In hot yoga and Bikram, the practice room is heated, usually to 95 - 100 degrees, warming the body to facilitate sweating and increase flexibility. But just because the room is hot doesn't mean that getting as naked as possible is the best choice. We asked hot yoga teacher and studio owner Darla Magee to share some carefully chosen clothing and equipment options that will keep you from getting bogged down in a slippery, soggy mess. Here are her top picks, which will allow you to practice hot yoga in comfort and style.
Best Hot Yoga Pants
While it would seem that you'd want to smallest shorts possible, given the heat of the room, Magee finds that form-fitted capris are a better choice because sweating in shorts makes your legs too slippery, which can be an issue in arm balances like crow pose
. Lululemon's Wunder Under
crops are Magee's favorites. While these pants are on the pricey side, Magee has good reason to think you are getting your money's worth. "Many less expensive yoga pants get almost transparent when the student bends forward," she says. "Also make sure that you’re buying pants that are big enough for you. If you have to stretch spandex too much to put it on and then stretch it again with a forward bend, suddenly you’re wearing a window instead of a trouser." To avoid this terrible fate, Magee suggests doing a wide-legged forward bend
in front of the mirror in the dressing room when trying on yoga pants to make sure you're not going to give your teacher and classmates an accidental peep show. For the same reason, Magee strongly suggests wearing an undergarment of your choice
Best Hot Yoga Tops
A close fitting tank top and/or sports bra is the best choice. Avoid oversized t-shirts that may fall forward in downward facing dog
. One hundred percent cotton tops are also not ideal, since they will absorb sweat and become heavy. Magee recommends looking for wicking fabrics such as Lululemon
's Luon or Nike's Dri-FIT.
Best Hot Yoga Mat and Props
Magee likes Manduka's Black Mat PRO
for its durability, thickness, and grippiness, even when wet. If she needs a little extra traction in poses like downward facing dog or triangle pose
, she uses Manduka's eQua mat towel
. For blocks, Magee has had good results with Hugger Mugger
. "They seem to be dense enough that they don’t really absorb the sweat and they sanitize nicely with tea tree oil and water," she says.
Hairstyles for Hot Yoga
If you have long hair, a loose ponytail or braid
is the best choice, since these allow you to do a full range of poses without having to adjust your hair. You will be sweating, so don't arrive with a hairdo you want to keep nice, advises Magee. If you are a heavy sweater, a bandanna or headband can help keep the perspiration from getting in your eyes.
Hot Yoga Clothing for Men
While Magee finds shirts to be optional for male students, she does have some advice on the best type of shorts, at least from a teacher's perspective. Men's shorts
should fit close to the body and make use of those good old wicking fabrics. If men chose to wear running shorts, they should wear a compression garment underneath to ensure full coverage. As for hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury's famous outfit of choice? "Speedos?" says Magee, "Just don’t."