6 Tips for Bikram Yoga Beginners
People choose to practice yoga for many different reasons: exercise, general health, spirituality, mental health (to name just a few). Bikram yoga is a category of yoga where participants engage in a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a heated room.
Are you brand new to yoga or maybe just to Bikram yoga? There are a few tips to keep in mind to help you jump into the world.
1. Prep for a Class
So you've decided to give Bikram yoga a try. Although many books and videos attempt to teach yoga to individuals, classes are the easiest way for beginners to start.
Handling that first class can be a little intimidating. Shape Magazine reminds readers that it's OK to feel a little awkward during your first experience. Everyone who has ever done yoga had to go to their very first class. Here are few tips for your very first Bikram class:
- Bring or rent a mat as Bikram yoga encourages sweating (you may want to ask your instructor for brand recommendations if you consider buying your own)
- Wear comfortable clothing, Darla Magee, writing for About.com, suggests moisture-wicking fabrics and shorts that stay close to the body (rather than loose-fitting sports shorts)
- Ditch the shoes and socks
- Bring a towel
- Drink water (try to drink 2 liters before a class)
2. Get to Class Early
Especially if you’re a yoga beginner, arrive to class early. This will allow for time to find a spot, get situated, and ask the instructor any questions you might have. Choosing a spot in the middle and toward the back can allow you to both see the instructor and the other students, which will help give you visual clues to how your poses should look.
3. Expect to Work
Yoga poses for beginners can be a little challenging, but Bikram yoga’s heated room and guiding instructor will help you through the series of positions. Just trying to do the positions will result in more flexibility and strength.
Bikram yoga isn’t chanting in a dark room — it’s a real workout complete with movement and sweat. The physical activity and mental focus connects body and mind.
4. Just Breathe
Breathing exercises are an important part of all yoga activities; Bikram included. According to Just Here Just Now writes that the practice of being still and just breathing is often one of the hardest to master. The ending pose, Savasana, is one of relaxation and stillness. Use it to calm the mind and body.
5. Embrace Some Real Benefits
The heat of a Bikram yoga room warms your muscles making it easier to stretch into poses you may have never attempted before. Over time, your flexibility should improve with this stretching and the subsequently improved blood circulation.
One of the best benefits of yoga is the stress reduction. Focusing your mind on the poses and breathing practices pulls your thoughts away from the busy day and into a state of relaxation. According to the Mayo Clinic, yoga’s stress reduction benefits include improved blood pressure and lowered risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease.
Dr. Timothy McCall highlights a few more choice benefits on Yoga Journal:
- Bends and twists keep the spine supple and protected
- Many poses require you to lift your own body weight, resulting in strengthened bones
- Some studies have found that yoga poses can increase your serotonin levels (happy hormone), so smile on!
6. You’re a Beginner! Give it Time
Doing yoga is like learning any sport. It takes time and practice to build up muscle and endurance. Gloria Ives, writing for Active.com, says even if you're already in pretty good shape, learning new yoga forms is a process. Learning the correct posture and forms can take a while, so definitely give it more than one class.
So while you're a beginner in yoga and still building up those muscles, don't push yourself beyond your limits. Kathryn Budig, writing for Women's Health Magazine, suggests trying not to compare yourself to the other students. Trying to get yourself to a level of a more experienced student could lead you try pushing your boundaries too far (a recipe for an injury!).
Yoga can be a fantastic practice for anyone of any fitness level. Beginners of all levels are welcome at Bikram Hot Yoga Miami. There’s no better time to start practicing yoga.