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What to Expect From Bikram Yoga Class

What to Expect From Your First Bikram Yoga Class

I have friends who rave so much about Bikram yoga, you'd think it was some kind of healthy drug. People get so hooked, they won't do any other type of yoga, and they commit to going practically every day of the week. They become so in love that they tell all their friends to go too. If you're curious to check out what all the buzz is about, here are some things you should know before stepping into the studio.

One of the big things that sets Bikram apart from other types of yoga is that it's hot — even hotter than hot yoga. The room is heated to about 105ºF, so that means you can expect to sweat buckets. That's why loading up on the H20 is imperative before hitting class to prevent dehydration. You might also benefit from cutting down on caffeinated beverages and processed foods. And don't eat two hours beforehand, since it's best to do yoga on an empty stomach.

You won't need to bring much to class. Although the studio offers mats you can borrow, with the sweaty nature of Bikram, you'll want to steer clear of those germ havens and bring your own. Having a hand towel handy is also a good idea to help absorb sweat from your body and wipe slippery puddles from your mat. For your attire, opt for comfortable clothes, preferably something fitted and made of wicking material. Many women wear tank tops or sports bras and spandex shorts, because you'll find that if you wear baggy clothes, they'll become annoyingly heavy with sweat.

Just to warn you, the studio may have a mirror at the front of the room. This is to help with correct alignment and not meant to make you feel self-conscious about how your leg isn't as straight as Fanny Flexible in the corner. You'll be led through a series of 26 postures by an instructor who may be wearing a microphone. She may walk around and assist you, meaning she'll give you verbal cues or touch your body to help you do poses correctly. Before class begins, it may be a good idea to let the instructor know it's your first time.

Since most people aren't used to working out in this kind of heat, you may feel dizzy, nauseous, or overly tired during or after class. You may also get a headache, so take a break if you need to get some air and sip some water. After class, these symptoms may persist, and you may also feel extremely famished or not hungry at all. Try not to worry, as this is all very normal when it coms to doing Bikram yoga. If you're really into it, give your body several weeks to adjust to the extreme heat and challenging poses. Who knows? You, too, might become so obsessed with Bikram that you'll start convincing your friends to go.

