Sweating Glitter: What I Wish I Knew Before Going to Bikram Yoga

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In this edition of Sweating Glitter, I’ve decided to talk about Bikram Yoga. I’ve had a few questions about it and Kimmie inspired me to do more of a “What I Wish I Knew About Bikram Before My First Time,” post. These are things you’ll probably read elsewhere or find out quickly into your first class, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to know them first. Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga adapted by Bikram Choudhury from traditional yoga, but it’s the same 26 postures every class in a 105 degree and 40% humidity heated room for 90 minutes. Bikram and hot yoga differ because Bikram is the same 26 postures every class. Hot yoga is typically yoga practiced in a heated room. The heated room encourages flexibility, muscle strengthen, weight loss, detoxifying, and helps with chronic pain. The benefits are fabulous, but it’s definitely something to prepare for:

  • You’re going to sweat A LOT, like more than you’ve ever sweat in your life. It’s normal, okay, and it means your body is detoxifying. It’s nasty at first, but you’ll soon see that you won’t be bothered by it because everyone is sweating just as much if not more. 
  • Get hydrated before class! Seriously in the few hours before class, try to drink about 2 L of water or 8 – 9 cups. It won’t help you to guzzle right before class because that could cause you to get even more nauseous during class.
  • On the contrary, try not to eat anything or drink caffeine two hours before class because you could get nauseous. You’ll be surprised how much energy you’ll muster during class.
  • Wear as little clothing as you’re comfortable with. Seriously it’s hot and you need things that are moisture wicking. When I’m feeling good about my body, I will wear just a sports bra and these yoga shorts, otherwise it’s those yoga shorts/Nike Shorts and these GapFit tops.
  • Be on time. Give your self 15 min – 30 min before class to register and then find a spot for your mat because class can get packed quickly.
  • Bring a beach towel or a yoga towel for the top of your yoga mat. I even bring a small hand towel to wipe sweat off of my face even though it’s not encouraged, it’s helpful your first time.
  • The instructor will most likely not be doing the poses with you, so stand in the back so you can watch others in front of you while taking the instruction from the sound of the instructor’s voice.
  • Make it your goal to just stay in the room for the full 90 minutes. It’s going to be hard, trust me. I read once that you will feel like you’re going to die and that is a strong possibility because it’s a completely new sensation to you even if you’ve done yoga before.
  • To achieve the goal of staying in the room, if you’re feeling tired, nauseous, dehydrated, dizzy etc, sit down or lay down. There isn’t any judgement in that room. Even still after I’ve been doing this for almost 4 months now, I still sit during postures if I’m feeling exhausted or nauseous. Listen to your body and breathe through your nose. You will survive.
  • Try your best, but don’t push yourself if you can’t do a posture. You won’t be a pro, just take your time and do as much as your body allows. There are poses that I still struggle with. One day you’ll get it, but today might not be that day and that’s okay.
  • Try to enjoy it. It’s a new experience that your body will thank you for. I promise.

I wish I could say I always enjoy the drive to Bikram, but I just don’t. But I never hate the way the way I feel afterwards. It is a great practice that helps with all areas of your life. If you hated the first time, make it a point to go back and try again. I promise it gets easier and (shocker) the heat won’t bother you and you’ll be able to get stronger and more flexible.

xx – Dan

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5 thoughts on “Sweating Glitter: What I Wish I Knew Before Going to Bikram Yoga

  1. This was just the post I needed to see. I’m heading home for the summer, and I was thinking about switching to Bikram. I was (and still am!) a bit nervous about it, but I think I’ll try it out even just for a few weeks.

    • Ahh I’m so glad!! You must try it. You’ll fall in love. I was really nervous my first few times but its a really comforting and calm environment. :)

  2. Let me second that emotion. I have been doing Bikram on and off for over 10 years and it is A-MA-ZING. It literally has changed my life. I think your post is great because so many people quit on Bikram too early in the game because they are overwhelmed. If people can be prepared for what to expect going in, I think they are more likely to stick with it.

  3. Pingback: Bikram Yoga: I think we need to take a break | urbanhealthandwellness

  4. I’m about 2 months in to my Bikram ADDICTION – I love it – it is everything you described. Even when it’s the last class of the night and it’s way hotter than 105 degrees (I live in the desert to boot)…and I’m dying to get out of there – as soon as I’m out the door I am thinking about how much I look forward to going back ASAP…

    I sweat like a freak – and I love it :)

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