Yoga has been practiced for many centuries because of its mental and physical benefits. Today, there are many different styles of that practice, can be used for specific reasons – one of them is Bikram.
Bikram yoga is often enjoyed by beginners of all shapes, sizes, ages and health conditions to help lose weight. It is a challenging form of hatha yoga, systematically designed to work the entire body for an hour and thirty minutes. Its target is to create maximum function and optimum health.
Bikram consists of 26 posture sequences that are performed in a heated room at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is applied to help accelerate the body’s rate of change, thereby allowing your body to safely cleanse, detox and stretch. This practice does not need any props, equipment or specific clothing.
The series of postures used in this type of yoga stimulates healing and tissue regeneration targeting chronic illnesses. It can overall improve your strength, flexibility and mental well being, which will then translate into a better and more fulfilling life.
One common misconception about attending a yoga class is that you need to be flexible. Yoga is not just about flexibility, but rather about strengthening your spine, back, core and other parts of your body.
You may be stiff at the beginning but as you move further along, flexibility will follow through. Bikram is also a form of hatha (a simpler style of yoga) which makes it a class that everybody can try.
No matter what your fitness level is, Bikram will be challenging at the beginning. But with patience, persistence and dedication, you will develop muscle tone and strength. It helps regulate your metabolism, curb your appetite and normalize your weight. In the end, consistent Bikram yogis enjoy the benefits of a slimmer figure.
The Importance of Heat
Bikram is not bikram unless there is some heat. It is intentionally used to warm up the muscles and allow you to stretch and work more deeply and safely in the 26 posture sequences in a class. Furthermore, the heat helps flush out the body’s toxins through sweating.
The heart rate also helps stimulate better blood and lymph circulation and promotes the softening of fascia and muscle tissues which help the muscles loosen up. The heat helps elevate your heart rate which makes it a great cardio workout for people who are trying to lose weight.
Getting Used To The Hot Room
On top of the poses, the presence of heat can be overwhelming at times. Instructors discourage anyone who struggles with the poses to push through, especially when the breathing is affected. You can simply sit through a pose or take a break if you need to. It is also encouraged that you continue to sit in the heated room while taking a break so that you become acclimated to the temperature.
It takes some time to get used to such a hot room. Some people need to take several classes before their bodies start to cooperate. Many teachers will suggest that you take at least 6 Bikram yoga classes per week, as this is the ideal frequency for your body to get used to the heated environment.
Here are a few more tips you can follow when taking your first Bikram class.
Do Not Be Late
The golden rule is never be late.
Always try to get to the class at least 10 to 20 minutes early. This gives you time to sign up, get dressed and find a spot where you can settle your mat down. Take the time to talk to your instructor if you are dealing with an injury, so that you can be guided in performing the poses without exacerbating any problem.
Strategize Snack Time
A full stomach while performing the poses in Bikram can be uncomfortable and inhibiting. Try not to eat at least two hours prior to taking a class so that your muscles can expand and reach full range. But make sure that you do not attend a class hungry either. For a pre-workout energy boost, you can eat a banana 20 minutes before the class.
It is recommended that you drink two liters of water throughout the day, but do not chug water before taking the class or this might leave your nauseous. If you wish to drink water while taking the class, you can simply take little sips.
Drinking water before attending a Bikram class will also help you stay hydrated for the 90-minute session. This means you will not need to drink as much water within the session.
If you wish to try this style of yoga, make sure that you find one close to you. This way you can easily attend the class at your most convenient time. You can search yoga studios that offer Bikram classes and talk to the instructor if it is still your first time. Hence you can be properly guided on how to introduce Bikram to your body.