What To Wear To Hot Yoga: A Complete Guide for All Bodies

What to wear to hot yoga?

Worrying about not having the right yoga gear or clothing can weaken your confidence and disrupt your flow for any yoga class – and this is especially true for hot yoga.

Yep – those extra degrees in hot yoga make a lot of difference. And without the right gear, not only can this affect your performance and enjoyment, but could also lead to injury.

Overheating, restricted movement, slipping and emotional/physical discomfort are all risks you face if you turn up without the necessary bits of gear – and many of them aren’t as obvious as you think.

So to avoid this, let us guide you through what to wear to hot yoga for all bodies.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through:

  • What is hot yoga?
  • How hot is hot yoga?
  • The benefits and safety precautions of hot yoga.
  • What to wear to hot yoga: a guide for all bodies.
  • Other hot yoga essentials.

Let’s get into it!

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What is hot yoga?

To put it simply, hot yoga describes yoga exercises performed under hot and humid conditions.

Over the past decade, hot yoga has been getting more and more popular all over the world – however, the tradition goes back much further than this.

While hot yoga has effectively been practised for hundreds of years outdoors in the Indian climate, the first official yoga style dubbed as ‘hot’ was that of Bikram Choudhury – aka Bikram yoga.

As yoga began to spread outside of India and into colder climates, Bikram Choudhury sought a way to replicate the heat and humidity of India, yoga’s birthplace.

While many people think of hot yoga and Bikram yoga as synonymous, Bikram yoga is just one example of hot yoga.

Indeed, hot yoga includes various different styles of yoga. In fact, any form of yoga – from Hatha to Ashtanga to Yin and beyond – can all be included in the category of hot yoga if they are performed in hot and humid conditions.

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How hot is hot yoga?

So, how hot is hot yoga?

Well, while the temperature in each class will vary, in general, the temperature in a hot yoga studio will be consistent and between 30 and 39 degrees celsius – steamy!

The benefits and safety precautions of hot yoga.

Benefits

The benefits of hot yoga are many. Here are our top 3:

#1: Flexibility

The raised temperature warms your muscles and connective tissues, loosening any tension and stiffness that can restrict your flexibility.

In doing so, hot yoga will enable you to go deeper into positions without having to warm up on your own. 

#2: Detoxing

Many people think that hot yoga’s detoxing powers come from the fact that it makes you sweat – and sweating releases toxins. While science has shown this to be a myth, hot yoga does boost detoxification.

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Hot yoga stimulates your circulation and metabolism which supplies your cells and tissues with greater blood flow.

This not only provides them with the nutrients they need at a greater rate, but also the picking up of waste products and toxins from these areas which are then carried to your liver and kidneys to then be removed from your body.

#3: Cardiovascular health

Similar to training in high altitudes, practising yoga in hot and humid conditions promotes cardiovascular strength as the heat and humid-induced lower oxygen levels make the body work harder.

Yep, performing the same routine in a hot room compared to a cooler room will be more strenuous and challenge the body more.

Precautions

While hot yoga boasts many benefits, there are also a number of safety precautions to stay mindful of.

These are particularly important for pregnant persons, those with high blood pressure and other pre-existing conditions.

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#1: Overextension +

First, while the heat helps your muscles loosen up aiding flexibility, this also makes it more difficult to feel your body’s actual limitations, leading to risk of overextension, strain or tears to your muscles.

#2: Dehydration

Second, the hot and humid environment, in combination with the physical demands of hot yoga leads to water loss and a rise in body temperature that can put you at risk of dehydration and in severe cases, heatstroke.

#3: Slipping

Finally, the humidity of the room and condensation on the surfaces puts you at risk of slipping and falling during your hot yoga class.

So with these risks in mind – time to learn what to wear to hot yoga to minimise them!

A guide for All Bodies: What to wear to hot yoga?

Aaand finally… what to wear to hot yoga?

The heightened temperature and humidity in hot yoga studios place you at risk of restricted movement, overheating, slipping, discomfort.

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As such, when deciding what to wear to hot yoga, your choice should revolve around four things: promoting flexibility, staying cool, slip prevention and comfort.

These priorities are true for all bodies – whether you’re male, female, beyond the binary, tall, small, petite, curvy and more.

