Bikram yoga is a series of 26 asanas, or postures, performed in a room heated to about 105 degrees F and containing about 40% humidity. While Bikram yoga is touted as especially therapeutic, the conditions under which this form of yoga is practiced require that some safety precautions be considered before you practice.
Consult Your Doctor
Before you ever step foot into a Bikram yoga class, consult your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough for such strenuous exercise. This is especially important if you are pregnant, if you suffer from any chronic medical condition, have any history of heat stroke or heat related disorders, or are taking any kind of medication. Some types of medications may change the way your body responds to heat.
Because Bikram yoga is performed in sauna-like conditions, you’ll sweat a lot. Drink water before, during and after class. If you don’t drink enough water, you’ll place unnecessary strain on your liver and kidneys, and you could succumb to severe dehydration.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Pay close attention to your body’s signals during the Bikram yoga class. It will take a few classes before your body becomes acclimated to the exercise and the heat. If you begin to feel faint, breathless or simply too tired, lie down and rest for a few minutes. If the heat is just too much for you, don’t be ashamed to leave the class altogether.
Work with the Teacher
Follow your teacher’s instructions carefully. If you have questions or have trouble performing a pose, ask for help. If you are currently injured or ill, or if you’ve suffered injuries in the past that still trouble you from time to time, tell your teacher before class begins.