Answers to the most frequently asked questions

Why so much heat?

There are so many benefits to practicing hot yoga that way we do. Here are a few:

  • The heat warms your muscles and soft tissues to allow you to stretch more comfortably, deeply, and safely.
  • The heavy sweating is both great for your skin (the largest organ in your body) and also allows your body to learn how to cool itself down the way it was designed to.
  • Increases circulation by temporarily increasing blood vessel size and decreasing the thickness of your blood, meaning better blood flow for better, faster healing.
  • Boosts your immune system.
  • In being extremely challenging, the strong heat helps you to reduce negative thought patterns and develop tremendous concentration, determination, and discipline.
  • Increases the fitness benefits of your yoga practice by boosting your heart rate.
  • Improves the function of your nervous system, and helps your body to operate more efficiently under every condition.

At first, the heat may feel like your enemy. However, in time (really, truly,) it will become your best friend!

Why do you use carpet?

Not only is the softer floor more forgiving and more comfortable for your bones and joints (especially helpful if you experience arthritis or knee pain), it’s also much safer than hardwood for our sweaty practice – no puddles of sweat! Carpet gives the right balance of traction and the possibility to slip just a bit. This provides enough resistance so that you build the strength in your muscles to hold yourself up, instead of relying on the floor to help you.

The even better news for hygiene is that it’s not “carpet,” per se, it’s Flotex! This anti-allergenic, hospital-grade flooring has built-in anti-microbial treatment that prevents harmful bacteria like E-Coli, MRSA, and the like.

Why do we do the same postures every time?

Never fear, you won’t get bored! While the sequence of postures and breathing exercises are always the same, you will find your practice is different every day. We keep it consistent for these reasons: mastery, concentration, meditation, and self-realization.

Mastery: As a beginner, not having to anticipate what will come next helps create a shorter learning curve. The repetition helps you to see progress in posture accuracy and depth, and to measure how much your mind & body improve with a consistent practice. Mastery of anything creates the possibility of skillful living.

Concentration: Concentration is more available when there is not constant change and surprise. No distractions!

Meditation: The practice may appear to be just physical activity, yet it is also a form of moving meditation. Especially in coordination with our dialogue (the words we use to teach), the repetition of the series deepens your ability to concentrate on the present action and frees us from the overthinking, overanxious part of our brains.

Self-Realization: Over time you start to see your habitual reactions and, as a result, to dissolve them. You learn that your experience is created by you, not by what is external. You observe your development under the microscope of the repeated postures and sequence. By building this awareness of your thoughts and emotions and how they change over time, you develop insight.

All of this is eventually taken from the yoga mat into life, as you become able to target your deeper levels of self and harness your full power.

Why is the class so long?
Bikram Yoga is a prescription for health, and it doesn’t work “a la carte.” Just like you wouldn’t take half of your antibiotics, you can’t pick the parts you like or take a shortcut and get the same benefits. The things that get cut to make the class shorter, and “save you time”?

Savasana, which allows your body to reset and your mind to meditate.

The 2nd set. The 1st set is diagnostic, you’re figuring out what to do and how to do it. In the 2nd set, after you’ve made more space in your body, you can go a little deeper and gain the maximum therapeutic benefit.

In the end, what you save in time with shorter asana practice, you ultimately lose in health. As we often say, would you like to suffer for 90 minutes, or 90 years? 😉

The time you spend in class is an investment in the quality of your life, and the 90-minutes Bikram Yoga system has been designed and proven to transform your body, your life, and your world.

What if I am not flexible?

Be happy, this means you are a perfect candidate for this practice! Saying you’re too stiff to do yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath. If you are stiff, Bikram Yoga will be especially helpful. The heat helps you relax your muscles and ligaments, making it easier to stretch and bend. Over time, through consistent Bikram Yoga, you will develop the ideal balance of strength and flexibility.

Important Note: it’s also not good to be too flexible! Too much of either strength or flexibility causes problems, which is why Bikram Yoga uses both to bring you back to the balance you need!

