Heading into my first Bikram yoga class, I had no idea what to expect, nor how to prepare for it. So that you don’t have to face the same hassle of working it all out yourself, here are five tips that I wish that I had known before laying a foot on the mat!
1. Drink water before, during and after class
Given that Bikram classes can get up to 40 degrees celcius, you can bet that it’ll be an absolute sweat-a-thon. To prepare for it, drink at least one litre of water an hour before the class, but not to the point of getting bloated. Bring your own water bottle with you too so that you can take a few sips throughout the class, and once the class has finished, remember to replenish your fluids.
2. Eat after, rather than before, class
Consider attending a Bikram yoga class in the same way that you would to going on a roller coaster ride. Would you want to fill up your stomach before going through a 360 degree loop? Didn’t think so! If you want to eat before class, eat something light an hour before, or play it safe by postponing the chow down till after class.
3. Bring the right gear
Wear comfortable clothing that you’re prepared to sweat in. Obviously, that means that anything thick and grey is a no-no. Also, bring a towel along, especially if you plan on borrowing a mat from your studio. You just never know when it was cleaned last! Or bring your own mat.
4. Breathe through your nose, deeply and always
Breathe deeply through your nose and down into your stomach. And don’t hold it. Keep breathing as you move through each asana.
5. Do what you can
While it may be tempting to push your body to its limits, don’t go beyond it. Fainting won’t do anyone any good, and pulling a muscle or slipping a disc could put you out for days or even weeks. Incremental progress is still progress and will lead to more flexibility over time. Go slow and if you feel dizzy, there’s nothing wrong with lying down in savasana (corpse pose) or leaving the room for a breather.
For an idea of what to expect at a Bikram yoga class, read about my experience here!
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