Bikram yoga, or hot yoga, is an intense yoga style practiced in a heated room. Because of the heat and rigorous regimen, you may want to familiarize yourself with this style of yoga before attempting a Bikram yoga class.
Bikram Yoga Fundamentals
Bikram Yoga is series of twenty-six yoga postures (or asanas) and two breathing exercises practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees Farenheit.
The yoga postures are done twice and the class typically last 90 minutes. The Bikram Yoga series is performed in the same way every time. There is no variation. Bikram has generated some controversy because he has copyrighted his yoga series and will not let anyone teach Bikram Yoga unless they have completed his paid teacher training.
Traditional Yoga Practice
Bikram began practicing yoga as a child under the direction of Bishnu Ghosh at Ghosh’s College of Physical Education in Calcutta, India.
Under Ghosh’s guidance, Bikram went on to start several yoga schools in India, Japan, and eventually the United States. Bikram’s Yoga College of India is currently headquartered in Los Angeles, California. In addition to teaching classes, Bikram offers a teacher training course two times a year.
Bikram’s yoga series is designed to move fresh, oxygenated blood to major organs, joints, and glands. Moreover, the intense sweating that occurs during class is meant to cleanse the body of toxins.
Students who practice Bikram Yoga on a regular basis claim that it has healed them of everything from depression to arthritis. Bikram recommends that students attend his class at least 3 times a week to receive full benefits of the practice.
Bikram Certified Instructors
Bikram Yoga classes are taught by Bikram certified instructors. Bikram Yoga instructors undergo an intensive nine week yoga training program. During the training program, trainees are expected to attend class twice a day, participate in posture clinics, and memorize a specific dialogue that guides students through the class.
Unlike other yoga styles, Bikram instructors do not demonstrate the postures for students. Instead, Bikram instructors recite the dialogue and sometimes adjust student’s postures. The yoga students in the front row of a Bikram Yoga class usually serve as a visual guide for beginners unfamiliar with the Bikram Yoga series.
What to Wear and Bring to a Bikram Yoga Class
Since the room is heated, the less clothes that are worn, the better. Men commonly wear shorts or a swim suit. Woman wear sports bras, shorts, and leotards. A water bottle is helpful so you can hydrate during class.
Hand towels are useful for drying your hands in between yoga postures and wiping sweat from your eyes. Some Bikram Yoga students enjoy using specially designed yoga towels that are meant to prevent slipping that are draped over the yoga mat such as Yogitoes and the Thirsty Yoga Towel made by Gaiam.
Where to Find a Bikram Yoga Studio in Your Area
There are more than 400 Bikram Yoga studios worldwide. Bikram Yoga studios are located in the North America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. To find a Bikram Yoga studio in your area, visit the official Bikram Yoga website.