Is Bikram Yoga suitable for beginners?

Bikram Yoga does not have separate classes for beginners and advanced students. It is designed with beginners in mind; you do not have to have any yoga experience to start Bikram yoga, because the series is accessible to different body types and fitness levels. As your practice improves you will have the ability to go deeper into the postures.

What if I am not flexible?

You do not need to be flexible to take Bikram Yoga. With regular practice you will improve your flexibility no matter what your starting point is. You will find that you will improve your range of motion, while gaining strength and balance. Bikram Yoga is a great compliment to any other workout routine, like running, biking, hiking, swimming and lifting weights.

What should I wear?

Women should wear fitted workout clothes, such as shorts and sports bras or tank tops. Men should wear fitted shorts. Since the room is heated, you will want to wear something that you feel comfortable sweating in. Please do not attend class wearing swim suits or underwear only. Long pants, long sleeve shirts and baggy clothes are not recommended. Practice is done barefoot, so please make sure your feet are clean.


Why is it important to learn from a Bikram Yoga Certified Instructor?

It takes more than a hot room and a list of postures to make your Bikram Method Yoga practice a safe, rewarding experience. Bikram Method Yoga is a specialized form of yoga, requiring appropriate training and knowledge to teach it effectively. Bikram Choudhury, the creator of Bikram Yoga, personally trains and certifies his instructors to ensure that his methods and philosophy are preserved and properly taught. To be certified as an instructor in the Bikram Method of Yoga, an instructor must complete an intensive nine-week training session requiring over 500 hours of study. A studio guided by a Certified Instructor provides the best possible instruction in the Bikram Method. Certified Instructors have a continuing connection to Bikram Choudhury and his training staff, allowing the Certified Studio to draw from all of the resources Bikram's training center has to offer. This includes special seminars, posture clinics, guest instructors, and answers to questions which may arise in a particular practitioner's Bikram Yoga practice. Many can claim that they teach "Bikram Yoga," but unless there is a Certified Instructor supervising how and what is taught at that studio, you are not getting the true Bikram Yoga.


What is the recommended room temperature for Bikram Yoga?

The recommended temperature is 105F degrees and about 40% humidity.

Why is the room heated? 

  • The heat protects muscles while allowing for deeper stretching. The warmer your muscles are, the more flexible they are. Heat makes your muscles stretch farther, allowing you to work deeper while avoiding injury.
  • The heat and humidity help to increase your heart rate giving you a better cardiovascular workout during yoga class. But, since dehydration can also increase your heart rate, please make sure to hydrate before coming to class.
Sweating is a great way to detox our bodies. When you sweat, toxins are flushed out of the body through the skin. You may feel cleaner and more refreshed just a few weeks after starting your Bikram practice.

How does Bikram Yoga work?

By the tourniquet effect: stretching, balancing (using gravity), and creating pressure all at the same time. The blood supply in arteries and veins is being cut off, creating pressure. When released, a lock gate effect is created, causing blood to rush through veins and arteries, flushing them out. Also, pressure is applied to the heart by its relative position to the rest of the body.


What is happening in my body during Bikram Yoga?  

  • Muscles are contracted and stretched at a cellular, biochemical level. Lipids and proteins reorganize optimally in such stretching, allowing for better circulation. Joint mobility and range of motion is increased, and strength is built by the use of gravity. Muscles and joints are balanced.
  • Blood and calcium are brought to the bones. Working against gravity strengthens the bones. The organs of the immune system within the bones (red marrow) are boosted.
  • The lymph nodes are massaged, lymph is pumped throughout the body, and white blood cells are distributed throughout the body as the lymphatic system works more efficiently.
  • There is compression and extension to the thymus, spleen, appendix and intestines; lungs are stretched and flushed out by increased blood circulation. The endocrine glands are encouraged to secrete appropriate hormones, and the communication between hormones and various glands and systems of the body is perfected. Toxins and waste are eliminated through the organs of elimination.
The nerves are stimulated by compression and extension, improving communication within the systems of the body and supplying fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout. The brain is stimulated by improved circulation and by varying blood pressure.  

Is it unusual to feel nauseous or dizzy during my first class?

