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7 ways to teach hot yoga at home (without installing a sauna)

7 ways to teach hot yoga at home (without installing a sauna)

Yoga is one of the easier workouts to adapt to the new hybrid fitness world. All you need is a mat, some blocks, a bottle of water and the latest fitness software.

Hot yoga at home is a little harder because the practice requires advanced heating equipment, such as infrared (IR) heating systems, to make rooms as hot as 90 to 105 °F (32 to 40 °C). Fans of the practice say the benefits are well worth it. For those who can stand the heat, hot yoga may improve flexibility and reduce stress.

There's more good news for teachers who want to offer hot yoga to their clients virtually. It’s 100 percent possible to teach hot yoga at home if you keep these best practices in mind. (If you're not a yoga professional just yet, check out how to become a yoga instructor in 7 steps.)

01. Know the risks

If you teach hot yoga, you already know that a heated practice has specific considerations. But just in case, here’s a reminder on the populations who shouldn’t participate:

  • People with a history of heart problems, asthma or diabetes

  • Pregnant women

Anne Marie Herring, founder and owner of Austin Private Yoga, who’s been teaching hot yoga for the last six years, suggests these best practices to keep everyone safe:

  • Place a health and safety disclaimer on your website or send safety info in your fitness newsletter.

  • At the start of a Zoom workout class, tell students to message you privately if they don’t feel comfortable announcing their concerns or questions to the group.

  • Emphasize the importance of hydration throughout class.

One benefit of at-home hot yoga, though, is that people can skip the heat if they prefer, so everyone can participate in the flow. As always, be sure to speak with an insurance expert or your studio owner about liability insurance needs for teaching hot yoga at home.

02. Invest in a good heater

Herring says IR (Infrared) heaters are a must, and there's no shortage of options to choose from on Amazon. IR heaters typically run between $70 and $200 for a basic model.

As Herring points out, many IR heaters are portable, so if you're going to clients’ homes, you can bring your IR heater along with you for that extra boost of warmth. It’s easy to move the heater around, and there’s no need to invest in additional heating systems in multiple rooms.

If you’re teaching virtually, instruct students to point the heaters toward them while they practice. “Infrared technology is designed to heat objects, unlike your home's heating system, which is designed to warm the air itself,” says Herring.

03. Take a hot shower

You can still have a hot yoga experience without an IR heater. At-home hot yoga without all the specialized equipment can seem impossible at first, but it can be a very mindful experience.

First, consider your goal. “The point of adding heat to yoga in the first place is to facilitate and make the stretch safer while reaching for poses,” says Will Thomas, a Bikram yoga teacher and studio owner.

Another way to do that: take a hot shower before class. Warming up your skin can increase your body awareness, says Thomas. “If you're addressing a certain area in practice (e.g., shoulder or hip), direct the shower stream there a little longer to help focus your brain on it in a positive way." Again, you can include this type of advice on your fitness website, blog or newsletter.

04. Get the humidity right

It’s harder to sweat when it’s dry, says Donna Rubin, co-owner of hot yoga boutique brand Bode nyc, who began teaching yoga in New York City in 1998 and currently operates three studios in New York City. “Ideally, you want the room to be around 40 percent humidity.” (Clients will need to invest in a hygrometer in order to tell.)

Rubin says to use a humidifier in the smallest room in your house, adding that bathrooms can be an option for those with enough space. In this case, clients can turn the shower on to create some steam.

Admittedly, humidity—much like heat—is a matter of personal preference, so tell your students to find a mix that works best for them. That’s the beauty of an at-home practice: personalization.

05. Dress the part

Rubin says the right clothing can help you sweat, too. “We’ve seen clients practice in rubber suits.” Also known as “sauna suits,” these garments are designed to get you sweating faster. Look for a lightweight design and closed cuffs to seal heat in at your wrists and ankles. Rubin recommends the brand HOTSUIT, available on Amazon.

Woman teaching yoga virtually

06. Teach on “grid” view

Video conferencing platforms like Zoom allow you to select what view you have on your personal screen. Herring says this optimizes teaching since it allows you to keep tabs on all participants. “This will give you the opportunity to check in with any students who may have gotten a little overheated,” she says.

While teaching hot yoga virtually, Herring recommends clicking through each of the students within the grid and making their video full screen for a moment. Signs of overheating include:

  • A flushed face

  • Struggling to maintain a posture

  • Breathing through their mouth versus their nose

  • Exhaustion

“If you see a number of students struggling, check in with the group and ask how everyone is feeling, then remind them to drink some water, move into child's pose and take it easy,” she says.

Teaching hot yoga at home with a grid view may take a while to get used to. You’ll need excellent communication skills, says Herring, so that students aren’t only relying on physical demonstrations. (If you take a break from flowing with your class to approach your monitor and observe how your students are doing, they won’t be able to see anything but your face.)

07. Spread the word

If you couldn’t tell by the expert tips above, clear communication is crucial to teaching hot yoga at home. There are many ways to communicate your tips and guidelines to your audience. A summary of some of the best practices:

  • Create an FAQ section on your website

  • Create a how-to guide on your blog (or link to this one!)

  • Send a fitness newsletter to new clients with guidelines

  • Sell relevant gear on your website using dropshipping

  • Create an at-home hot yoga course for other instructors

  • Answer questions in an Instagram Live

If that feels stressful, remember: “Overcoming challenges with greater ease is at the heart of any hot yoga practice,” says Herring. “The same can be said for creating the perfect hot yoga setup at home. It’s a challenge, but there’s a myriad of benefits.”

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