What should I expect?
Expect to sweat! 105° is hot, so you should dress and prepare appropriately. Please arrive at least 15 minutes before class begins so that you will have time to get checked in and get oriented. There is no need to reserve a spot in class beforehand—you can just show up! Remember that yoga is a practice — be patient with yourself! Your only goal for your first class is to stay in the room for the full class time — that’s it! As long as you do the best you can, and follow the instructions of your teacher, you will get all the benefits of the postures, whether you can do them to the fullest extent or not. Take it easy at first, and you can begin to push yourself later on.
Why the heat?
There are several reasons for the heat. Firstly, when the room is warm, and especially when it is warmer than body temperature, the chance of injury is greatly reduced. This means that you will be able to go deeper into the postures than you could otherwise, without hurting yourself. Your muscles and joints will be able to stretch safely, greatly increasing your flexibility. Secondly, the heat and the humidity make it more difficult for your lungs to take the oxygen out of the air, so they have to work harder. This turns the practice into a cardiovascular workout, building strength in the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Thirdly, the heat helps with detoxification. Hatha yoga removes waste products from the body’s tissues, and the sweating helps to remove them from the body. Other benefits include increased vasodilation (widening of the blood vessels), which helps more blood get to the muscles and other parts of the body–more oxygen gets delivered, and more waste products are taken away. When blood passes through warm muscles, the oxygen carried on the red blood cells detaches more easily, nourishing the entire body.
What are the benefits of Bikram yoga?
Practitioners of Bikram hot yoga have found benefits of all kinds, ranging from stress relief, weight loss, increased strength and flexibility, increased energy, and expanded lung capacity to relief of chronic medical conditions. The benefits are myriad — with regular practice you will see improvement in all areas of your life, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Will I lose weight?
Yes, if you need to. The heat helps to speed up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids in the body, and helps to burn fat more easily. But yoga helps to bring all systems of the body into balance — so it can help to normalize the endocrine and digestive systems, helping you to lose weight if you need to lose it and gain weight if you need to gain it.
What if I have illnesses or injuries?
If you have a particular illness or injury, please let your teacher know before class. Most of the time you can practice normally, but there may be some modifications to the postures that you will need to utilize. Yoga is an excellent tool for healing bodily injury, and special attention is paid in this series to the spine and the knees — two areas where injuries are extremely common. As always, make sure you follow the teacher’s instructions.
I’ve never done yoga before. Can I do this?
Absolutely! This is an all-levels class that is perfect for beginners.
But seriously, I can’t even touch my toes. Aren’t I too inflexible to do yoga?
It is a common misconception that only flexible people can do yoga. In reality, the more inflexible you are, the more you need yoga! Practicing hatha yoga builds strength, flexibility, balance, and concentration. After a few classes, you will amaze yourself with how quickly your flexibility will increase.
I feel dizzy and nauseous during class. Is this normal?
It is not unusual to feel nauseous or dizzy during your first few classes, until you get used to the heat. Make sure you are well-hydrated when you come to class, and that you breathe during postures. Holding your breath can cause headaches and dizziness. You should also make sure that you replenish your electrolytes (sodium and potassium) after class, as these minerals are frequently lost through sweat. Sport drinks are an easy way to do this, as are vitamin-C packets. If you prefer a “natural,” food-based method, you can eat a banana with sea salt, or take some powdered kelp.
What should I bring to class?
You should bring a yoga mat, a large towel (two if you sweat profusely), and a bottle or two of water. We do have mats and towels available for rent if you do not have your own. For the prenatal class, please bring a pillow, cushion, and/or a folded blanket to use during the final relaxation.
What should I wear to class?
Light, comfortable clothing is best — you want to make sure that your movements are not restricted, and that the teacher can see your body. Remember that it is going to be hot, and you will be sweating; so loose, bulky clothing is not recommended. Women generally wear a tank top or sports bra and shorts; and men frequently wear only shorts. Shorts are better than pants, so the teacher is able to see your knees.
Should I eat before class?
It is best to practice on an empty stomach — try not to eat anything for 1-3 hours before class. If you must eat something, choose things like juice or fruit that are easily digestible, and try to eat them when you have at least an hour before class. Having food in your stomach interferes with your practice, and can make you nauseous in the hot room.
How much should I drink before class?
It’s best to drink water throughout the day, rather than trying to stock up right before class. Keeping your body well-hydrated will help with any dizziness or nausea during class, and will keep you from having to pee in the middle of your practice. You can drink water in class, but try to wait for the first “official” water break (about 25 minutes into class) before drinking, to let your body warm up; and try to avoid drinking DURING a posture—support your classmates and wait until the breaks between postures to drink.
How often should I come?
As often as you can! Any yoga is better than none, but to really see improvement in your body, you should practice at least 3 times a week. Read More