I have been practicing different styles of yoga on and off for a long time; however, I started practicing hot yoga three years ago, and I'm so incredibly grateful that I did. I became addicted to the heat and disciplined conditions.
I am currently in the process of becoming a yoga instructor. I'm learning that yoga is a scientific miracle that not only requires the student showing up for class, but the student also doing the following things, all of which I wish I'd known about before I walked into my first hot yoga class:
1. Hydrate with electrolytes!
The wonderful thing about hot yoga is that, through strict conditions, it highlights what you're lacking in your diet. I have often heard people say, "I can't do hot yoga, I feel faint during the class." However, unless you've been diagnosed with a serious condition, hot yoga shouldn't make you feel faint. People who feel faint usually need to stay hydrated with mineral-laden water.
2. Your teacher is human, too.
Just as we students need time to fully grasp the depth of a pose, so do teachers. They learn just like we do, and they have a limited time to say every aspect of exploration regarding the pose they're describing. I suggest taking a variety of classes by different teachers to broaden your understanding of the pose and the practice.
3. You're not on a yoga poster; you're in a yoga class.
It is referred to as a practice for a reason: it takes time. If you go in expecting to be perfect, then you're entering the room for a reason that will never be achieved. During each class I'm reminded that I can't do the poses without imperfections; however, I can use my imperfections to strengthen as I highlight them and focus on what I can do to help my body heal and grow.
4. Hot yoga isn't just for 90 minutes, it's for the whole day.
As you practice more often, you'll begin to identify the difference between healthy and unhealthy. That one class will not pay off if, for the rest of the day, you're stressed out, eating unhealthily and carrying mental baggage around. Accurate health benefits are obtained by taking a holistic approach to how you treat your body.
I see so many people frowning at themselves during class or beating themselves up about a pose that they fell out of. Yoga is a metaphor for how you treat yourself and run your life. Are you the one that is demeaning toward yourself? Are you often frustrated with yourself? Do you beat yourself up about the past? If you do, STOP! It will only create negative energy that defeats the whole purpose of you doing yoga to begin with.