days and weeks, you are going to need plenty of good, long and deep sleep.