Bikram Yoga is a relatively new presence in my life.
Even though I did Bikram pretty consistently in 2011, I was still surprised by its intensity when I decided to jump in again a month or so ago. I’ve learned that it’s vitally important to take care of your body before and after the class. Here are some strategies I’ve come up with that I plan to follow so that I do not feel completely destroyed afterward:
1) Make a real effort to eat well during the twenty-four hours leading up to Bikram class. Eating well ensures that I’ll feel less nauseous while I struggle though 90 minutes in the hot room. In general whole grains, lots of veggies, and a generous amount of protein will do the trick. Don’t shy away from carbs and fats! Your body needs all of those in order to maintain such high energy.
2) Drink a good amount of water the day of my class. I lose a lot of water, and it should be no surprise considering the room is heated to 105-110 degrees. It’s not enough to brink water to my class. I really have to prepare for the class well in advance by staying hydrated.
3) Don’t expect it to be easy. I can’t expect Bikram yoga to be easy. And if I find it easy when I’m doing do it, I’m doing something wrong. The whole point is to push myself, to detoxify my body and mind! I’ll ache during the class, and ache after the class. I’ll feel nauseous. I’ll be short of breath. I’ll want to give up. But I won’t.
4) Don’t over-think it either. It’s definitely important to go in with realistic expectations, but it’s equally important not to think too much about how difficult it will be. I might convince myself not to go at all. Oops! (I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past.) Make like Nike – just do it.
5) Repeat steps (1) and (2) after the class. I’ll be staving afterward, guaranteed. Food is a given. And even if I don’t immediately feel thirsty, I’ll have to tell myself to drink lots of water anyway. Because if I don’t, the dehydration will hit me in the face like a brick wall when I’m in the middle of a two hour meeting later that day. Alligator lips, dark thirsty eyes and a slow mind is just not helpful or pleasant under any circumstance.
6) Take a warm, soothing bubble bath! If I don’t have time to take a bath right after the class, I’ll definitely plan to take one later that day. I have to make time for it – even if I can only soak for 15-20 minutes. It’s entirely worth it. It’ll relax all of my muscles and I’ll feel much better the next day, guaranteed.
If you are considering doing Bikram yoga, especially if it is for the first time, I really hope these tips help you to have a positive experience!