Combine the 40 degree celsius and 90-minute class time, is it any wonder that Bikram tops even the fittest woman’s blacklist? But if you’re a newcomer, have no fear – no one expects you to have all 26 poses memorised or even keep up your first few tries.
“As a beginner, it’s most important to listen to the instructor’s cues. If you get lost, just peek at someone to see what to do,” says Susan Antonaccio Goldstein, co-owner of Bikram Yoga SoHo in New York City. Here are ways to get yourself better adjusted to your hot session.
#1 Wear less
It’s easier to move and stay cool in a bra or tank top and shorts than in a t-shirt and pants.
#2 Pack two towels
You won’t want to use the wet one you sweated all over during class for your post-workout wipe-down.
#3 Drink up
Sipping water is encouraged, except during the first 25 minutes of class. After that warm-up, the entire class will take a water break, often referred to as “party time” – and you’re always free to have one between later poses too.
#4 Know when to hold them
Unlike flowing yoga, in Bikram you’ll hang out in a pose for 10 to 60 seconds.
#5 Rest right
Feeling light-headed or nauseous? Sit or kneel quietly on your mat. Keep your eyes open, breathe an rejoin the class when you’re ready. Don’t do child’s pose. Putting your head below your heart can make dizziness worse. That’s why it’s best to plant yourself in the second or third row, but steer clear of the center where temps tend to be hottest.
#6 Look up
The first 50 minutes of a class consists of standing poses, many of which emphasise on balance. Instead of finding a spot on the floor to focus on, pick a spot right in front of you on the mirror. Keeping your eyes raised will help prevent slumping.