#1: Underneath

This is one that many guides on what to wear to hot yoga forget – the undies.

A really crucial part of ensuring your comfort and ability to focus during your hot yoga class is making sure you wear the right knickers or underpants.

Trust us – if they’re too tight, itchy, loose or so on and you have to keep readjusting, it will really dampen your enjoyment and performance.

When it comes to the bra, a moisture-wicking sports bra in a breathable fabric will help you feel supported in the various topsy-turvy positions hot yoga puts you in.

#2: On top

Whether you wear a top or not is a personal choice and down to how comfortable you feel in your body – stick to a sports bra or nothing at all if you’re comfortable doing so, as the fewer layers, the cooler you’ll likely be!

If you do decide to wear one, try to look for moisture-wicking fabric that dries fast and absorbs moisture.

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Fabrics like pure cotton might feel nice at the beginning, but after an hour or so of a sweaty workout, they will retain sweat and make your clothing heavier.

Again, look for tighter fitting tops, as the looser they are, the more they will fall and get in the way of your stretches, bends and so on.

#3: On the Bottom

As with your top, look for lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric that will absorb your sweat and dry quickly.

If you feel comfortable doing so, short shorts are great because they won’t trap too much heat near your legs.

If this is a little out of your comfort range, look for leggings with mesh extra-breathable areas, or looser yoga pants made of gym fabric.

In fact, leggings do have their advantages. Having fabric around your legs to absorb any moisture you lose, can stop your legs from becoming sweaty and slippery.

#4: In the Hair

Again, this is one point that a lot of guides on what to wear to hot yoga forget.

You will likely be sweating a lot during your class, and long hair left untamed will not only go in your eyes but will also quickly start sticking to your forehead, back and… well, wherever else it can reach.

Bring a couple of hairbands to tie your hair up, and a headband to keep those pesky baby hairs off your face during your hot yoga session.

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Other Hot Yoga Essentials.

As well as guiding you through what to wear to hot yoga, here’s what else to bring to hot yoga:

#1: Water

As mentioned above, the heat and physical demands of hot yoga put your body at risk of dehydration.

So, make sure to bring a big water bottle to last you through the class – always better to have too much than too little.

#2: Mat

Choosing the right yoga mat will make a world of difference in your hot yoga practice.

Look for a mat that is non-slip on both sides, thickly cushioned and it at least the length of your body.

Also, remember to always clean your mat after a hot yoga class, as the heat and moisture are a playground for bacteria.

#3: Yoga Towel

Another must-have in your hot-yoga kit is a good quality, non-slip, moisture wicking (sensing a theme here?) yoga towel to place flat on top of your mat during your practice.

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Yoga towels are usually very thin, lighweight and include gripping features on the bottom. And, many of these towel actually grip even better when wet!

#4: …Another Towel

So, the next thing to bring after a towel is… another towel.

It might sound a little over the top, but having two towels is really useful in hot yoga classes. This is because you can use one on top of your mat, to provide extra grip and moisture absorption.

The other towel meanwhile, can be kept at the side of your mat and be used as and when you need it to dry off. Plus, it means you have a fresher towel for your post-yoga shower.

#5: Body/Face Wash

This is one that many people forget. After your class, you’ll be sweaty and will probably want to have a quick shower to freshen up before going on with your day.

While some studios may provide soap, it’s best not to take the risk. Be sure to pack some travel-sized body, face and even hair wash so you can leave the class feeling energised and refreshed.

#6: Deodorant

For long after you’ve finished your workout, your body will continue to produce heat and sweat.

So, remember to bring some deodorant to stop you from getting sweaty again after your post-hot yoga shower.

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And with that, what to wear to hot yoga has been answered!

From hot yoga to hand yoga – have you been looking after yours?

Our hands are one of our most important and frequently used body parts, but we rarely give them the love and attention they deserve.

Time to change! Read this: Hand Yoga: Benefits + 6 Poses For Healthy Hands, Fingers + Wrists

Tish Qvortrup

Tish Qvortrup

Tish Qvortrup is a Brighton-born Yogi, with a passion for living intentionally. A Yoga Alliance registered 300hr teacher, she found her calling in Yin and Yang yoga. In her spare time, she loves exploring the outdoors and cooking plant-based goodies.

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