This week I started taking Bikram Yoga classes down the road from our campground. I've been taking yoga classes for several years and thought I could totally handle Bikram Yoga! Little did I know how different Bikram is from the other classes I've taken!
Bikram is hot yoga. You do a 90 minute class in a blazing hot and humid room. The heat is what makes the class so much harder! My first class I put my matt right up front and did about the first 6 poses full out giving it my all. About 30 minutes into the class I thought I was going to die! In fact I had to leave the room for a few minutes to get out of the heat. Here's what I've learned on how to survive in class-
Go easy on yourself. I'm still a beginner and need to take a break by sitting or laying on the floor every now and then when class gets too hard. 90 minutes is a long class so pace yourself! Don't feel like you have to do every pose full out.
Make sure you're hydrated by drinking plenty of water the day before you go to class and a few hours before class. You don't want to have a full stomach of water when you get to class or you'll barf! Same thing with food. Don't eat anything heavy 2 hours before class. You lay right on your stomach during class and having food in there is uncomfortable. Also it's super hot which doesn't sit well with a full stomach.
Speaking of food, eat healthy the day before and day of your class or else you will feel weighed down by the crap you ate. Not only will you feel weighed down you'll just feel sick. Taking Bikram is a great way to naturally desire healthy foods because if you choose junk then go hop off to a class you will feel like junk.
Don't wipe the sweat off your face. Let the sweat do it's job by keeping you cool. You will sweat an unbelievable amount!
Don't wear too many clothes. My first class I wore a cotton tank top and biker shorts. It was too much! I now wear my biker shorts and just a sports bra. The things people wear to class will blow your mind! I've never seen such tiny shorts on men or women, it's pretty entertaining. Join in the fun and wear something you could never wear anywhere but Bikram Yoga class.
If you start feeling like you can't go on any longer breath only through your nose. It works and you'll feel so much better in just a few breaths.
When I feel like I just can't do another pose I tell myself, all you have to do is stand here and build up to the pose. Really none of the poses are that hard and if I wasn't in a hot room they'd be no problem. So, I just remember that the pose I'm doing isn't that hard and that it will be over soon. You never have to hold a pose for very long.
Look forward to how you'll feel after class. During class you feel pretty terrible but almost immediately after you're done you feel light a a feather, flexible as a rubber band, totally in alignment, completely worked out and very peaceful.
You need a yoga mat and a towel about as big as your mat. You sweat so much that you'd slide right off a yoga mat with no towel on top.
Take it one pose at a time. Don't think about how long you have left or you'll watch the clock the whole class. Just think about the pose you're in and tell yourself, I can do anything for 10 seconds which is about how long your have to hold poses. When you add in the time it takes to transition from pose to pose the class will be over before you know it.
Your body may not like you during class but you will feel amazing after and you'll be healthier with every class you take. Each class is hard but is way more pleasant and easier than the first class. If you hated your first class give it one more try and you'll probably be a believer.