Practicing yoga in a heated room reveals to us our present condition, and inspires us take much better care of ourselves. Usually the problem is that we do not drink enough water for daily living, let alone for exercising in a heated room. Nutritionists tell us that we need 64-80 ounces of water a day to help the body function properly.  
In the heated yoga room, your body needs adequate fund of water to allow perspiration to release heat from the body as you   practice. So we estimate you need another 64-80 ounces (sometime during the day)   to allow for your 90 minutes in the room.  Once you are drinking enough water your body will tolerate the heat better and you will actually enjoy the heat .If you feel disoriented or like you need a good nap after your first few classes, this is likely because your body has begun to cleanse itself as a result of the yoga practice. Don't be scared. After the first few classes this sensation will pass. The more you can relax as you give your 110% honest effort during class, the more energized you will feel throughout the class and throughout the rest of your day. The recommendation is to drink water. This is incomplete.  Those are specific symptoms of salt and potassium depletion and can easily be remedied by taking salt and potassium tablets before class.  The uncomfortable feeling one experience in a sauna or heated room can be avoided completely by simply taking these minerals. Sea salt and potassium are the least expensive of all minerals and can be obtained anywhere.  Nausea, headaches, all of this can be avoided with these 2 minerals.


How many times a week is it recommended to practice?

In the beginning, do the Full Class religiously each day for two months until you are performing all but the very difficult poses such as the Standing Bow Pulling and Stretching Pose eighty percent correctly.  If you are restricted by any medical condition or have any chronic disease, you should continue daily until your condition is resolved. 

Even when your progress is measured in fractions of inches that add excellence to what is already good, rather than in bold strokes, like being able to balance on one leg for ten seconds, you should continue your Yoga practice daily.
When you are performing ninety percent of the postures ninety percent correctly, you should still not feel complacent about doing your Yoga. Doing this Hatha Yoga class every day is like everything else you do in your life that is good for maintaining life. You don't plan to give up doing those things because of the daily benefit you receive. How good is this Yoga habit? Look at someone who has been doing this yoga for over twenty or thirty years. Don't ask their ages. They have become timeless. 


Is Bikram Yoga aerobic?

The word aerobic literally means "with oxygen" or "in the presence of oxygen, involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body ." Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body by elevating the heart rate during exercise to its target level. As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke. Fewer strokes are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
You can derive these benefits from practicing Bikram yoga. Use this formula to find your target heart rate. 220 minus your age times 60% and times 90%
For example, a 30-year old would calculate his target zone using the above formula: 220-30=190. 190x.60=114 and 190x.90=171. This individual would try to keep his heart rate between 114 (low end) and 171 (high end) beats per minute. You can take your pulse during class and see that due to the nature of the asanas, your heart rate and respiration become elevated to your target level. This can help you determine how intensely to work during class.

Does Bikram Yoga help with balancing the emotions?

Bikram Yoga helps balance the emotions in several ways. Physiologically, regular practice harmonizes the nervous and endocrine systems, two systems which figure heavily in emotional well-being. In addition, practicing Bikram Yoga cultivates the mental faculties of faith, self-control, concentration, determination and patience.  As we become more aware of our inner life, we notice how events, interactions, and even the atmospheric pressure affect us. When we are aware, we can exercise choice in our response. This helps us balance our emotional life.


Can I practice while menstruating?

It is perfectly safe to do Bikram's yoga when menstruating. Inverted postures are normally the postures contraindicated for menstruation. But there are no inverted postures in Bikram's yoga. It is very good for toning the reproductive system as it directly affects the reproductive organs and the endocrine glands--pituitary, pineal and thyroid gland in particular. The women's cycle becomes regular; complaints of irregularity and PMS decrease.


What are the health benefits of Bikram Yoga?

There are numerous benefits to Bikram Yoga. It promotes a healthy body weight, reduces stress, increases blood circulation and improves strength and flexibility. It could reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disease.  Bikram yoga also strengthens the spine, corrects posture, eases back pain, improves digestion and elimination and boosts the immune system.*


*We try to provide the best possible information for our students. The general health information we provide is based on our personal experience  and research provided by Bikram Headquarters. We are not medical practitioners and our program is not designed to substitute for professional health care. If you have more questions, please be sure to consult with your own health care provider about your particular situation.

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