What type of Yoga is right for you? Part 3 Breakdown of Bikram Yoga – By Vanessa Ragains

Last week we discovered Vinyasa Yoga and how it differs from Hatha. The grooviest thing about Yoga is that ANYONE can do it, and you can easily progress your practice as you build strength, endurance, and appreciation for the wonders of practicing Yoga consistently! This week we will dive right into a practice that I personally enjoy for my personal Yoga journey, Bikram!

Breakdown of Bikram

It’s Hot, Sweaty, and Oh-so-AWE-Mazing to attend a Bikram Yoga class! I hesitated with the idea of practicing in this environment because I was nervous about the heated room, my bodies reaction, and, well, what if I throw-up?

All reasons to NOT try a new type of practice, right?

Little did I know that Bikram Yoga was actually just what I needed to focus on (GASP!) myself! How can heat, sweat, and the meditation of sorts help me? I will share my personal experience with you later. FIRST, we must break this sucker down!

You must prepare your body for Bikram!

Because of the insane amount of perspiration, one must hydrate the body so that the tissues of our body can benefit from this intense practice. Eating lightly about 3-4 hours prior to class is best. The minute you step into the heated room your body begins to heat up!

How I prep: I typically plan out my Bikram classes when I know I can prepare for them. I will consume plenty of water, and sometimes Tea. My meal prior consists of Grilled Chicken salad, so I am fueled but my belly is not heavy during class.

2) Wear proper attire!

When practicing in this heated room, you will want to wear very light clothing. Women usually wear anything from capri pants to shorts with either a sports bra and/or light tank.  Men typically wear shorts and.or a light tank. This is all based on your comfort level. Just know that once class begins every layer you are wearing will be literally drenched when you walk out of the studio.

What I wear: I have experimented with different attire based on my comfort level. I wear capris or shorts to class, with a comfy sports bra and tank top. If you have the time, you can also change your clothes after class and if your studio is AMAZING they may even have showers available for you to use.

3) Come prepared to Bikram Class

With each class, you will need your Yoga mat and a Yoga towel. You can use a regular shower towel, but I would recommend investing in a Yoga towel as they are made just for this type of practice. You will see within the first couple moments how necessary it is to have a towel placed over your Yoga mat. This towel supports you in each pose, absorbs your sweat, and you won’t slip out of a Trikanasana or Triangle pose! Lastly, the combination of the 100-degree environment and intense sweating forces each student to focus on themselves. I really appreciate this about Bikram because, as a Yoga instructor, I hear many students feeling self-conscious with beginning a Yoga practice because they feel like they are surrounded by “Yogis”. Bikram yoga is a way to meditate (focus) on your body as it builds strength and increases in flexibility.

Now that we are prepared for this awesome class, let’s discuss how the practice comes to life. Every Bikram class is taught in the exact same sequence every time. There are a total of 26 postures which take 90 minutes to complete. Beginning with warming up the lungs, throat, and neck muscles each class starts with Pranayama. (standing breathing pose) I promise you will already begin sweating during this! Take a look at the 26 postures below. Don’t be discouraged by their names, they are quite tricky to pronounce.

26 Postures of Bikram Yoga

Picture used from http://www.ViewsFromThePodium.com

 I just love how San Mateo Bikram explains the benefits of each pose HERE!

My Experience:

As I stated earlier, I was quite hesitant on starting a Bikram practice. As I moved through the poses with the instructor I was able to see my imbalances, but I was surprised to see that my body was able to hold some of the more challenging poses. Even if it was a brief moment, I still celebrated (in my mind) that I was able to practice Bikram. I was surprised, but not grossed out by the amount of sweat from my body. I decided to view the perspiration as a way of cleansing my body and mind. Letting that part go and embracing the new and refreshed Vanessa!

I hope that you have found this post useful and encouraging if you were “on-the-fence” about attending a Bikram class. I promise you won’t regret the experience! Most important thing is to prepare your body by hydrating and eating a healthy yet light meal prior to class.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog. My hope is this will guide you on your way to bringing a personal yoga practice into your routine.

I LOVE YOUR QUESTIONS!! Please feel free to ask me a question or comment about what you read today. Looking forward to hearing from radical Folks like yourself!

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