I've never done yoga before / I'm new to Bikram Yoga. Is there a class for beginners?
We teach the Bikram series of 26 postures, performed in the same sequence each time, equally suitable for beginners to advanced practitioners. Our yoga classes will have students of all levels of experience, including beginners. Your balance, strength, and flexibility will come with practice.
I can barely touch my toes (aka, I’m not flexible). Will I be able to do all of the postures?
Flexibility as a prerequisite is an incredibly common misconception about yoga, one that prevents many people from ever starting. The less flexible you are, the more you need yoga. The more you do yoga, the more flexible you will become, physically, mentally and emotionally!
Why the heated room?
Heat is used in Bikram yoga in order to allow you to safely deepen into the yoga postures, reducing risk of injury and accelerating the benefits. The heat also promotes detoxification through perspiration. You will also find that practicing yoga in the heated room creates a satisfying feeling of achievement.
Why do we need to sweat?
Enjoy the sweat! It is doing you so much good on so many different levels. Regular profuse sweating generated by heat flushes toxins from the body, promotes relaxation and well-being, accelerates cardiovascular action and facilitates calorie burning. Although the yoga room is heated, the humidity levels tend to increase sweat production. Class size can also influence perspiration.
What should I wear to class?
Women should wear shorts and a sports bra/tank top, or thin cotton leggings and a leotard. Men should wear biking shorts or bathing trunks. Since the room is heated, you want to wear something that you feel comfortable sweating in. Less clothing is most comfortable. Anything with a little spandex in it can help to allow for a full range of movement. Avoid sweats or loose/oversized T-shirts.
How should I prepare for class?
Choose a class time that works for you and arrive about 10 minutes before the class starts (at least 20 minutes if it’s your first time at the studio). We have men's and women's dressing rooms and showers complete with hair dryers, hanging rods and cubbies, sans lockers. It’s best if you avoid eating (or eat very lightly) for at least 2 hours prior to class. Bring a yoga mat and a large beach towel, or you can rent from us. And most important, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to get your body fully hydrated (64-96 ounces over your normal intake).
Is Bikram Yoga hard?
Yoga can be challenging, both mentally and physically. Yoga is supposed to be a bit “difficult”. However, you will start slowly and go at your own pace, advancing only when ready. You are fully in charge of taking care of yourself and knowing your limits. As you gain experience, you will find that you will want to challenge yourself, striving to achieve your own level of excellence for each posture. Careful listening to the teacher's dialogue (precise instructions), patience, determination, trust, and discipline are also all necessary. As these are required of you, they will also develop within you outside of the classroom.
Does it hurt?
Primary emphasis during instruction is on the correctness and safe execution of the postures. As you practice you will begin to appreciate and understand how your body responds to stretching and discover your own limits. You will experience the sensation of your muscles stretching but this should not be associated with pain. For some students the sensation of stretching takes a little getting used to but is not unpleasant.
I'm self-conscious about my body image. Am I likely to feel uncomfortable doing yoga postures in a classroom setting among other students?
Although Bikram yoga is practiced in a classroom, you will be in a state of intense concentration as you focus on doing the postures correctly and listen to the instructor’s directions and the same is true for everyone else in the room. Additionally, new students place their mats at the very rear of the large yoga room. Everyone faces forward, allowing new students to observe the experienced students in front of them. One of the many benefits of this yoga is the opportunity to come into greater body awareness and deeper acceptance of self and ultimately move through body image self-consciousness.
What if I can't complete the class or need to take breaks?
Not a problem. You’ll be instructed on how to relax on your towel in a quiet and still manner so as not to disturb the other students’ practice. Keep in mind that your body will gradually acclimate over a number of classes. The first class is always an experience - just take it as it comes and see where it leads.
Doesn’t yoga involve chanting and meditation?
Chanting and meditation are often part of the Yogic Lifestyle but they are taught as in a Bikram Hot Yoga Class. For some students, the balance between flexibility, strength and concentration required in Bikram yoga can eventually become something of a meditative experience once a student has developed their practice. Should a student be interested in chanting or meditation practices, the aforementioned qualities developed in a Bikram practice will only serve to support and enhance the experience.
I feel nauseous, dizzy during class. Is this normal?
It is not unusual to feel nauseous or dizzy during your first few classes and sometimes your fiftieth (if you do not practice proper hydration). Practicing yoga in a heated room reveals to us our present condition and inspires us take much better care of ourselves. Usually the problem is that we do not drink enough water for daily living, let alone for exercising in a heated room. Nutritionists tell us that we need 64 ounces of water a day to help the body function properly. In the heated yoga room, your body needs an adequate fund of water to allow perspiration to release heat from the body as you practice. So we estimate you need another 64-96 ounces (drunk throughout the day) to allow for your 90 minutes in the room. Once you are drinking enough water your body will tolerate the heat better and you will actually enjoy the heat.
How will I feel after the class?
You can generally expect to feel warm, loose and invigorated. As you acclimate, after just a few classes, you will start to feel more energized. Sometimes people report feeling tired after their first class.
How often should I take a class?
To derive maximum benefit and enjoy prolonged health the Bikram series should be practiced on a regular basis. Bikram often tells his new students, “Come everyday for the next 2 months and I will give you a new body, a new life.” Unlike other forms of exercise where you should take a day off between workouts, Yoga can be practiced daily. For good results, we encourage a regular practice of 3 times per week. For life-changing results, students should strive for 4 or more times per week. However, if coming only one or two days a week is all you can manage, you will still receive all the wonderful benefits, only you won’t see the results as quickly. You will, however, feel the benefits after every class, no matter how often you practice. You'll find you want to do this practice. It's fun. It works. You'll start organizing your schedule to fit it in. Remember that this yoga is powerful and challenging.
What if I feel sore after yoga?
Muscle soreness is a build up of lactic acid. It may be difficult to believe that coming back for more will help, but it is the best way to relieve the soreness. If you wait too long to come back you will be starting all over again.
Is Bikram Hot Yoga a cardiovascular workout?
Bikram yoga is a cardiovascular practice in that it consists of supporting your own weight in a combination of postures held while breathing and dynamically flowing into new postures. This process elevates your heart rate and builds strength and focus. Whatever your level of fitness, you will find Bikram yoga to be a wonderful challenge.
Will hot yoga help improve my sports performance?
Although yoga goes well beyond athletics, it is a great cross training tool for virtually all sports, a total fitness package encompassing many different exercises, both aerobic and non-aerobic. Through its controlled and precise breathing; and through its strengthening, stretching, and endurance building exercises, your entire body is toned, circulation is stimulated and the mind relaxes. A principal impediment to maintaining a disciplined exercise program is that the older we become, the more difficult is to maintain a regular workout. The body resists and there is never enough time. It always seems like the more we need to exercise, the harder it is. Yet in order for exercise to be effective, consistency over time is required. When time is limited, we usually focus on one or two activities and tend to “just do it” without an appropriate warm-up or cool-down. In a best-case scenario, “just doing it” leads to boredom and in a worse case scenario leads to injury. Although cross training is essential for maximizing physical health, we don’t make time for engaging in multiple sporting activities much less take time for effective warming-up, and cooling-down. This is when yoga becomes so advantageous.
What if I have health issues?
Consult with your physician before beginning your Hot yoga practice. If you're experiencing health or emotional issues, yoga will support you. So come as often as you can. It's our job to encourage you to achieve your best, and it is your responsibility to know what is enough for your body on any given day.