Thursday, October 11, 2012

BIKRAM YOGA: Hot Yoga 26 Postures

This post is about my first experience with hot yoga, or Bikram Yoga. First, this is my experience, and it may not be what everyone else experiences. Second, I am no doctor and my personal opinions are expressed below.

For those of you not familiar with hot yoga, it is a different method of yoga that is done in both heat and humidity. You can see this link to wikipedia for more information on Bikram Yoga. The breathing techniques are different than for example ashtanga yoga or vinyasa yoga. The temperature is approx. 105* F and about 40% humidity. Because of the heat I would recommend wearing something light on top (or no shirts for men) and shorts. I wore my yoga/running tank with some yoga shorts. We also put a towel over our mat and had a water liter water bottle by our side during the entire thing. This is also a form of yoga that you do not want to wear sweats during! The throaty breathing done during ashtanga is in order to warm your body. In bikram you are warming the body from the outside and therefore we only used that breathing technique for maybe the first five minutes. The rest is done quietly and for the most part in and out through your nose.

At first I was a little concerned at whether or not I could make it through the class--I'm on the tale end of a nasty cold, and my lower back/upper leg on my right side has been giving me fits. However I didn't need a single cough drop, and it cleared my sinuses enough that I could participate in the correct breathing techniques for most of class. I did not feel any pain in my lower back or leg where it usually is very painful just walking around campus (again this is my experience and may not be the same for everyone). Even now that it has been almost two hours since the end of the class my back still feels better than it did before I went in.

Triangle Pose
I feel energized, ready to take on the day, and my mind is clear. I can focus now, and relax. I feel like it was good for stress relief, and even meditation (if you are familiar with the sequence). I was also talking with my yoga buddy, and we decided this must be a really good form of yoga for runners or dancers recovering from injuries because of the heat which loosens up your muscles.

A note on nutrition and hydration: I did feel nauseous the last 10-15 min. of class, and from what I understand that is normal to feel nauseous (differing degrees for everyone-one guy said he gets nauseous at the beginning of class). If you do feel nauseous the teachers seem to be understanding, and our instructor advised that you not move until the nausea goes away. If you are on a diet that restricts your nutrient intake (which I don't necessarily approve of) then I can imagine hot yoga being dangerous and possibly some passing out or worse. Make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet the day before. We went to the 6 AM class and some people can keep a light breakfast down and others can't, just be aware of what your body can handle and be healthy! Most of all stay hydrated!

We were totally going to take a picture doing a pose after the class just to document the moment and include in this post. However, we forgot. So my husband was kind enough to take a picture or two of the two poses that I felt I learned the most. One that I didn't get a picture of but was one of my favorites was Garudasana or eagle pose, which I have done before with one of the Tara Stiles routines. I like to refer to it as "pretzel pose." :)

Toe Stand Pose
Triangle Pose- Different from the ashtanga warrior series, you do not place the hand on the floor and you want a triangle of negative space between the side of the torso and the thigh. You only go until the elbow is lined up with the knee.

Padangustasana (toe stand pose)- It was definitely challenging! I'm going to have to work at this one since it is pretty new to my movement vocabulary.

If you are interested in how to prepare for a class click here to see what the Brick Canvas studio advises.

If you are interested in the studio that we attended see the link below:

Bikram yoga studios are more difficult to find than other yoga studios, but if you look for one in your area hopefully there is one close by.

 Happy Training! à bientôt!

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