A hot, soothing shower after yoga class can be the perfect reset to continue your day. But a relaxing soak before your session can eliminate the extra steps necessary to go from your mat into bed. While everyone has their own showering preferences, is there a correct order to shower?
Should you shower before or after your yoga class? It depends on a few things, including the intensity of the session and your preferences, so continue reading to learn more!
Showering Before vs. After Yoga
The intensity of your yoga class can help determine whether you should shower before yoga. If your class will raise your heart rate, inspire a killer muscle burn, and leave you dripping in sweat, showering after is for the best. But if you’re participating in a low-intensity class, the choice is yours.
Low-Intensity Yoga Classes
If you’re participating in a low-intensity yoga class, there’s a good chance you won’t become overly sweaty. In some classes, you might not even break a sweat.
For example, Yin, restorative, and Kundalini yoga classes are slower-paced and offer a more relaxing approach to the practice. Yin yoga prioritizes deep stretching with a peaceful ambiance, calming the body and mind. Restorative yoga also calms the mind and chips away at the tension in your muscles, but it might move a bit quicker than Yin yoga.
Lastly, Kundalini yoga turns the focus to physical and spiritual balance, incorporating various breathing exercises and meditation. While some poses are challenging, they’re balanced with breathwork and meditation, which offer a break.
Given the nature of these yoga classes, you may leave the session feeling tension-free, relaxed, and drowsy. Since you’re unlikely to break a sweat, showering before the class is perfectly okay. Plus, you can use these classes as a wind down for bed, so you can hop right into bed straight from the mat (with a quick stop for PJs).
Of course, you can shower after class if you prefer to do so. Some folks like showering after their workouts, regardless of the difficulty or sweat factor, so if you prefer to shower after your yoga class, go for it.
Intense Yoga Classes
Fast-paced, sweat-inducing yoga classes, like Bikram, Ashtanga, or Vinyasa yoga, are usually best followed by a refreshing shower. Bikram yoga, or any hot yoga class, incorporates high studio temperatures, sweltering humidity, and grueling poses, which results in excessive sweat and an impressive muscle burn.
Ashtanga yoga challenges participants with a fast-paced, athletic-styled approach, initiating a killer muscle burn and quick sequences that inspire an absolute sweat-fest. Vinyasa yoga offers another fast take on yoga, keeping the muscles burning and sweat falling through quick, fluid flows.
If you participate in a more intense yoga class, it’s usually better to shower after class. While you could shower before class, you’ll probably leave the session sweaty, hot, and a bit grimy from maintaining quick-paced sequences. So, a refreshing shower to rinse away the sweat and grime after class is the perfect finish.
While we recommend showering after intense classes and before or after low-intensity classes, the decision is ultimately yours. Some folks have precise showering schedules they prefer to follow, like showering after their workout, no matter how intense it is. Others might choose to start the day with a shower and get to their training later in the day.
So, if you prefer to shower at a particular time or before/after your workout, go for it!
How Long Should You Wait To Shower After Yoga?
While you might be tempted to steer yourself directly towards the shower after an intense yoga session, it’s best to give your body time to cool down. If you wound down with a low-intensity yoga session, like restorative yoga, this isn’t as important. However, if you just finished a hot yoga class or another high-intensity session, give yourself a bit to cool down.
Ideally, you should wait 20 to 30 minutes before hopping into the shower or bath. This will give your body time to cool down, bringing your heart rate down to a normal level and regulating the body temperature. In addition to returning to a resting state, this cool-down period allows your body to reabsorb some of the minerals it lost.
You can slow your heart rate by taking a slow walk or sitting quietly on your couch. You don’t necessarily have to sit still – you can continue about your day, making lunch, working, or reading. The key is to switch to a less vigorous activity that will let your heart rate and body temperature return to normal.
However, you shouldn’t wait too long if you just completed a sweaty workout. It’s important to rinse away the sweat and bacteria left on your skin and clothing, so don’t wait hours after your workout to exercise. If you plan on showering later in the day, as in several hours later, change into fresh clothes instead of remaining in your sweaty workout gear.
Lounging in your sweaty clothing after your workout raises the risk of infections and acne associated with the buildup of sweat and bacteria. Be sure to shower or change within 30 to 40 minutes of completing your workout.
Should I Take A Hot Or Cold Shower Before/After Yoga?
If you prefer showering before your yoga sessions, many recommend taking a cold shower. The cold water will help wake you up, stimulate the glands, and prepare your body for the class.
After class, you can take a hot, warm, or cool shower – it’s up to you. Some folks swear by cold showers after class as a refreshing cool-down method, while others prefer a hot shower. Some say cool showers after a sweaty yoga session halt the detoxification process by constricting the lymph vessels, while taking a hot shower after practice drains energy.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you prefer a chilly, refreshing shower, go for it! If you prefer the soothing warmth of a hot shower, take a hot shower! Regardless of your preferred shower temperature, ensure you wait at least 20 to 30 minutes to cool down (after an intense yoga session).