Bikram yoga is unlike any other form of yoga. Known also as “hot yoga,” Bikram yoga takes place in a room heated to 104 degrees. The class runs for ninety minutes, covering a total of twenty-six different yoga poses. Before you sign up for your first class, you need to be properly prepared.
In general, it is suggested that you not eat for at least three to four hours before the class. If you’re full, the heat coupled with strenuous exercise is a combination sure to make you sick to your stomach. Give your food just enough time to digest, while still having the energy to power through the hour-and-a-half long class. It would also be advisable to eat a light meal prior to class. Try a light, yet filling salad to satisfy your hunger.
Drink, Drink, Drink!
It goes without saying that working out in a 104-degree room can leave you just a little dehydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water the day before, and the day of class. Holding those poses in the heat will have you sweating more than you likely ever have, so don’t risk it. It is recommended that you drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
Also, be sure to bring two or more bottles of water with you to class. This may seem excessive, but you’ll be glad you had the foresight to do this about half an hour in.
The Right Attire
Certain materials are better for exercises in which you can expect to sweat more. The types of workout clothing typically made for other forms of yoga is usually not suitable for Bikram yoga. Choose light, breathable, dry-weave fabrics. Also, make sure you choose non-restricting clothes. Try to steer clear of cotton, as this fiber tends to absorb moisture and can become heavy, restricting your movement, preventing you from judging your form, and is all around uncomfortable. Stick to shorts and a sport or tank top to keep cool and comfortable.
Choosing the Proper Mat
There are many different kinds of yoga mats. For Bikram yoga, it is best to go with a mat that will not become slippery when it gets wet. Mats are essential, as attempting to practice any type of yoga without a mat would be very uncomfortable, and executing poses properly would prove much more challenging. Also, don’t go for the thickest mat you find, as a mat that has too much cushion can compromise your ability to balance yourself.
How Often Should You Go?
Depending on what your goal is for becoming a Bikram yoga student, you should start with two to three classes initially. As your endurance and flexibility grows, you can go as often as you’d like. For weight loss, about three classes a week, or ten classes a month is recommended.
Bikram yoga is gaining popularity quickly, with studios popping up all over the country. If you wish to begin regular classes, know what you should expect, and be prepared well before your first session. With the right knowledge, you’ll be nailing your Ustrasana in no time!