Bikram / Hot Yoga Part V: Final Answer

In Savasana. Photo: Tarnalberry on Flickr

I received some literature my first day of class in Bikram’s.  My thoughts about it…

“General Hints to Assist in the Postures”

  1. When you are in the final position of the posture remember to let go and relax into any pain you might be experiencing – just like when you have a legwax! I’m not making the connection here…help me out.
  2. Say positive affirmations to yourself whilst doing the postures – this really changes the energy. I’m thinking positive affirmations whilst resisting the urge to run like a bat out of hell into a cooler room.
  3. Feel what is happening to your body in the postures. Don’t focus on the heat because you won’t feel anything else.
  4. In Savasana try to visualize what is happening in your body as a result of the last exercise. What last exercise? I’m sorry, did I miss something? I’m taking a nap. Please don’t bother me.
  5. Remember in yoga that the object is not the posture but your body. Yes, and my body in that posture is one messed up object.
  6. Before any of the balancing postures, focus on one spot in front of you to center yourself. Don’t focus on the person beside you who is dripping sweat onto your mat, stinky, and making funny noises – oops sorry, that was me.
  7. Always accentuate the positive by focusing on what you can do and not what you find difficult. Focus on the breath, this you CAN do…and while you’re at it make sure that you are not going to pass out…that would make things difficult.

There is also an informational flyer posted in the bathrooms for your reading pleasure while doing your business. For first timers it suggests that you attend Bikram classes every day for 60 days straight.

I tried it for a week.

My conclusion?

That’s like telling a beginner runner to run 6 miles every day for a couple of months until you get used to it. It’s painful, exhausting and I do not recommend it. Like any form of physical exercise, start out slow and work up from where you are.  If you are in yoga shape and are currently practicing 90 minutes a day of power yoga then go ahead and practice every day.

My recommendation?

Start out with 2 days a week and work up to 3 days a week your first month. Depending on participation in other activities on your off day you may boost or lesson your frequency.

Final Answer?

I tend to be very active on my off days and like to snow shoe, hike, teach yoga, lift weights, etc. So for me a good routine was twice a week. After this 30 day period though, I will be back to my own studio doing HOT yoga, POWER, and Anusara – I much prefer it to Bikram on a regular basis. I’ll reserve Bikram for the really cold winter days when I’m looking to be dripping wet with sweat.

Side Note: I did enjoy the instructors at the Bikram studio I attended. All were solid in their knowledge of Bikram, concise and consistent in their instruction. I enjoyed one instructor (Tom?) most as he weaved in modification tips, extra instruction, and direction for beginners. As an instructor I appreciated the way he made everyone feel comfortable in each pose and emphasized going at their own pace.

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