I took my first Bikram yoga class last week. Having danced and practiced many other forms of yoga for years, I’ve always wondered who are those crazy people doing yoga in a room that is heated to 105°F? Until last week I could not see any advantages to being in a hot and humid room mat to mat with other sweating yogis.
Inspired by my friend who embarked on a 100-day Bikram challenge, I put my perception to the test and joined her for her 100th class.
To prepare, I ate lightly, stopped eating two hours before class, hydrated with plenty of water and electrolytes throughout the day and arrived 20 minutes early to get acclimated to the heat. My brow started to bead with sweat as soon as I put down my mat and towel. The teacher gave me a warm welcome, checked in about any health issues and advised me to focus on my breath, drink water during the breaks and stay with it.
So I did.
During the 90-minute class I gained a new kind of respect Bikram practitioners. Bikram taught me mindfulness and resilience. Being mindful helped me check in with how my body was dealing with the heat and postures. I made sure to keep my eyes open during the entire practice, including the resting poses. I focused on a point in the room during each posture and moved slowly in and out of them. I left the class with a yoga high unlike any I’d experienced before. And, to my surprise, no aches no pains.
Now five classes later, I have more mobility in my joints, my hands and feet are warm, my skin looks more vibrant, and my metabolism and digestion seem to have improved. I’m hooked!
Go To It!
If you want to try a Bikram yoga class, here are some tips:
- Address any health or physical issues with the teacher.
- Drink twice the amount of liquids that you drink on a normal day. Drink around 16 ounces in the two hours before the session.
- Refrain from drinking caffeine.
- East light and avoid any greasy or heavy foods. Try not to eat at least 1 hour prior to class.
- Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to class to reduce any stress.
- Place a towel on your mat and keep another one close by to dry your face and hands.
- Drink at least 1 liter of water or coconut water during breaks.
- If you need to take a break, take it and focus on your breathing.
- Keep your eyes open during the whole class. Focus on yourself in the mirror.
- Move slowly into and out of each posture. Should you feel dizzy, get cramps or experience nausea contact the teacher right away.