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5 things you absolutely need to know before attending an epic yoga event

What do you need to know besides turning off your cell phone ringer and bringing some bottled water? We’ll dish. (Photo: Melissa Bier for Well+Good)

Epic yoga events that draw concert-size crowds have become de rigeur.

Come summer (AKA outdoor yoga season), yogis around the world turn out in the hundreds or thousands for the opportunity to let down their topknots and practice yoga without walls.

Factor in the bucket-list-worthy settings—from Times Square and Squaw Valley to Brooklyn (not kidding)—and the rockstar yoga teachers presiding, and you have a yoga experience that feels way more amplified than your regular class.

To get the maximum inspiration (with minimum “what’s-going-on?” irritation), we bring you some mat-on-the-ground rules and tips that we’ve learned first-hand at mega yoga events. So you and the hundreds of yogis around you can om together and really mean it.

Before you tote your mat to an epic yoga event, here are five things you absolutely need to know:

1. Practice your yoga before the class starts
Unlike at your regular yoga studio, where it takes five minutes to get everyone settled, at a mega yoga event outside you’ll be among hundreds or thousands. It. Takes. Longer. So you might need to practice your pranayama (deep breathing) while everyone meanders in and snags a spot—and then tries to move their mat next to a friend, or closer to the celebrity yogi who’s teaching, or practices their mind-blowing acro yogi skills right in front of you. Think of this as one of those moments your yoga practice has been training you for.

(Photo: Athleta)

2. Travel light and consider the impact of your…footwear
Alas, the great outdoors does not provide lockers. But if you do have a bag or stuff with you, put it at the top of your mat where you can see your things—and where other people can’t smell them. We’re talking about your shoes. This way they’re inches from your nose, not your neighbor’s behind you. Consider it an act of serious summer kindness.

3. Dress smartly to sweat (Partner listing)
Our three tips on your outdoor yoga look: think light layers, wicking or breezy fabrics, and pockets. Try the wicking and strap-happy Athleta Inner Peace Bra (pictured, $44) under a long-sleeve billowy layer like the the Athleta Luminous Anorak (pictured, $128), or the adorable Athleta Find Your Center Tank ($44) that’s great for layering. Cute lightweight bottoms are a must—the Athleta Cosmic Chaturanga Capri ($59) are sleek and stretchy, perfect for your hottest workouts, and Athleta Cosmic Chaturanga Shortie (pictured, $39) have an internal pocket for your keys and a $20. Shop them now!

4. Avoid frying your skin
Burning the heck out of your skin in the name of health and fitness makes no sense. Find a shady spot if you can. And without fail, apply sunscreen before class. But not too early. Sun protection is only good for two hours—or less if you’re super fair or super sweaty. Remember to slather sunscreen on the back of your neck, arms, and legs, which are going to get the brunt of sun exposure. Prevent turning your yoga mat into a slide of zinc oxide—wipe your hands off really well or use a sunscreen stick, since it keeps your hands clean.

5. Expect yoga paparazzi
Onlookers snapping photos of people doing yoga in beautiful, unexpected, and inspiring spaces has become incredibly common. These photographers come in the form of your average Instagrammer to major TV networks with big cameras to tons of tourists (especially if you’re in Times Square). This is not the time to be shy or to stop your sun salutations to reapply your lip gloss. We hereby deem your pose perfect. Similarly, during the yoga class is probably not the best time for you to whip out your cell-phone camera either. Though we’re the first to admit it’s pretty hard to resist. #outdooryogarules —Melisse Gelula

Got any tips and tricks for attending a mega yoga event? Tell us in the Comments, below!