First off I want to post a disclaimer that says that I am not a Bikram instructor, this is not about anyone specific in class or any specific Bikram studio and these opinions are my own as a practitioner (which I’ve been for going no 3 years now). Ok, now that’s out of the way we can get down to business.
I know that as the new year dawns, most people will look to new activities to get in shape and Bikram Yoga seems to be getting ever more popular. That’s great! As a Bikram practitioner I can tell you that Bikram Yoga is a fantastic way to keep your body in shape with no impact on the joints and a great way to lose weight too! An average session can burn anywhere from 700-1000 calories depending on the person!!! But…if you’re going to start doing Bikram there’s a few thing you need to know and be prepared for…
The room is hot, 105 degrees with a humidity of 40%...and the room smells…GET OVER IT!!! I get so tired of people complaining about the heat and smell. It’s a hot room and you sweat..it is a WORKOUT after all. If you can’t deal with that, please stay home and do your “Carmen Electra Does Stripper Yoga” DVD. And...YES, its the SAME 26 postures every session.
Bikram says (yes, Bikram Yoga is named after the man that created it, Bikram Choudhury) you bring the best “you” you can to the practice. That best “you” is to try the best you can during the practice. If you’re gonna half-ass your effort, then stay home. In my opinion you disrespect Bikram, the teacher and the rest of us busting our butts in class.
Now, a couple things to keep in mind:
- Eat during the day before class. You wouldn’t go for 90 minute run without fueling would you? Well, this is the same thing.
- Drink during the day before class. See above! Drinking during class and after will not help you DURING the class. Make sure you’re drinking all day and remember to drink after. You did just sweat for 90 minutes! There is one “official” drink break but you’re welcome to drink water throughout the class.
- If you are new to Bikram DO NOT sit at the front of class, in front of the mirror. Why? Because no one is going to hand hold you through the poses and/or tell you how to do them. The onus is on you to LISTEN to the instructor and WATCH your fellow practitioners to see how the poses are done. You can’t do that from the front of the room and all you’ll be is a distraction to the rest of the class.
- The teacher will talk the entire time (a great teacher will be engaging and funny not just recite the Bikram “script”)! That is on purpose. It’s meant for you to not “think” and just “listen” and execute the poses to the best of your abilities
- Quit moving around or fidgeting. Bikram Yoga is all about your focus. Moving around is an easy way to break your focus and meditation and more importantly…EVERYONE else’s. If you can’t do a pose or need to take a break, lay down on your mat in dead body pose or “savasna”. THAT is the acceptable thing to do…pacing around your mat or talking to the person beside you is not.
- Speaking of talking, you may like to chat on a run or at the gym between sets but proper etiquette during your practice is the teacher is the only one talking. And…how can you focus on doing the postures if you’re talking.
- Along the same lines…DO NOT leave the room (unless it’s an emergency). If you need to take a break, lay down on your mat. Your coming and going in and out of the room is poor etiquette and rude but very distracting to the teacher and your fellow students. Who can find their center and focus with someone walking out of the room every 10 minutes?!
|My Yogi Maria...she's awesomesauce!|
- Don't get disheartened if you cant do the postures like they're "supposed" to look. Your workout comes from trying to make your postures better each and every practice. You'll get there eventually...I promise.
- At the end of the practice, don’t just hop right up and run out of the room. The purpose of the last Savasna is to allow you to recover from the practice, compose yourself and center your focus. Supposedly Bikram has been known to say “that if you don’t relax for 2 minutes after final breathing, it’s like taking a poop and not wiping your butt”. Graphic? Yes, but couldn’t be more true!
These points aren’t meant to scare you off from Bikram Yoga or make you think you’re not welcome at a practice. It’s meant for you to be informed and not show up to class and be known as “that guy/girl” who is the distraction. A little thought before you walk in the door will pay you dividends subsequently help the people who are practicing around you. Namaste.