Bikram yoga or “hot yoga” is one of the newest fads in yoga. It was created by Bikram Choudhury who wanted to create a yoga environment similar to his hometown in northern India. Bikram yoga is done in a room heated to 105 degrees with 40 percent humidity. It is supposed to help the body to stretch more fully because of the heat. It is also said to help detoxify, relieve stress, tone muscles, and heal chronic pain.
What to Expect
When going to a Bikram yoga class, there are things to expect that may be different from your everyday yoga class besides the heat. For one, the instructor is not going to be demonstrating the moves for the class, they will instead give directions as a dialogue to help the yoga student be more in the moment. Also, expect to smell sweat. All Bikram studios have carpet to ease the strain on joints. Most studios have antibacterial carpet these days, but that won’t completely take away the sweaty smell. Here are some other points to know when venturing to hot yoga.
It’s Going To Be Hot
Seriously, it will be like a sauna in there. This is a 105 degree room where you will stay for 90 minutes. You will get uncomfortable. Insteading of running out of the room and guzzling water, focus on your breathing. Even if you begin to feel dizzy, you can overcome it by breathing through your nose and closing your mouth.
Coming into the class hydrated will help you require less water during the class. You want to drink up to two liters of water during the day, but don’t try to chug it outside the studio if you don’t. It will make you feel nauseous during the class. If you do come into class dehydrated, listen to your body and take it easy if needed.
You want to avoid eating two hours before the class. If you have a full stomach you may not be able to expand your muscles fully during the class. You don’t want to be hungry either though. Have a half a banana or a cup of applesauce before to fuel your body and give you an energy boost without overloading the stomach.
Be on Time
Make sure you are there at least 30 minutes early. This will give you the time you need to sign up, get in your workout attire, situate your mat, and get used to the heat. If it’s your first time introduce yourself to the teacher and let her or him know if you have any injuries to be mindful of.
Wear Something Light
As stated before, you are going to sweat. Make sure your clothes are light and breathable so the heat is a little more bearable. Shorts and a sports bra or more than enough. Even if you don’t feel you have the perfect body, there are no judgments in a Bikram studio.
Don’t Overdo It
You know your body best. Certain poses and postures will be uncomfortable, but if it’s downright painful, slow down a bit. Let up on the stretch and let your body ease into it. As your body becomes acclimated to the stretch you will be able to go farther.
Let it Drip
Leave the towel at home. Let the sweat drip. It’s part of the process. Your body is sweating to maintain body temperature, wiping it away disrupts your body’s natural management system.
Be Open Minded
Have a good attitude and keep the energy in the studio positive. Everyone is feeding off one another is it’s important to have good energy. Come in ready to learn and grow, and be prepared for whatever the class may bring.
Even if the first class wasn’t all you hoped, come back for a second. The second time it will always be better. You will know what to expect and it will be a more fun experience.