It's no secret that I think Bikram Yoga is the best thing ever, besides Mexican food of course. While I understand Bikram may not be for everyone, I thought I would share some things I have learned that might help your Bikram experience.
1. DRINK LOTS OF WATER- I cannot stress this enough. Drink at least 16 oz. before class. Drink enough during class so you do not feel thirsty. After, drink enough water to replenish your body of all the water you lost during class. When I drink enough water daily, I don't get very thirsty during class. Go here to learn more about water intake for Bikram. I seriously drink about 100-150oz of water a day. It does take effort to drink this much water and I get sick of waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but I have noticed a difference!
2. Stretch between classes, before class, and after class- the more you stretch, the more your body gets used to it. You will have an easier time in class if your muscles are more flexible. And no, you do not need to be super flexible to do yoga. It is ok if you can barely touch your toes standing up, as long as you have the right form.
3. Wear breathable clothes- I learned this the hard way. Running shorts are a big NO. So are cotton t-shirts. You want to wear something tight fitting. You don't want your clothes to get in the way when you are trying to hold a posture. You want clothes that are breathable and moisture-wicking so that you stay cool. I also like to wear as little as possible, since extra fabric just means extra heat (it takes a few classes before you are used to being half naked in front of people. It is no less fabric than a swimsuit, though). I would love to wear some awesome Lululemon, but my old volleyball spandex and Target sports bra get the job done without the expensive price tag.
4. Bring the right gear- I talk about some great yoga gear here. If you don't have a towel mat, bring a towel to put over your regular yoga mat. You will be slipping and sliding if you do not. Also bring a towel for after so you don't drip sweat all the way home.
5. Bring an insulated water bottle- Seriously, cold water makes all of the difference. When you are so hot you can't take it, ice water is just what you need. If you bring a plastic water bottle, that cold water will turn to hot in about 5 minutes. I use a tervis tumbler because I like having a straw and it works great. There is still some ice by the time class is over.
6. Don't come too hungry or too full- Of course, you need to have energy for the class, which you get from eating. But, if you eat too close to class, you will pay for it. There is nothing more uncomfortable than twisting and turning with a full belly. The best thing to do is to eat about 3 hours before class.
7. Sit in class before it starts- Your body may need some time to adjust to the heat. If you go in right when class starts from the nice, cool air conditioning, it will take your body longer to adjust while you are trying to focus on the positions.
8. Sit towards the middle of the room- The corners of the room are by far the hottest. The closer to the middle you are, the cooler you will be. If your goal is to sweat as much as possible, ignore this tip.
9. Keep your mouth closed and eyes open- Breathing in and out of your nose is not natural for everyone. Before I started yoga, I was a mouth breather. It took me awhile to get used to inhaling and exhaling through my nose. Breathing through your nose allows more air to enter your system. It also feels natural to close your eyes. Resist the urge! I know from experience that closing your eyes at all during class will make you dizzy and nauseous. You don't want to be the one who passes out in class.
10. Don't wipe your sweat!- As hard as it is, don't do it. I like sweating when I am working out because it feels great and refreshing, but the dripping feeling on my face drives me bonkers. We sweat for a reason. Sweat helps our bodies release heat and regulate body temperature. If you wipe your sweat off, your body will retain heat and you could potentially overheat.
I hope these tips help and encourage you to get out there and try Bikram. You won't be sorry!
Until next time,