First things first – Bikram yoga is not Hot yoga, and Hot yoga is not Bikram. Whichever of the two you opt for, you need to know a few things that will help you get all geared up for your first class! While both are set in a heated room designed to make you sweat, there are key differences that separate the two.
Invented by Bikram Choudhury, a yogi from India who has made quite a name for himself amongst international celebrities, Bikram yoga is performed in a 105° (40°C) heated room (called ‘torture chambers’) and 40% humidity, while hot yoga rooms can vary in humidity and the studios are generally heated to anywhere from 80-100°.
Below is a comprehensive list of other differences between the two:
- Bikram yoga consists of the same 26 poses and two breathing exercises performed in the same order every class for exactly 90 minutes, while Hot yoga can be comprised of many different poses that vary by class and studio.
- The floor of Bikram yoga studios must be carpeted with mirrors on the front wall and bright lighting, while Hot yoga may be performed with dim lights, by candlelight, and on any surface.
- Bikram yoga instructors must be trained by Bikram Choudhury himself and their studios must be affiliated in order to be considered true Bikram yoga.
- There can be no music, clapping, or hands-on instructor adjustments in Bikram yoga whereas Hot yoga often has music playing during the class and is followed by a round of applause.
- Students are not permitted to talk during Bikram yoga whereas Hot yoga students are allowed to interact with each other and with the instructor.
So are you now all set for your first Hot or Bikram (whichever you lean towards) class? Heads up – just a few other tips:-
Watch what and when you eat
Each class, especially the first one, can be very physically demanding and as such, you need all the energy you can get to get you through it. So take care that you eat but also take note that you should do so at least 2 hours before or else your first class might to prove to be a tee bit uncomfortable.
It is important that you keep yourself hydrated during class so drink plenty of water hours before class but not just right before as it is improper to disrupt the entire class for a bathroom break. After class, make sure you drink plenty of water and coconut water.
Don’t be late
Arrive at least fifteen minutes early so you can lay out your mat in a good spot, arrange your towels, complete any necessary paperwork and be chilled out and ready to begin your practice. You may even introduce yourself to the instructor and receive significant pointers!
What to bring
Bikram or Hot, it is going to get hot and you are going to sweat; so bring two towels – one to lay on your mat to keep you from sliding away, and one for wiping your brow and hands. Also make sure what you wear is breathable and lightweight.
Although every part of your body and mind will tell you to get out of there, hold on. If you feel like it’s too much for you, just be still. Just being in the room and relaxing is yoga-ing. No need to push yourself on the very first day. And once class is over, don’t rush out; take your time to get up and collect your things. Listen to your body and enjoy how it feels.