Bikram yoga is popular, and for a good reason. This intense and sweaty class will leave you feeling tired and sore, but also feeling cleansed and like you got a great workout in. It’s incredibly beneficial for improving strength and flexibility and it allows you to detox in a healthy way by sweating out toxins. Bikram is a great yoga class to try if you’ve never been before, but there are a few things you should know before your first time.
What to Know Before You Go
Bikram yoga is a 90-minute class in a room set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity. Every Bikram yoga teacher follows the exact same series of 26 poses and 2 breathing exercises so every class is the same. Expect the room to be very hot and be prepared to sweat buckets, but you’ll also have a great time! There’s no need to feel intimidated, just come prepared for a tough and rewarding workout.
What to Expect After
You can expect to feel either very tired or have tons of energy after a Bikram class. Either way, it’s a good sign. You should also expect to feel sore for a few days after, but don’t allow yourself to quit after just one class. If you keep going, you’ll see huge improvements from class to class and start to enjoy the challenging workout.
Tips for a Successful Bikram Yoga Class
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! – You know you’ll be doing a lot of sweating during Bikram yoga so it’s essential that you replenish your body with water. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after, and bring a full bottle of water into class with you. It’s mandatory to have water by your side in a Bikram class and the teacher will give designated drink breaks to make sure you stay hydrated.
- Less is More – In a sweltering room filled with other sweaty bodies, less really is more. Don’t wear anything warm, long-sleeved, or not easily washable. It’s safe to go in as a little as a sports bra and short spandex shorts if you feel comfortable with it. You won’t look out a place in a Bikram classroom if you are wearing little clothing to allow your body to breathe through the sweaty and intense workout.
- Yoga Towel – Bring a yoga towel rather than a yoga mat with you to a Bikram class. A towel won’t get slippery when wet and it’s easy to wash afterwards. You should also bring a small hand towel with you for wiping off sweat during and after class.
- Bring a Toiletry Bag – You’re going to want a shower after Bikram class! If there is a shower facility in the studio come prepared with a small toiletry bag for taking a shower. You won’t regret it.
- Remember to Breathe – Deep breathing is extremely important during Bikram yoga. It’s a very physically taxing form of yoga practice, so let your breath guide you through the intense workout. Remember to breathe deeply, and take short breaks if you find yourself short of breath.
- Listen to Your Body – It’s essential that you listen to your body during Bikram yoga, especially if it’s your first class. Be prepared to work hard but don’t push yourself beyond your limits or you’ll risk injuring yourself. If you’re new to Bikram, you won’t be used to working out in this kind of heat and it can leave you feeling dizzy or nauseous. It’s a normal feeling, but allow yourself to take a break for your own safety if you start to feel this way. You also might want to let the instructor know that it’s your first class so that they know to keep an eye on you and help guide you through the poses.
Lastly, be kind to yourself! Bikram yoga isn’t an easy yoga practice so know your limits and have fun.