Image Source: Thinkstock
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GirlinTheRaw GirlinTheRaw 3 years
I started Bikram recently and got hooked as well. I have been doing yoga for years, but this practice is quite unique and provides an exciting change in my workout regimen. First time was though, I had a headache all day afterwards. I also recommend water and coconut water before and after (not during, I would stay away from anything with a flavor). And bring a towel too, mat is not enough and becomes slippery.
GirlinTheRaw GirlinTheRaw 3 years
@lollofit I was worried about that in the beginning, but so far haven't gotten bored. My instructor says once you are very good at it and have been practicing for some time, there is an advanced class with more poses.
Ella2940628 Ella2940628 3 years
Bikram Yoga is superior to any exercise. It works every muscle in your body. It is not only for physical health, it balances your mind. Brings you peace that is hard to find.
amiemoos amiemoos 3 years
Excited to try Bikram now- might have to add this one to the to-do list!
ojodeazul ojodeazul 6 years
I have just started to go to Bikram yoga, and so far I love it...I am also a heat lover so, the temperature doesn't bother me too much.
georgie2 georgie2 6 years
I just tried my first class. It was pretty good, I did start to get a little dizzy though and I have a headache now. Will definitely try harder to drink a lot during the day beforehand! But what if I do a morning class?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I went yesterday and it wasn't so bad! I had to sit for about 15 minutes at the end because I got SUPER hungry and it made me dizzy, but I did better than I expected to.
bonniebonnie bonniebonnie 6 years
HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE. My first time doing Bikram I was severely dehydrated and got super dizzy, nauseated, and tingly. I chose not to return to the class because I just get grossed out by everybody else's sweat. If I stuck with it, though, I know it'd be a fantastic workout. Just not for me. HYDRATEE!!!!!!
fitchicnyc fitchicnyc 6 years
Great tips. I just took my first Bikram Yoga class a few weeks ago. I wrote about it on my blog but the main thing was that I ran out of water within the first half of the class! Bring more than you think you'll need!!!! I woke up to a nice headache from dehydration the next morning. Also, the class isn't a place for modesty - strip to the bare essentials because being overdressed and overheated is not fun!
lollofit lollofit 6 years
I tend not to enjoy repetitive workouts but I've always wanted to try Bikram yoga. Does anyone ever get bored?
aimeeb aimeeb 6 years
Thanks Fit!
Mchris344 Mchris344 6 years
Do not drink caffeine before class. I find that if I have an afternoon coffee before a night class, I am very lightheaded during class. I limit my caffeine intake to one cup in the morning before an evening class.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 6 years
I have no pointers, but it looks like good tips here. Just wanted to say that my hairdress started doing Bikram Yoga just a couple of months ago and she looks amazing!!
ckeller825 ckeller825 6 years
I just started taking bikram a month ago, and I was so scared, but it's NOT that bad. - Don't eat 2-3 hours before class. Otherwise, you'll feel BEYOND nauseous during the class. And hydrate with water ALL DAY before class (if you take it after work)...otherwise you will get really dizzy while posing. - Bring either 1 huge bottle or 2 regular-sized bottled waters to class. I throw mine in the freezer a couple hours before class because the water tends to get hot in a heated room (as if it's been sitting in a hot car all day), and drinking hot water when you're hot & sweaty = blech! - If you sweat a lot from your head, I'd recommend wearing a cloth headband the first time around. I used one my first class, and didn't my 2nd class. I noticed that without one, more beads of sweat would go in my eyes when bending over, which was NOT pleasant, especially because I wear contacts. - Stay away from long pants and go with minimal clothing. Most people wear sports bras or loose-fitted tanks/running shorts. Under Armour is fine...I was told to stay away from tight-fitted clothing, but my UA bike shorts didn't bother me AT ALL. In fact, I like it better than loose-fitting shorts. - Bring two large towels or a beach towel for your yoga mat. I also bring a wash cloth for a quick sweat wipe between poses. Overall, bikram is awesome. Many people make it seem scary, but it's really rewarding and NOT that bad. These 90 minutes will fly by, and it gets easier with each class :) Good luck!!
Smacks83 Smacks83 6 years
I was told to expect to puke the first class because so many people just don't deal with heat well.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
Thanks for the answer Fit (and everyone else)! That's really good to know about exactly how much water to drink. I knew I had to drink a lot, but a guideline is always nice. And perfect timing too, since I'm off to class at 6 tomorrow!
HaterTot HaterTot 6 years
The first time I did Bikram was with a friend of mine who's an instructor. I really enjoyed it, but my skin was burning from all the sweat! By the end of the class it was difficult to hold poses because my limbs kept slipping on sliding on each other, but the burning was what surprised me most. Afterward, I asked my friend what the deal was with the burning and she said it was normal, just your body sweating out all the crap, and that it would go away after a few regular sessions, and she was right. I like it because it's always the same poses, in the same order, so you can pop into a class anywhere and know what to expect. I also like the heat a lot, so this is definitely my preferred practice.
jueycruiser jueycruiser 6 years
hell yes you want to avoid eating anytime before a yoga class. i made that mistake, and ended up throwing up a little bit in my mouth while doing some of the more twisty poses. kind of gross...but its something to avoid!
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 6 years
Definitely hydrate a lot. Most people at the bikram studio I practice regularly in, drink their weight in ounces of water everyday. I try to eat a big (but healthy) meal about 3.5 to 4 hours before class so that my stomach isn't full during class, but that i'm not starving. Arrive to the studio at least 15 minutes early so you can introduce yourself to the instructor and become familiar with the studio. Set up your mat in one of the back rows so you can watch more advanced students in front of you. Also, don't push yourself too hard the first class, feel free to take breaks. The instructor will probably explain to you, that your only goal for the first class is just to stay in the room the whole time. And remember to have fun.
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