What’s the one thing you do that makes you feel totally chill? For me, it’s hot yoga. Do I occasionally turn to Pinot Noir and Vanity Fair to melt away stress? Guilty! But when the weight of the world is on my shoulders and I want to do something positive for my future self, I turn to hot yoga and yoga sculpt classes.
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Hot Yoga Calgary
Hot yoga is brilliant in Calgary, especially during our long winters. When it’s -30 Celsius it feels so incredible to step into a hot studio and warm up your bones. For me, hot yoga is the one thing that makes Calgary winers bearable.
It’s also an exercise in mindfulness. I haven’t been successful in cultivating a mediation practice, but to me, hot yoga is my meditation. It’s really hard to let your mind wander in these classes, trust.
Fortunately, there’s more and more hot yoga studios popping up in Calgary. Here’s a look at what to expect whether you’re giving hot yoga a go in Calgary or another city.
Hot yoga sounds extreme, but it really isn’t. It does get your heart rate up and because of the heat, you will sweat like a mother. The heat makes it feel more intense, but you also get a better stretch.
To me, hot yoga is more of a workout than your regular Hatha class. And that’s why I love it. I sweat like crazy, I’m mindful, I get a good stretch and it feels like legit exercise.
Best is, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you just rest. Pretty much at anytime during any class, you’ll find someone resting in child’s pose. Yoga’s not a competitive sport y’all!
Hot Yoga on 17th
Even if this wasn’t the first hot yoga studio in Calgary, it sure feels that way. Hot Yoga on 17th has won numerous awards and is a real favourite in the city.
Personally, I think Hot Yoga on 17th has the most gorgeous vibe. Light streams into the studio from three windows set high up on the wall. (So high, nobody can see you practicing.) In the summer, you gaze out at leafy trees and in winter, you get that much needed sunlight.
The one thing to note about Hot Yoga on 17th is that it’s quite warm. Read: crazy hot. Temperatures generally range anywhere from 35 to 42 Celsius depending on the studio. Here, classes run 42 Celsius with 50% humidity. They use a customized HVAC system to heat both their studios, ensuring fresh and clean oxygenated air moves through the space at all times, while maintaining the hot temperature and humidity.
Hot Yoga in Calgary NW
Hot Yoga on 17th’s sister studio, Hot Yoga on Crowfoot is my top pic for a yoga studio in Calgary NW. It’s conveniently located inside Crowfoot Crossing shopping centre.
Both the studio walls at Hot Yoga on Crowfoot and 17th were made with natural clay compounds. These create a negative charge in the space to increase your capacity to utilize oxygen – making you feel more energized. It’s also reputed to boost serotonin in the body.
The Crowfoot hot yoga studio in NW Calgary also has spin classes, allowing you to get a major cardio workout before a fantastic stretch.
Both Hot Yoga on 17th and Crowfoot offer traditional classes (Bikram style), Baptiste Vinyasa, power flow, sculpt, relaxing yin, plus pilates-inspired classes. If you can get a class with either owner Elmira Barry (great music), Sukhwinder Uppal or Lana May (killer Friday noon ab class), you won’t regret it.
Hot Shop Yoga
Located in Victoria Park, just south of downtown, Hot Shop is a super popular hot yoga studio for young, urban professionals, often ducking in for noon or after work classes. Actually, there are three Hot Shop yoga studios in Calgary. I’m a fan of their downtown location, but you can also hit their University location and way south in Silverado.
What I love most about this studio are their charity classes. Every Friday night you can snag a karma class for only $5 at all three of their studios. This is a great way to test the waters. And your class fee goes to charity! In Victoria Park you can also nab a $5 Freestyle Flow class on Sunday nights.
Hot Shop has excellent sculpt classes and efficient 50-minute lunch time sessions. My favourite instructors are: Amber Hartnett, Alex Law, Shelia Eludoyin and of course, Lana May.
Bikram Yoga Calgary
Technically Birkram Yoga consists of 26 poses done in sequence, plus two breathing exercises. Classes are always 90-minutes long and their studios are supposed to be the hottest. With hot yoga, the poses, class length and room temperature can be varied. Presently, there’s one Bikram yoga studio in Calgary and that is Birkram Yoga Marda Loop.
Birkram Yoga Marda Loop is easy to spot on 33 Ave SW. They have a variety of beginner classes to choose from and even offer private lessons. Once you get the swing of things, try their silent Bikram yoga class with music. Or the Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation. Both are pretty unique classes you won’t find anywhere else in Calgary.
How to prepare for your first hot yoga class
The most important thing to remember before taking a hot yoga class is not to eat too much. I like to give it at least two hours between eating and hot yoga-ing. You’ll want to drink a lot of liquids prior, too. A lot. Better before the class then during and water is best.
Don’t take in too much caffeine before practice either, unless you want to sweat and shake like a crazy person. And don’t knock back two mimosas before your noon class. Not that I know this from personal experience or anything.
No studio I’ve ever been to loves it when you leave class to go to the bathroom or blow your nose. They’ll let you, but you need to make eye contact with the instructor so they know you’re OK. Best to do all these things before class. And for the love of all things holy, please do NOT fart in any hot yoga class. It is the WORST!
What to wear to hot yoga
Many people wear as little as possible in hot yoga classes. You’ll see most dudes just wearing shorts and women in a sports bra and shorts. What you wear is totally personal preference, but whenever I’m asked by newbies what to wear to hot yoga, I recommend long, lightweight exercise pants.
I used to wear shorts, but I sweat a lot. Even down my legs. When you’re doing poses like eagle or anything you need to wrap your legs around, clothing helps you stick to the pose. If I’m bare legging it, it’s too slippery and I can’t hold the pose as easily.
By that same logic, I should be down with wearing long sleeves, but I’m not. I’ll wear either a regular gym top (not a T-shirt) or a sports bra if I’m feeling like my muffin top is under control. Usually it isn’t.
In addition to your regular yoga mat, you’re going to want to bring a yoga towel to place over your mat. These are way better than regular bath towels as they have little grippies on the underside so it doesn’t slip off the mat. Bring any old yoga mat, but if you forget yours, every studio has extras on hand, but you may be charged two bucks.
Some yoga studios dole out complimentary hand towels. If they don’t and you’re a sweater à la Jody Robbins, you’ll want to bring your own. And if you’re sweating a lot, you’ll probably want to shower after. Many studios supply shampoo and towels, but not all do. And those that do, don’t offer premium brands. Best to bring your own.
Best water bottle for hot yoga
Those Swell or insulated water bottles are the best for hot yoga. They keep your water totally cold, even inside an insanely hot studio. The only downside is that I drink way more when my water stays cold. I was kind of proud that I used to drink only half a cup or so with my old plastic water bottle. If you forget your water, most studios have bottles to sell.
Have you ever tried hot yoga? I’d love to hear if you have a favourite studio or type of class.
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