Hot Yoga Mat: Hot yoga is a style of yoga that takes place in heated rooms – which can get very humid and slippery, so a having a hot yoga mat that can cope with these, (often sweaty!), conditions is essential.
I'm not sure if I would want to go back for another hot yoga session. I really am unable to call this a yoga session, however many people do enjoy this form of 'yoga'.
Bikram is probably the best known of the hot yogas. In Bikram yoga the room is heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit often through hot steam being pumped in through vents. In these suana-like conditions 26 asanas and 2 breathing exercises are practiced in a double cycle. The same 26 asanas are practiced by Bikram followers worldwide, so in theory a Bikram yogi can go to any class in the World and be able to take part in a familiar series of poses. With devotees that include Elle MacPherson and Daniel Craig, hot yoga is definitely growing in popularity.
The benefits of hot yoga are many and varied. It can improve cardiovascular endurance, increase flexibility, and the heat allows damaged muscles or injuries to be worked more effectively without pain. Many top athletes use Bikram yoga as part of their rehabilitation regime following a serious injury.
Obviously things do get very wet and sweaty! A towel and a bottle of water are among the bare minimum required to keep you safe. But most importantly is your mat. Rubber is generally considered to be the best material to use in hot yoga sessions, it provides excellent grip and will remain non-slip when damp. Rubber mats can also be washed down and cleaned more easily after a class – this is really important to prevent the build up of odors and bacteria from your sweat. Rubber has the added advantage that it is a natural, renewable resource and is also 100% biodegradable, so its green credentials speak for themselves.
There are other premium yoga mats that have been developed especially for hot yogas. These are often made from composite materials which can grip, cushion and absorb moisture. The Rabbit Flap Mat is one such premium style mat. Made from three layers it has a breathable cotton toweling upper surface, an absorbent cushioned middle and a coated anti-slip underside that will grip the floor. It also comes in regular or long length and the surface has a stitched design to aid hand a foot alignment.
It is important that you feel safe on your hot yoga mat. The sweaty conditions mean that you don't want to be worrying about your hands and feet slipping, or your mat bunching up mid position. Hot yoga can be tiring, so having a mat that you feel is working with you and not against you is one less thing to worry about.