Hot Yoga – Hot Body
In a Bikram class the teacher guides you through a series of 26 postures and after a couple of classes one begins to welcome to sequence and a certain amount of peaceful pride sets in at knowing that you are getting the hang of this – because in your very first class (depending on your fitness level) you might end up on your knees gasping for air.
The class is very simply a precise sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that must be performed within 90 minutes in a heated (100-degrees-plus) room to allow the body to stretch, detoxify, relieve stress, tone, and heal chronic pain such as arthritis, joint aches, knee injuries, back problems, and more.
There are a multitude of benefits to getting into downward facing dog and sweating it out, Flexibility, strength, Breath, Cardio (Believe it or not your heart works the same way doing yoga postures in a heated room as it does when you’re running a mile) Detox, Focus and Healing.
Here are some “need to knows”:
- You’ll need to be able to handle the heat in the room, perhaps visit the sauna at your gym once or twice and try to stick it out for a little longer than usual. When you’re in the class you’ll be spending 90 minutes in the heat exerting yourself, if it gets too much – don’t panic, sit down and calmly breathe through your nose until you feel ready to carry on.
- Make sure you come to yoga properly hydrated. Aim to consume about 2 liters of water during the day before you hit an evening class. If you don’t get around to drinking the full amount of water don’t flood your body right before class, the last you thing want is a liter of water sloshing around in your belly while you’re doing yoga.
- Don’t have a feast before your class, rather eat something light like half a banana or a cup of applesauce for a pre-class energy boost, this might work for us but it's different for everybody, so test out what works best for you. Make sure to re-hydrate and replenish the electrolytes lost during practice with coconut water or Nuun-infused water after the class.
- Only do what is you can, There's a clear difference between discomfort and pain and you need to listen to your body, don’t over extend yourself at the risk of injuring yourself. If you can’t get into a posture right away, don’t force it, next time you’ll get closer.
- Don’t wipe away the sweat, your sweat is helping your body to maintain normal body temperature, if you wipe it away, you disrupt homeostasis, the body’s natural, intelligent, and highly adaptive mechanism of self-regulation.
Written by Celest Nirenstein