What is Bikram Yoga?

What is Bikram Yoga? 

Bikram Yoga, named after Bikram Choudhury, is a sequence of 26 Hatha postures performed over 90 minutes in a 40-degree room with 40% humidity. This may sound intimidating, and although challenging, Bikram welcomes all levels to its classes. Each pose is optimal and prepares you for the next pose. 


Why we love it?

Well both of us run. All runners have injuries. The heat in Bikram allows a much deeper stretch of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments making this practice ideal to prevent injuries and cure many ailments. 

Additionally Bikram:

  • Better Breathing- The two Asana in yoga and deep breathing throughout the 90 minute practice have helped me have a deeper better control of my breathing during running. 
  • Detoxifies- Your pores are completely open and through perspiration letting out toxins. ( Taking advantage of that, I love to use a gentle scrub post class shower and then moisturize heavily so my open pores can soak it all in).
  • Spine Flexibility and Strengthener- I am convinced that there is no bigger spine and back strengthener than Bikram. I have to say that since I restarted with our 7-Day Bikram Challenge, I haven’t felt any pain in my lower back. The tingling I had in my left hip is now completely gone.
  • Improved Posture- A lot of the work in Bikram is alignment and strengthening our back naturally giving us Better posture.
  • Stronger Immune System and Better Metabolism- While physically we are stretching and bending, our internal organs are also working. 

And with all Yoga and workouts done regularly, we become more disciplined, better focused, relieve stress and gain a clear mind.

**now while we may sing its praises, we are not doctors. If you are not sure if Bikram is right for you, consult your healthcare profession **

Beginner Tips:

No Heavy Meals 3 Hours before class.  Eating too much or too close to class will interrupt your ability to fully engage your body in the poses. It might also make you nauseous. I once made the mistake of having thai before class, and felt everything I ate during. You are what you eat. When I first started Bikram, I started preparing my body a few days before with wholesome foods. I usually go in the mornings so I always have something like porridge. But I am very active so 3 hours later and going to a 90-minute class always makes me feel famished. It always helps me have to a banana with peanut butter an hour before class. If you feel like you might be hungry/drained before or mid-class, I recommend doing the same and having yourself a light snack.

Hydrate and Refuel – WATER WATER AND MORE WATER. We could not emphasize this enough. I would say the biggest prep in Bikram is keeping yourself properly hydrated.  Because there is so much water loss via sweat during Bikram, we have to compensate for that loss by hydrating before and after. Most health professionals say we should be drinking around 2.5 liters of water daily. When you start your practice, go ahead, be a little greedy, drink yourself a little (a lot) more than that. 

  • Don't just chug a bunch of water right before class. You don't want to have a full stomach as that will prevent you from executing the poses (specially the ones laying down). While we should always keep hydrated, many of fall short on this area. The hydration should be done throughout your day, not right before class. 
  • Right after class have yourself coconut water or water with a little bit of sea salt to gain back those electrolytes. A good Bikram Studio should have water fountains for its students and/or warm tea (yes a little warm tea post class is good for you).
  •  Bring a reusable water bottle to class. Take small sips during class if needed (most of us do). 

My first few classes i thought I was seconds from passing out or throwing up after every move. Many people report being nauseous and specially being lightheaded or dizzy during class.  The heat might be overwhelming BUT its most likely because you are dehydrated. Drinking enough water and being properly hydrated will help ease you into the practice. Your body will more easily welcome and tolerate the heat as you perspire.

Don't Wipe the Sweat. Ive done many workouts and in general I don't really sweat. But Bikram is NEXT level sweat. I've seen people fill two towels and have puddles around their mat. If you're like me, this may be shock value to see yourself sweat profusely. As tempting as it may be, don't wipe the sweat. The perspiration helps keep your body cool

The only way I can describe what its like to dry yourself off everytime you feel too sweaty is like this; Wiping of the sweat is like having done your warm up,  going out into the cold to cool off and then starting all over again. Your body has to start all over again and using even more energy to do so. If you can't beat em join em, just be one with your sweat during your practice (you'll enjoy that shower 2x more).

  •  Now we aren't magicians, at least I'm not, some moves are just impossible for me to even begin because my hands and feet becoming sliding boards. Its not a surf lesson, So, if you need to wipe my hands and feet go for it. 

What to wear? Less is more. You don't go to the beach in winter coat, don't go to bikram in sweats. Its hot before it'll be hot during. Sports/Yoga Bra and shorts and for men just shorts will do great. Some who are brave enough practice in speedos. No judgement needed. Trust me when you're in there you'll wish it was nude yoga haha. 

Listen to your body. Give yourself time to like Bikram.  After my first class I thought I'd never go back. Immediately after her first class, Lucie said Nope nope nope. Its overwhelming. Its natural. The first, second or even first week might be a nightmare. But you will feel improvements in your body very fast. After my first 30 day Bikram Challenge, I had the best skin ever, and the most flexibility and toned body. The following day, Lucie decided to give herself a chance to like it.

Yoga is a judgement free zone. We all start somewhere. The fact that you showed up to class makes you more awesome and braver than most. Be patient with yourself. You might not be able to do any moves all the way but with every class you'll see that back bend a little deeper, foot stretches out a little further and knees locked just a little longer.You won't get every move perfect every time. But each class is just an opportunity to focus. Even your mind and being at ease is a practice in itself. Give yourself time. Its called a practice for a reason. Even the most advanced people will always be working on something. 


Happy Practicing! 

xo Annya