Bikram Yoga: A Beginner’s Guide

I’ll admit: the idea of sitting in a 105˚ room at 40% humidity for an hour and a half, contorting my body in ways it was not designed to go and sweating with 20 of not-my-closest friends does not sound like my idea of a Monday night.

However, I was somehow able to survive my very first class of Bikram yoga and have lived to tell this tale.

To give you an idea of Bikram yoga, it’s goes a little something like this:

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Bikram Yoga gained an international following in the 1970s. Indian yogi and Bikram founder, Bikram Choudhury, opened the Yoga College of India after winning the National India Yoga Competition (who knew, right?). In fact, Bikram’s followers are quite devout, and studios specializing in the practice seem to be popping up all over the globe! Differing from other yoga styles, Bikram is always 26 poses, always 90 minutes and always hot.

So, this was me walking into the yoga studio on my first day:

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Despite the somewhat extreme conditions, there is a silver living. Emerging from “The Hot Room” after 90 minutes is the closest thing to heaven (well, after Hershey’s Drops). Also, the practice has incredible health benefits! Because of the incredible temperatures, your body sweats like you just ran a marathon. This heat allows you to better stretch your muscles and prevents soreness the following day. Experts affirm that a Bikram practitioner burns between 400 and 500 calories in a 90 minutes class. But from a personal perspective, one day after a Bikram Yoga class, I felt noticeably more awake and refreshed and my skin felt clearer than it has in months.

Everything will be alright because, after a week, you’ll look something like this:

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For newcomers, my recommendation is to remember that you can get through it. The first class is by far the hardest and most overwhelming – not to mention that, when the temperature gets that hot, all bets are off. Be prepared to see, um, a lot of your classroom neighbors.

Why not check it out?! Many yoga studios offer discounts and various promotions, so you can certainly get yourself back into the (exercise) swing of things.

So here’s my end-of-summer recommendation to the SLM community: get yourself a weeklong membership to any of the Bikram yoga studios. They will almost always have promotions to get you into the hot room more than once. Give it a try!


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