Bikram Yoga is a demanding series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises suitable for all ages and levels of ability. Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments and joints needed for the next posture.Bikram Yoga is practiced in a very hot room, so be prepared to sweat and to work hard. Why the heat? It warms your muscles, and allows for a deeper workout and cleanses the body by flushing out toxins.Designed by Bikram Choudhury, this 90-minute program stimulates the organs, glands and nerves, moving fresh oxygenated blood to 100 percent of the body, restoring all systems to a healthy working order. It can also promote weight loss and limit the effects of aging. In addition, the Bikram series of postures combines skills of concentration, patience, determination and self-control that increases mental clarity and reduce stress.
All of our teachers were trained, certified, and also re-certified, by Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury as Bikram Method instructors.
What You Need to Bring to Class
Please bring a sticky mat, a large towel (a beach-towel size is ideal) and a bottle of water. Place your towel under you, on top of the mat. Towels can be rented for $2, sticky mats can be rented for $2. Bottled water is also available for purchase.
What to Expect
The class begins with two sets of the Standing Deep Breathing Exercise. The entire class will last for an hour and a half. Everything (except the last posture) is done twice. If you are not quite able to follow the instructions in the first set, you have an opportunity to go perhaps a little further with the posture in the second set.
For most first-time students, the first 50 minutes in the standing postures are the most challenging. If at any time during the class you feel dizzy, nauseated, or fatigued instead of leaving the room please lie down or sit down on your mat, for as long as you wish. Re-join the class when you are ready.
See if you can make it through the first 20 minutes of the class without reaching for the bottle of water. You may drink your water at your first break right after the Eagle Pose (the one where you twist like a pretzel at the knees, wrists, and elbows).
After this break, you will concentrate on strength and endurance in a series of balancing postures, starting with the Standing Head-to-Knee Pose. Many of the balancing postures will help to strengthen your thigh and gluteus muscles.
By the time you have completed two sets of the Triangle Pose, you will have worked not just muscles, but also joints, ligaments and organs. Once you go through the forward-bending of the Standing Separate-Leg Head-to-Knee Pose, you’ll have two more balancing postures to go before you lay down on your mat.
As you lay flat on your back in the Savasana posture, 45 to 50 minutes will already have passed. Savasana is a clear break between the first and second halves. You’ll likely be able to keep up with the postures in the second half. This is because by the time you begin the floor postures, you are now acclimatized to the heat and warmed-up enough with the standing postures to move into hip-opening and back-strengthening.
The class ends with two sets of another breathing exercise called Kapalabhati breathing or Blowing in Firm Pose. In the Final Savasana, you may lay down for five to 15 minutes to allow for total relaxation.
If you have sampled other styles of yoga, please realize that there is a specific Bikram way of practicing some postures that may be different from other styles. For example, other yoga styles may instruct you to practice the Triangle Pose with your palm down on the floor, where in Bikram Yoga you are aiming to touch between big toe and second toe. Proper yoga etiquette would be to practice the postures as taught by the teacher in the room.
After your first class, it is highly recommended that you come back for your second class as soon as you can. Even the next day would be appropriate. This will help you to overcome that initial muscle soreness that can come with any workout, as well as to help you to become more comfortable in the heat. Attempt to come to class more than three times in a week, even just once, to develop a consistent and ongoing Bikram Yoga practice. Your body will start to remember the poses, and by practicing more often, your alignment and awareness of the postures will develop more quickly.