Bikram Yoga 101
Since a warm body is a flexible body, Bikram yoga is practiced in a room heated to about 105° F (~40.6° C) with 40% humidity. This challenging yoga comprises 26 Hatha yoga postures and two pranayama breathing techniques. The sequences work synergistically to improve health and wellbeing. Popularised in the early 1970s, Bikram yoga is named after its founder, Bikram Choudhury, who created this system of hot yoga synthesised from traditional hatha yoga techniques. Bikram is known for its healing benefits and for its ability to train and calm the mind. The practice was developed to target every cell of the body, creating a revitalised, strong, lean, balanced and healthier body. The purpose of the heated room is to help deepen stretching and prevent injury, while also reducing stress and tension. Bikram yoga claims that this form of yoga has the potential to restore health to all parts of the body, inside and out, targeting muscles, joints and internal organs, from the lungs and digestive system to the lymphatic and immune systems.
Know Before You Go
Every class is the same: 90 minutes long; 26 beginning classic Hatha postures; and two breathing exercises, all in a 105° F room. While in class, everyone is asked to stay in the room, no matter how you are feeling. If you tire, or feel dizzy or nauseous, instructors encourage you to sit down until you feel grounded. Not only is this for safety reasons, it also helps to develop concentration, determination, and discipline. Staying hydrated throughout the day, before and after practice, is important. It is advised to refrain from eating a meal at least two to three hours before class. Wear light and tight clothing as you will be sweating (men don shorts). First-timers: It is recommended to arrive 10-20 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Bikram’s sequence of postures and breathing exercises is accessible to anyone, regardless of fitness level, flexibility or yogic experience. In fact, it’s said that those who have injuries, haven't been working out or have other medical problems are the first to see the benefits.