MAKE A 'HOME HOT ROOM' - 10 HOT TIPS
Since COVID-19 has come into our lives and we’ve moved into Lockdown, yoga practice has been moved out of the studio and into our homes via livestream & Zoom (check schedule and book class here) Many of you have created your own cosy at-home hot yoga studios with some really great (and sweaty) results!
I’ve run ‘pop up’ hot yoga spaces for many years now for both private and public classes and along the way learnt some easily accessible tips & tricks to get your sweat on without heavy investment…
*CHOOSE YOUR SPACE – Locate the warmest and (possibly the smallest) room in house, and see if you can get your computer/device and mirror appropriately placed; in front of your mat is the best so that your online teacher can see you, and you can see the other practitioners. If you have obvious cool spots such as windows and drafty gaps under doors and/or skirting then you can draw the curtains & roll up towels/blankets to cover them. There is also a very cheap makeshift double glazing kit which you can install yourself from outlets such as Amazon.
*HEATING ON – I’ve been told that some of you have underfloor heating (well jel) and I’ve seen some lovely fires roaring in the background on your online classes! Whilst I’m not encouraging you to leave your heating on all day, maybe just give it a quick blast for an hour to create an ambient temperature…and we will soon be in Summer (yay!)
*SUPPLEMENTARY HEATERS – My personal favourite and super cheap stylish electric heater is this ARLEC because it doesn’t have a cut-off stat (and it’s half price right now from Homebase) – HOWEVER be warned – although pretty, it’s not as cheap to run as my favourite in-studio infrareds. I’m coveting this ANTARCTIC as it’s effects are instant and apparently costs less than a quid to heat up a space for a 90 mins class. BE CAREFUL that you don’t place the heater near to flammables (obvs) but have a play with what you already have and surprise yourself.
*WEAR CLOTHES – You may wish to layer up (I even had one student wearing a woolly hat to practice this week!) but although this is useful at the beginning of a practice, be aware that wearing socks etc. may interfere with your grip in certain postures . I personally would lose too much body heat wearing the shorts and bra top that I normally practice in, but maybe reach for the longer leggings instead as a compromise…
*WARM UP FIRST – Try taking a hot bath or shower to warm up a little before you start to practice. If you are practicing in the bathroom leave the hot water in the bath & embrace the steam.
*PRACTICE WITH ANOTHER HOUSEHOLD MEMBER – Each body is a useful living breathing space heater – the human body generates an average of 330 BTUs an hour. So grab a member of your family and see if you can persuade them to practice next to you – I don’t charge extra for same-house practitioners and you will save on heating and they may also be a little easier to love/live with after having done their yoga over lockdown (as are we, right?)
*HOW HOT IS IT? It’s useful to have a temperature gauge (I use this cheap little one as it also reads humidity) for practicing and aim for about 100f & 40% humidity if you can. It’s been proven scientifically that the fascia of the body releases collagen and elastine at 90f and above, which helps the body to stretch so we are trying to get as warm as possible to simulate a normal hot yoga class. Although you won’t probably have access to the commercial type of humidifier I use at my pop-ups, I’ve seen some of you using facial humidifiers in your space but I’ve used something like this before and it certainly helped – and I recall the Tahoe Hot Yoga studio years ago boiling a kettle with the lid off on an extra dry day! You will find it is easier to feel a sweat on the rainy days we have here in Northern Europe…
*HUMIDIFY YOURSELF TOO – remember to drink enough water which will make sweating easier for your body.
*BREATH – learn Ujjayi (similar to the first Pranayama Breathing – which you can do more of to warm up too!) We don’t normally need Ujjayi breathing technique (often used in Ashtanga) as hot yogis because the external heat offered in a studio is what we rely on to practice. However, yogic breathing techniques such as Ujjayi diaphragmatic breath – where the throat muscles are constricted and the epiglottis depressed to heat the breath as it comes in and out – Pranayama are really useful tools to have in your yogic toolbox.
*TIMING – If you can, choose to stay in posture longer to build heat and intensity. When we don’t feel the support/competition of a group class, we can get a little lazy or demotivated and exit posture early – try not to and allow the sustained effort to build heat . But also, resist the urge to push harder into the depth of the posture as your body is not so warmed up yet. Practice patiently so you can open up in your own time – and the reward for patience is…..more patience!
Have fun playing with your home studio and jump into an online hot yoga class soon –