Yoga is a practice of self-exploration that involves stretching, deep breathing, and meditation. Not only is it great for the mind, but it’s great for the body as well. For one thing, it can increase your flexibility, muscle strength, and tone. Not only that, but it can better your bone health. Given all that, it’s not surprising to know that it’s become as popular as it is today! According to one survey, more than 36 million Americans do yoga on a regular basis.
Keep in mind, however, that yoga is an umbrella term—that is, there are various subtypes. For example, there’s vinyasa yoga, ashtanga yoga, power yoga, and yin yoga. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on hot yoga.
What is Hot Yoga?
Hot yoga, as its name implies, is performed under hot (and often humid) conditions. Take Bikram yoga, for instance—it involves doing various stretches for 90 minutes in a heated room (typically it’ll be set to 105 F). Due to the heat, your heart rate will go up as you exercise and stretch.
- It will boost your cardiovascular fitness
- You’ll burn more calories compared to regular yoga
- It can reduce stress and ward off depression
- It can increase your bone density
- It will reduce blood sugar levels
Keep in mind, however, that hot yoga is not for everyone. For example, it’s not a good idea if you have heart disease or a history of heat-released illnesses. Even if you have no health concerns, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after the session. Stop immediately if you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Hot Yoga Equipment
There are a number of things that you want to bring with you to a hot yoga class. First and foremost, you’ll need the right clothes—ones that are comfortable and won’t restrict your movement. After all, you’ll be doing various poses! Aside from that, you’ll also need a mat and a water bottle. Certain exercises may also require other equipment such as yoga blocks.
Given the heat that’s involved, you’ll also want a towel. It will increase your grip by absorbing your sweat—that way you won’t be sliding around on your mat, something that can lead to injuries. What’s the difference between a regular towel and a yoga towel? The latter is designed to increase grip with sweat.
Once you’re done your workout, you’ll want to change into a new set of clothes. Because let’s face it, who wants to walk around in a sweaty shirt?
Keeping Your Hot Yoga Towel Clean
Let’s face it—your towel’s going to be dirty by the time you’re done with your hot yoga session. It’s meant for wiping sweat, after all. That’s why it’s so important to wash it once you get home. Leave it in your car or in your bag and it will start to smell. That’s due to the odor-causing bacteria on the towel. By the time you remember to take it out, it’ll have a terrible stench!
Fortunately, yoga towels are not that difficult to clean at all. If anything, you just need to remember the steps. Do it a few times and I’m sure you’ll have it memorized!
Popular Yoga Gear Brands
There are many brands that make yoga towels. This isn’t surprising given how popular the practice is! Here are some that you might have heard of:
Manduka has been around for over two decades. Aside from clothing, they also sell towels, bags, straps, and mats, all of which are eco-friendly. For instance, many of them are made from plant-based materials and organic cotton.
PrAna is another brand that specializes in environmentally friendly activewear. For one thing, all of their clothes are made from organic cotton, recycled wool, or recycled polyester. Their catalog also includes bags, totes, towels, mats, straps, and more.
Athleta is another brand that emphases on eco-friendliness and sustainability. Their clothes, for example, are made from organic and recycled fabrics. They also sell an assortment of yoga gear including blankets, mats, water bottles, and more.
Alo sells everything that you need for your yoga class. Besides clothing, they also offer mats, bags, shoes, water bottles, towels, and more.
How to Wash Hot Yoga Towels
Yoga towels are typically made from synthetic materials such as polyester. The reason is simple—they dry faster. Not only that, but they’re lightweight, durable, and absorbent. Depending on what you get, some also come with silicone dots that provide extra grip.
As far as washing goes, you can pretty much treat them like regular activewear (as opposed to cotton towels). If you want, you can even wash them with your yoga clothes! Just make sure you’re not mixing different colors together because yes, the dyes can bleed.
Putting Your Hot Yoga Towels in the Washing Machine
Hot Yoga towels can be put in the washing machine. In fact, that’s probably the easiest way to clean them. First things first, you’ll want to sort them with your other clothes (assuming that you’re washing them together). More specifically, you want to put like colors together. For example, light-colored towels should be washed with light-colored garments.
Once you’ve done that, load them into the washer. There’s generally no need to use laundry bags as they tend to hold up well in the machine. However, it might be a good idea to bag items that might otherwise tangle with your towels (e.g. shirts, pants, etc). Next, measure out a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and add it to the drum (dispenser drawer if you have a front loader). Do not add any fabric softener to the cycle. It will leave a coating that will retain odor. Not to mention that it can also make the towel slick!
Set your washing machine on a gentle setting and press start. Let the cycle run fully before taking out your towel. Don’t let it sit around as it’ll only get smelly (again). Line or air dry your towel on a clothesline or drying rack (they will dry quickly). Avoid putting it in the dryer as the heat can cause the materials to shrink.
Washing Hot Yoga Towels By Hand
Hot yoga towels can also be washed by hand. You just need a sink (or container of some sort), water, and detergent. First things first, fill the sink with warm water (it cleans better than cold water). Pour in a scoop of ACTIVE detergent and mix with your hand until the powder is completely dissolved. You should see soap bubbles.
Place your towel in the sink, gently patting it down so that it’s completely in the water. Wait for 20 to 30 minutes, longer if your towels are excessively stinky. That will give the ACTIVE detergent time to dissolve and break down the sweat and dirt. Once the time is up, rinse it clean with water (feel free to rub the towel with your hands beforehand). Make sure that there is no soap left before transferring the towel to a countertop. Gently squeeze out the extra water and let it air dry. If necessary, you can use another towel to remove the excess moisture.
Remember not to put the yoga towel in the dryer. Trust me, it will get damaged even if you put it on the lowest heat setting.
Deodorizing Your Hot Yoga Towels
Washing the towel with detergent will do the trick most of the time. Sometimes, however, you’ll need to do an extra step to get rid of the odor. Here are a few ideas:
Wash With Hot Water and White Vinegar
Put your yoga towel in the washing machine and add one cup of white vinegar to the load. No need to add any detergent, the vinegar will do the job. Select a hot water cycle and press start. Your towels will be fresh again once you take it out!
Note: Soak extra smelly towels in a vinegar-water solution first before putting it in the washer. Leave it in for at least 20 minutes before proceeding with the washing machine.
Wash With Hot Water and Baking Soda
Baking soda is a fantastic deodorizing agent. Similar to vinegar, you can add it to your load to get rid of any unwanted odors. Measure 1/2 cup and put it in (you can add it with your detergent if you want). Not only will it make your towels smell fresh but they’ll also look brighter and whiter! For the best results, use it with a hot water cycle.
If necessary, you can also soak your towels in baking soda beforehand. Simply create a solution by dissolving it in a container of hot water.
Best Detergent For Hot Yoga Towels
We mentioned this already but hot yoga towels are different from regular towels. More often than not, they’re made from synthetic materials such as polyester (as opposed to cotton). Given that, it only makes sense to use a laundry detergent that’s specifically made for these fabrics.
ACTIVE detergent fits the bill. Unlike regular detergents, its formula contains ingredients that makes it especially effective for manmade fabrics. That is, it contains three kinds of plant-based enzymes that are able to break down sweat, dirt that are trapped within the fibers. This leaves you with clean, fresh-smelling garments. The best part is that you only need a little bit to do the job—so one pack will last you a long time!
Did I also mention that the detergent is hypoallergenic? Because it is! All-natural, it does not contain any harsh chemicals that you’d find in normal detergents. This means that it’ll be gentler on your skin. Not to mention that it won’t have as big of an impact on the environment