Those who appreciate extreme heat are drawn to the sweat-soaked practice of hot yoga. Hot yoga, also known as "Bikram yoga," became famous in California in the 1970s. Bikram classes consist of performing the same 26 yoga poses in cycles, with each stance held for 10 to 90 seconds. These hot yoga classes usually last about 90 minutes.
Hot yoga sessions take place in temperatures ranging from 32 to more than 37 degrees Celsius. It's common to hear sweat drips on the yoga mat during class!
With this much heat and the prospect of intense sweating, you may be wondering what to wear and how to prepare for a hot yoga class, particularly if it's your first time.
You may know what to wear for yoga, but we're here to help you find the ideal hot yoga clothing and the best materials to wear to hot yoga!
What is hot yoga?
Hot yoga is a more intense form of yoga that is done in a room that has been heated above normal room temperature.
Hot yoga makes use of the concepts of heat and effort to sweat out toxins. With the heat and humidity, it is less rigorous. The postures (asanas) and sequence may differ from class to class, based on the yoga instructor's preparations.
Hot yoga instructors can also be educated in other styles. Bikram yoga can only be taught by Bikram yoga instructors.
Hot yoga clothes and hot yoga essentials
In a hot yoga class, fabric that dries fast and is moisture wicking is your best friend. Try a polyester/spandex blend, like the buttery-soft microfibre yarn in our leggings and tops, for maximum comfort and moisture wicking power.
Avoid donning anything made of 100 percent cotton because it will absorb sweat and make your clothes heavier.
Stretchy, comfortable clothing with perspiration wicking ability dissolves excess moisture rapidly while reducing the possibility of sweat stains and odour.
Many exercise clothing labels state that it is moisture-wicking fabric or breathable. These fabrics are typically made of light-weight materials such as mesh or polyester, which are the workhorses of exercise clothing and are both durable and wrinkle-free.
Yoga pants or leggings
In most yoga classes, wearing shorts is an obvious way to remain cool. However, for hot yoga, leggings and long pants may provide some benefits.
When you wear shorts to a hot yoga session, your thighs will become sweaty and slippery, making certain leg-holding poses or arm balances more difficult. Wearing leggings or pants is useful for a variety of postures, including crow pose, which requires your arms to rest on your thighs.
Pants and leggings provide the grip needed to balance your legs on the arms. To improve comfort, search for items with few seams, as with all yoga clothing.
To enable your legs to move freely, choose a light-weight, dry fabric with plenty of give. In addition, choose a design with tapered bottoms. Make sure you do your best to get the right size that fits you comfortably.
If you're in a three-legged downward facing dog, bell bottom yoga trousers, for example, may ride up your calves. You want your clothing to remain in place so you can focus on breathing and getting into the poses effectively.
If you decide pants on the way forward, we've also got a guide on what to wear with yoga pants just for you.
Yoga shorts are also popular in hot yoga classes. They provide a little more air circulation than full-length trousers, as well as offering freedom of movement for your legs and hips.
Look for shorts made of lightweight materials such as polyester and spandex, which will keep you cool while providing the grip needed to help prevent slipping during poses.
If the heat is too much for you in leggings or capris, opt for shorter shorts. The trick is to find something that is snug enough to stay in place throughout the class, but not so tight that it's uncomfortable.
Sports bras & crop tops
Many yogis choose to wear only a tank top or sports bra to minimise heat in the upper layers. Remember that it's sweltering and humid here!
If you want to put a crop top over your sports bra, go for one that is more form-fitting. Yoga postures require your body to twist and bend over, which will cause your shirt to shift around. The last thing you want is your shirt hanging over your face when you're pushing yourself to get into inversions or upside down positions.
Remember to measure yourself for a perfect fit for your sports bra, save yourself from any embarrassing mishaps!
Choosing the right yoga mat and yoga towels
Choose a yoga mat that is long-lasting, thick, and non-slip—even when wet. These mats are excellent for giving the necessary grip to get into your poses without slipping.
If your mat isn't "sticky," try using an inexpensive yoga towel to sit on top of it. While a regular beach or bath towel can be used, some may be too thick or fully cover your mat.
Yoga towels are thin and designed to stick to your yoga mat. Choose one that absorbs moisture, dries rapidly, and keeps your mat dry and odour-free during class. If you go this way, spray a small amount of water on the areas of the mat where your hands and feet will be when in a downward facing dog pose.
The moisture from the water enhances the towel's grip. Many yoga facilities have a water sprayer where you can spritz your towel before your hot yoga practice begins.
Looking for yoga wear to help you stay cool?
When taking part in hot yoga, it's really important to stay hydrated and choose the right materials that can help you with staying cool. We recommend our Microfibre Yarn yoga clothing, which is ethically sourced and always moisture-wicking to keep the sweat at bay!
At Loony Legs, we pride ourselves in offering yoga clothing that combines style with sustainability, comfort and functionality. Our eco-friendly yoga leggings, sports bras, stretchy tees, and other items are made from high-quality materials that are specially designed for your comfort and flexibility, so you can always look and feel your best.
Check out our full range of ethically made yoga wear today, and find the perfect style for you!
What to wear to hot yoga FAQS
What should I wear to my first hot yoga class?
Look for moisture-wicking workout fabrics, these will dry quickly and repel any sweat. Avoid anything that is 100% cotton as it will retain sweat and feel heavy which is the opposite of what you want for hot yoga.
Are leggings too hot for hot yoga?
You'll want to pick out leggings that are fast-drying, lightweight and breathable. Wearing leggings is recommended over shorts as they will stop you slipping when you're getting into the tougher poses.
Should I bring a towel to hot yoga?
You will sweat more than you imagined possible, so put a towel on top of your mat! A bath or beach towel will suffice for your first lesson. However, once you've committed to attending classes on a regular basis, you should invest in a yoga towel.