The floor is sopping wet. Sweat is dripping from people’s bodies for more than an hour to the extent that it appears each has just emerged directly from a pool; only this time, it’s not water they’re covered with, but sweat. Heavy breathing can be heard from inside the room heated to 105F (40.6C) with a controlled humidity of the closed room may be exacerbated by the fact that the yoga studio is almost always packed.
Such are typically circumstances at the end of a Bikram yoga session. Hot yoga or Bikram yoga session. Hot yoga or Bikram yoga is a series of yoga poses (bodily positions) done in a heated room, which, by design, is to make the body sweat profusely and render it more flexible.
At the end of a Bikram yoga class, yogis gingerly maneuver their steps as they leave the studio, lest they slip on the floor, which remains damp despite the many towels and yoga mats scattered throughout the room. Some the rush to get a cold shower. Others remain lying on the floor, totally exhausted. But everyone can be seen gulping down liquids – from sports drinks to buko juice (the latest craze in natural energy drinks) to just plain, good old water.
Advice and Caution
Bikram yoga is gaining in popularity but to avoid wasting money on a long-term commitment that may not be fulfilled later on, enroll for just a single session initially to test whether your stamina is good enough to last one full session. Words of caution: Consult your physician before doing so because each full session lasts 90 minutes and even some individuals who are physically fit find the poses too difficult or the temperature too hot to finish even one class.
However, those who find themselves not only capable of withstanding the regimens but wanting to get into it in earnest, yoga instructor Dylan Miall Haddock, who teaches Bikram yoga in Phuket, Thailand, recommends eventual, regular attendance of four times a week or more. Some yoga studios even come up with a 30-day challenge, encouraging students to attend sessions every day!
Among those interested, the first thing that pops into mind is, “Why practice yoga under such hot and humid conditions?” According to Bikram site, “Yoga changes the construction of the body from the inside out. Before you change it, you have to heat it up to soften it because a warm body is a flexible body. Then you can reshape the body any way you want.”
What to be Conscious of
It is normal to feel different degrees of nausea during the first few visits. The yoga instructor, though, will advise you not to leave the room should you feel weak and dizzy. Often times, instructors will open the door to let in some cold air from the adjacent air-conditioned room and will allow you to either sit or lie on the floor until you regain energy. The challenge in Bikram yoga is not just being able to accomplish the difficult 26 poses, but concentrating and performing them in such a hot humid condition.
Water breaks in between poses are essential to getting through the class as is the wearing of suitable and comfortable attire. Yogis usually wear clothing similar to swimsuits as such attires allow them to move freely.
What you eat and drink can make a big difference in how you perform. Dylan suggests: “Have an empty stomach ideally, a little water is fine, but there should be no solid food in the stomach. Generally you should commence two to three hours after a snack or a light meal. Sometimes a little fruit an hour before class might be alright. Fluids like energy drinks, juice, etc., can likely be accepted up to 30 minutes before the class.
Everyone is a little different, but err on the side of caution in the beginning, as it can be much more uncomfortable than necessary if there is food in the stomach. Electrolyte beverages like fresh buko water are generally good to consume after the class, after you have been sweating, as a means to replenish electrolytes that have been lost through sweating.”
Some studios provides them free of charge, but if they don’t, when attending Bikram yoga sessions, it is essential to bring a yoga mat and towel since you will sweat a lot.
Bikram yoga studios are surrounded by mirrors. Dylan recommends that beginner get a spot close to the front and side mirrors so they can imitate the poses of the more experienced yogis and also to see if they are successfully performing the prescribes poses. He adds, “Don’t be distracted by your sweat since you will sweat constantly. Conserve your energy.”
Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses, each with their own purpose and benefit to your body. Dylan further explains: “The standing postures really are designed to warm up the body so that one can get into the floor more deeply while maintaining safety as you practice, even though standing poses provide benefits in their own right.”
As sessions progress, it is not uncommon to witness people exiting the studio because they are unable to keep up. However, take inspiration from those who are still painstakingly doing the postures. When asked to share tips on how to sustain the energy and resolve to keep going, Dylan says, “Breathe calmly. Practice stillness. Listen carefully to the instructions.
Stay there as long as you can with normal breathing in and out through the nose, unless the teacher or Bikram, either personally or via CD and books, has given you a more specific breathing technique to follow. Be well hydrated before the class and have more water on hand in the hot room than you think you’ll need, just in case the class has been extra hot or you happen to be less hydrated. Better safe than sorry.”
The fruits of Bikram yoga practice benefit both the body and the mind. It is the yoga of willpower as it strengthens your will to stay in the so-called “torture chamber” for 90 minutes, pushing one’s limits gently and gradually over time, and come out with the positive experience of being able to do more than what one may have expected of oneself. As regarded as a total body workout and a form of relaxation, Bikram yoga is said to burn many more calories because of the heated room.
Just 90 minutes of Bikram yoga can burn from 500 to 1,250 calories, said Bikram Yoga statement, “but the value depends on the intensity of one’s practice, and varies from person to person.” According, Medical website WebMD, has said that Bikram yoga is indeed suited for those who “want to lose weight.”
It is highly recommended that you consult your doctor prior to trying Bikram yoga.