Bikram yoga – a beginner’s guide

Back in the seventies, four-time Yoga Champion of India Bikram Choudhury developed a series of simple (ish) poses intended for yoga beginners. The poses were to be carried out during a 90-minute session and regardless of location, would always remain the same in every class. What makes Bikram yoga different however, is the fact that it is carried out in a hot room with the temperature soaring to around 105 Fahrenheit (40.5 Celsius) or higher.

The heat in Bikram yoga allows individuals to reach new levels of flexibility and the benefits are said to include ridding the body of toxins, stretching out the muscles and improving circulation.

If you are thinking about signing up, see below for some helpful beginners tips: 

  • Speak up – Make sure you contact your teacher beforehand, or speak with them at the start of the session to let them know about any previous injuries or medical conditions. An experienced teacher will provide you with variations for certain exercises that may put strain on any weak or uncomfortable spots.
  • Dress comfortably – Be sure to wear comfortable and cool clothing that does not chafe or restrict your movement when wet. Many individuals try to minimise the potential damage by wearing as little as possible. If you feel comfortable, for men spandex shorts are a great option while for women, shorts and a stretchy tank top or sports bra would work.
  • Be prepared – Heat can be hard on the body so think ahead and ensure you are well hydrated for up to 24-hours before the class. It is also a good idea to avoid eating for 1-2 hours prior to the class to prevent nausea. If you forget to drink water prior to your session, don’t be tempted to chug a litre of water down five minutes before – this will lead to an uncomfortably full stomach and possibly even an overactive bladder.

Have you tried out Bikram yoga before or are you thinking about it? Please share your thoughts, experiences and tips below.

To find out about a variety of other holistic therapies, see our therapy topics page for further information.

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Written by Emma Hilton

Written by Emma Hilton

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