If you read this post, you’ll know how much I’m currently loving hot yoga. (And if you know me IRL, you’re probably sick of me banging on about it whilst standing on one leg bellowing “look! I can do this pose now!”)
The type of hot yoga I’m doing is a specific “brand” called Hotpod Yoga. It’s not regular yoga, and it’s not Bikram. You might not have a hotpod in your town. But, if you do, and you fancy giving it a try, scroll down for my handy guide. Let’s om shanti this shiz.
PS If you’re in/near Folkestone and want to try a free class at Hotpod Folkestone, just click here. Select “single class pass” and enter code THEFITWRITER in the discount box – and your class with be totally free. You don’t have to have membership.
Hotpod Yoga: WTF Even Is That?
What is it?
Hot yoga is yoga in a heated room. I’ve been doing something called “Hotpod Yoga”, though, which is a specific style. If you want to actually do hotpod (which is what I’m going on about in these posts), you’ll need to find your local “pod” (here).
So… it’s yoga in a hot room?
No. It’s yoga, inside a heated up “pod”, which is itself inside a room. Basically: you go into the building from outside, get changed/hang your stuff up/check in, then enter the pod before the class.
How big are the pods?
Much as it would tickle me to tell you that they’re individual – like in the film Cocoon – this is not true. The pod is a big inflatable – room sized, really – but slightly dome shaped. It’s large enough for about 20 people to stand up straight, lay down flat, and stretch their limbs out without getting overly familiar.
How hot it is? And is the temperature consistent throughout the class?
Hotpod yoga is heated to 37*C (done via special heaters all around the inside of the pod), and it’s a humid atmosphere rather than dry. The 37*C is consistent, but the pod does warm up as the bodies do. The fuller the class, the hotter it tends to get.
Is it the same as Bikram?
I didn’t know the answer to this at first, because I’m a yoga dunce and don’t know what Bikram is. Turns out the answer is “no”. Bikram is a very specific system of yoga, which follows the same set poses every single class (and it’s heated to 40*C, not 37*C). No, this is not Bikram.
What kind of yoga is it?
Hotpod calls itself a Vinyasa Flow style. Allow me to explain that in beginner newbie terms (for myself as much as for you). This means you do some warm up stuff to mobilise through the spine and get yourself calm and focused. Then you move into the main part of the class, which is a series of “flows”. You might recognise some bits of this: it involves things like Downward Dog, chaturangas, Warrior poses, and Triangle pose. Then there’s usually some kind of balance section, some forward folds and back bends, some ab/core focus work, and some seated stuff like forward folds and twists.
Why is it better than just regular yoga?
I’m not sure anyone is saying it’s better, just different. I’ll tell you why I find it better. First of all, it feels more like a workout (due to the heat, the sweat, and the fact that you can get deeper into the poses and work harder). The atmosphere is really special (the pod, the dim lighting, the music, and the nice aromatherapy smell). I know full well that sweating doesn’t burn fat or burn more calories (etc) but I do think that working in a hot environment enables you to get into the workout more quickly, work more deeply, and push a bit harder.
Do I have to be bendy to be able to do it?
Absolutely not. There are people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and yoga levels there. I’m not especially bendy, but I’ve got tons better.
I’ve never done any yoga, will I be OK?
Yep. The teacher gives instructions throughout, and walks around the pod watching and making adjustments (if you don’t want to be touched, you always have the opportunity to say so before the class starts). If you get confused, drop back down to a basic pose (you’ll be shown this) as just watch or call the teacher over.
I have low blood pressure and get dizzy in the heat.
Me too man. And I have had slightly dizzy spells – only when standing up straight from a forward fold (hardly surprising!) Just take it very slowly – you are encouraged to do this anyway, for the sake of your neck and spine. Keep sipping your drink, and drop down into a basic pose if you need a break. I have postural hypotension and haven’t had any dodgy moments in class.
What should I wear?
As little as possible without causing any consternation (to yourself or others). I started out in leggings, sports bra, and a vest top. I’ve since graduated (in confidence and IDGAF levels) to either sports bra and leggings, or little shorts and vest top.
Is it claustrophobic in the pod?
I don’t think so, but then again I don’t get claustrophobic. I guess you’d have to try it. It’s not small. It’s more like being in a dark marquee (?)
Is it stinky?
Not at all. In fact our hotpod uses aromatherapy oils in the pod (not sure if they all do this).
Do they play music or anything?
Yep. Not dance music obviously.
I’m a bit embarrassed, I don’t want people watching me.
They probably don’t want you watching them, either. The good news is that the pod has subdued lighting and no mirrors. Everyone will be focusing on themselves anyway. And you’re in downward dog a lot. I tend to have my eyes closed for much of the class – perhaps everyone else does, too?
Do I need a mat or do they provide them?
They provide them.
Do I need a towel?
Yes. Take a big one (yoga mat sized) plus a smaller one (hand towel sized) for general moppage.
I’m a runner/bodybuilder/spin addict, do I really need yoga?
Check you out with your existential questions. Do any of us really NEED anything? I don’t know. I like to have more of a rounded, athletic approach to fitness. I think training should include some resistance/strength work, some cardio, some yoga or other restorative work. So – yes. But it’s up to you obviously. I will say that hotpod yoga has without a doubt helped my weights training (and recovery).
How sweaty will I get?
Very! Like you’ve been hiking in a rainforest.
Are there toilets and showers?
There are at Folkestone Hotpod but I guess each one differs – best to ask them directly. Probably though.
Should I bring water?
100% Bring a big bottle, and think about bringing some kind of electrolyte drink especially if you do other training or are planning another hotpod session the next day.
Hope that helps! If you decide to go, I really hope you love it as much as I do.
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 14 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.