The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Hot Yoga Gear

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A woman in a black tank top and grey leggings performing a backbend yoga pose with arms extended towards the back and eyes closed against a plain light-colored background.
Author Name: Lucas Cook
Date: Thursday May 16, 2024

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Are you going to a hot yoga class for the first time? It can be exciting to think about as everyone raves about it. Yet, as the class begins and the room heats up, you may realize that your cotton shirt feels soaked and heavy. This can be distracting as you try to follow the instructor’s poses because you need to adjust your drenched outfit. 

This is a rookie mistake that many beginner yogis make, but it’s also a learning moment about what to wear to hot yoga. Choosing the right gear is important for a successful hot yoga session, so it’s essential to understand which fabrics and fit will keep you comfortable.

A person in a white tank top and patterned leggings doing a forward fold yoga pose on a mat in a bright room with large windows.

What Is Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is a more intense form of regular yoga, where you attend class in a hot, humid room. The Bikram style originally popularized it, which involves a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises.

According to Dr. Edward Laskowski from Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine, people perform hot yoga, often heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. The heat is intended to warm and make the body flexible, allowing deeper stretches and increased workout intensity.

Beyond increased flexibility, it also encourages the body to sweat profusely. The sweating is thought to help the toxins flush out of the body, though the primary detoxifying organ is the liver. The heat also requires practitioners to focus deeply on their breathing, which enhances lung capacity and boosts oxygenation throughout the body. 

Hot yoga enthusiasts often see improvements in stamina, flexibility and mental focus. However, the aftermath of the sessions provides you with immediate stress relief. You feel good physically and mentally after sweating and putting your body through such intense conditions.

What Do You Need to Wear to Hot Yoga?

To ensure you get the most out of your first hot yoga class, wear clothes you’ll feel most comfortable in. The following are the top recommendations for what to wear to hot yoga.

Breathable Fabrics

Choosing the right fabric can be as crucial as the practice of hot yoga. In the sweltering conditions of a hot yoga studio, breathable fabrics are key to keeping cool and comfortable. Materials with moisture-wicking properties are ideal because they pull sweat away from the body. As such, this allows it to evaporate quickly and keep you dry during intense sessions. 

Fabrics such as polyester, nylon and spandex are excellent choices. Additionally, some newer materials blend synthetic fibers with natural ones like bamboo, known for its soft texture and eco-friendly benefits. While these fabrics are gentle on the skin, they also provide excellent moisture management and odor resistance. As a result, they make the perfect fabric for hot, humid environments.

A woman with long curly hair wearing a colorful sports bra and black leggings practicing yoga on a pink mat in a room with wooden floors and large windows. She is doing the upward-facing dog pose with her head tilted back and eyes closed, sunlight streaming in from the window.

Comfortable, Fitted Clothing

Movement and flexibility are key in hot yoga, so you want to wear clothes that will move with you. While you want the clothes to be comfortable, they should also fit you well to ensure your garments stay in place. Fitted apparel is especially important in hot yoga to avoid excess fabric that can become heavy with sweat. Otherwise, it may impede your movement or keep your instructor from correcting your posture.

Clothing that fits snugly but not too tightly is ideal, as it supports a full range of motion and doesn’t restrict blood flow. Look for items specifically designed for yoga or athletic wear, as they provide support and coverage while practicing complex poses.

Stretchable Yoga Wear

Your body needs more room for flexibility to perform the poses your instructor provides. Therefore, stretchable yoga wear is essential to prevent the limitations of stretches and poses. This is especially important in hot yoga since expansive poses and long holds are common. Plus, the heat can make your body more pliable and prone to deeper stretches. 

Spandex is often the best material due to its exceptional elasticity. These materials allow the fabric to stretch four ways without losing shape or becoming baggy. Moreover, the elasticity of these fabrics ensures the clothing fits snugly and moves with your body. This will help reduce the risks of accidents, especially as emergency room visits have increased by 70% due to the growing popularity of hot yoga.

Two people in a yoga pose sitting on mats in a bright room with a large green potted plant. They are wearing white sports bras and black leggings, and are facing a window with sunlight streaming in.

Types of Hot Yoga Clothing and Accessories to Bring to Class

Before attending hot yoga classes, there are different types of yoga clothes you should wear that will enhance your practice:

  • Yoga pants or shorts: Depending on your preference, you may want to wear yoga pants since the sweat may make your legs too slippery if you wear shorts. Yet, some people can’t stand the heat, so try a pair of yoga shorts to see which provides more comfort.
  • Sports bra: A sports bra is necessary to keep everything in place and make you feel less sweaty.
  • Yoga tank: A tank top for a hot yoga class will be another lifesaver for absorbing sweat. Plus, it will allow more range of motion and offer more breathability.
  • Yoga mat: A high-quality mat that provides a good grip even when wet is crucial. Some mats feature a non-slip surface that will improve your safety and performance when perspiring.
  • Towels: You will be sweating a lot! Bring along a yoga towel to lay over your mat. These towels will keep you dry and provide extra grip. A small hand towel is also useful if you need to wipe sweat from your face and body. 
  • Water bottle: Staying hydrated is critical in hot yoga because of the intensity of the heat and sweat. Bring a water bottle that keeps liquid cool throughout the class and ensure it’s easy to open but keeps the contents secure.

Assembling these types of clothing and accessories ensures a more successful and comfortable hot yoga experience. Each item is crucial in managing the challenges presented in a heated environment. That way, you can focus more on your poses and breath control.

Know What to Wear to Hot Yoga for a Fun Class

Choosing what to wear to hot yoga can significantly impact your experience. Remember to opt for breathable, stretchable clothing to help you feel comfortable and enhance your performance. The right gear will help you make the most of every pose and breath, improving your overall practice. 

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