Have you tried Bikram yoga yet? If not, what’s stopping you?
Bikram yoga is a type of hot yoga consisting of 26 postures (organized by Bikram Chadhoury) and you exercise in a room that is heated to 105˚ F. Each class you attend is a repetition of what you did before, but the challenge is to be better each time you practice. I’ve now taken Bikram classes in three different states and it is extremely interesting to see just how similar the classes are regardless of who teaches and in what facility. Instructors use the same phrases to motivate you, same pace and tone for the directions, and they always take the full 90 minutes.
If you haven’t taken Bikram before, here are a few tips to help your first session go well:
1. STAY IN THE ROOM! Yes, it’s hot, and on your first try you will most likely be tempted to leave and go into the A/C. Bad idea, bud. I have seen instructors actually hunt people down that leave the room! Staying in the heated room for the entire length of class is key to helping build your stamina and getting more used to Bikram.
2. Do what feels right for your body on that day. I’ve had days where I was as flexible as Gumby and days where I could hardly twist and look over my shoulder (which you do in pose #25). Just take it one day at a time and don’t beat yourself up about the rough sessions. It happens to everyone.
3. Do not compare yourself to other class participants. The thing I love about yoga is that it’s all about you. There is not another person to compete against, so there’s no use in comparing yourself to other participants, for better or worse. Everyone’s skill levels are different based on how long they’ve been practicing, whether or not they have injuries, or other physical conditions. So don’t look at the other people (you’ll lose your balance anyway if you do). Just focus on yourself in the mirror and make yourself be better.
4. Listen to the instructors. They want you to have proper posture and alignment in the poses for a reason — to help build your strength, flexibility, and endurance. Listening to their tips and constant reminders to “Lock your knees!” really will make a difference in how effective your class is.
So if you are looking to try something new, help loosen up muscles from other exercise, or just need a good sweat, Bikram is a great exercise to pursue. Before you know it, you’ll come to enjoy standing-head-to-knee and tree poses!
– Meghan : )