Friday, February 14, 2014

Bikram Yoga

Hey, everyone!  HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!  I hope you have a great day and feel loved by everyone around you: friends, family, significant other, and most importantly God.  You don't have to be in a relationship to celebrate love :)  I'll share with you what I did for Joe in my next post; I forgot to take pictures of it this morning!

Recently, I started attending Bikram yoga classes.  My friend Casie invited me to try it out (she had a free guest pass), and I've always been interested in trying it out!  I jumped at the opportunity and have been doing it ever since.

Bikram yoga, or "hot yoga" as it is often called, was developed by Bikram Choudhury in response to a devastating knee injury he suffered.  He was able to rehab his knee, even after doctors told him he would never walk again, by practicing yoga with his teacher.

His practice is designed to help people, regardless of their physical ability, heal their mind, body, and soul.  It takes place in a 105 degree room with 40-50% humidity, which allows for additional muscle relaxation.

Bikram yoga focuses on 26 postures (with two breathing exercises) that target different parts of the body, improve internal organ function, and help circulate blood to the entire body.
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When I first tried hot yoga, I was expected a relaxing class in a dimly lit room that just so happened to be sweltering hot.  Well, I was wrong!  The instructor walked in, turned on the lights, and we got to WORK.  The 26 postures are designed to strengthen your body and improve flexibility, and I was sweating after just the first breathing exercise!

I really do love the practice.  Even though I'm drenched within the first few minutes, I feel fresh and rejuvenated afterward.  I do feel a difference in my body when I go regularly and when I don't (like this week), which shows me that the practice is working!

Here are a few suggestions if you are trying Bikram yoga for the first time:

  • HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE before you go.  You are sweating as soon as you walk in the room, and you aren't going to make it through all 26 postures without feeling sick if you don't drink lots of water beforehand.  I usually drink 4 of these babies at work during the day (plus another small glass or two when I get home) when I plan on attending a session that night.
  • Bring a towel for your mat.  You get pretty sweaty when practicing, so bringing a towel gives you a little more grip on your yoga mat.  Plus, your towel will keep your mat from getting too much sweat on it, reducing the change it'll smell :)
  • Wear some moisture-wicking clothing.  You'll need to wipe your hands at some points, and anything else just won't cut it!  I wear an athletic tank top and leggings so that my legs have some grip when doing Tree Pose.
  • Be prepared to work.  I already talked about that, but don't expect to relax!
  • Drink something with electrolytes afterward.  After sweating so much for 90 minutes, you need to replenish your body.  I have been purchasing a Vitamin Water at the yoga studio afterward, and they are doing the trick!
  • Practice regularly.  They say for first-timers to come back within 24 hours to get the full benefits.  I didn't do that, but I do go twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays (normally).  When I skip a day, I can feel a difference the next time I go.
Overall, bikram yoga is a great workout accessible to all ages, abilities, and body types.  I really enjoy it, and I think it will become a regular workout for me, especially as I come out of race training mode.  If you haven't tried it already, I suggest you do!

Speaking of new-to-me types of yoga, have you heard of Doga before?  It's a relatively new trend that is what it sounds like: yoga for/with your dog!  People take their dogs with them to a special studio and practice yoga with their favorite pooch.  This includes doing some of the postures to your dog, as well!  Check out this blog post about Doga that recently shared with me.  It makes me wonder how people keep their dog from visiting the other participants!  I know that Wewii would not have been a very good dogi (haha, see what I did there)!!

Question for you: Have you ever tried Bikram/hot yoga?  Would you ever try Doga?


  1. I've never tried hot yoga before, but I know so many people who are addicted to it! Sadly there aren't any studios close by, so I've never had the chance to check it out. I am definitely going to have to make an effort to find one though! Great tips!!

    1. It is kind of hard to find those studios, but it's still good even if you can only go every once in a while. It's a good "cleanse" if you can't regularly practice

  2. Good point on the leggings! I always wear capris and those work out well. I did wear shorts (form fitting!) last summer and it was more slippery than I expected! :) Glad you are loving it, can't wait to make my return to it!

    1. Still haven't tried the shorts, but I just see myself slipping off myself! I just get so sweaty!