There are no prerequisites to practicing Bikram Yoga. Just do the postures the right way, using what strength and flexibility you have, and you will get what you need.

How often should I practice?

Depends on how *amazing* you’d like to feel! For optimal results, we recommend you practice at least twice a week. Less often still helps (regular commitment is more important than frequent commitment,) but the benefits are not as quick or complete. Especially starting your practice, the more often you are able to practice, the more quickly you will adapt to the heat and see progress. It is also helpful to increase your “dosage” if you are healing from an injury.

Many of our long-term practitioners even choose to practice 5-6 times per week, and twice a year we host a studio-wide 60 Day Challenge where over 100 students practice daily for two months.

Can I practice Bikram Yoga when I'm pregnant?

First of all, congratulations!

If you are newly pregnant and have never tried Bikram Yoga before, we recommend to wait until after you’ve had your baby to start. Pregnancy is not the time to start any new form of exercise. We can’t wait to see you after you’ve had your baby.

If your pregnancy is complicated in any way, please consult your health care practitioner (physician or midwife) to ensure it’s a good fit.

If you are an experienced student, Bikram Yoga can be a terrific way to stay healthy during pregnancy and to prepare for childbirth. It helps you to learn how to breathe, stay mentally flexible and build physical endurance, and to stay comfortable in your body even through all the changes pregnancy offers. The guidelines for practicing are a little different – there is a special set of modifications developed by Rajashree Choudhury for during and after pregnancy – so please do contact us and we look forward to helping you in your new journey. We have had many students over the past decades continue their Bikram Yoga practice, even all the way up to delivery!

Check out our blog for more tips on getting the most out of your practice during pregnancy and postpartum.

What is a good age to start – can kids do Bikram Yoga?
You can do this yoga at any age. This yoga is great for kids and teenagers to help regulate hormones and hone their concentration, perseverance, and balance. What an amazing tool for them to have AS they grow physically and mentally! Prior to puberty, kids may have difficulty regulating their body properly in the heat because their ability to sweat is not fully developed. It is possible they will also struggle to focus given the length of the class. For this reason, younger kids are welcome to take a break from the room (we do ask that they be accompanied by a guardian.)

We also recommend you keep an eye out on our Family Yoga schedule – it is currently on hiatus, but we plan to renew as pandemic conditions improve!

What if I feel overwhelmed or sick during class?
This class is intended to stimulate your body and mind so it’s completely normal to feel a bit dizzy, nauseous, or light-headed when you begin, or return after having a break. Good! Something is definitely happening! These sensations are information from your body – stay present to what it is communicating and respect it’s messages.

If you need to at any point, stand still and breathe. Sit down and breathe. In the floor series, rest in savasana and breathe. Notice the theme? Do less, breathe more. Most of the time, one of these will help the sensations pass. If not, and you need help, alert the teacher. We have all been there!

Remember, too, that the purpose of your yoga is not to have perfect postures; the purpose of yoga is to improve the quality of your life, and that begins by connecting with yourself.

Finally, set yourself up for success: before your next class, make sure you are well hydrated and have sufficient nutrition.

Should I practice Bikram Yoga if I am injured?
If you have a severe, acute injury, rest for a few days. Then, it is time to let the healing begin! Bikram Yoga was designed to restore your body to full & proper function – so it is even more important when you are injured or in pain to come practice!

Here’s the key: practice more often, and do less. When you practice, don’t push past pain. If a posture is painful, do a step less. Show yourself compassion. Your job will be to be consistent and super patient. You should be able to maintain every posture in stillness, with breathing normal. Even if it’s 1% of the depth. The more often you can practice, the more you will stimulate your body’s own natural, powerful healing mechanisms.

Should I practice Bikram Yoga if I am sick?

If you are contagious, please rest at home and come back to the studio when you are feeling better. Practice at home with our live online classes (even if only the floor series.) We also have audio recordings of many of our teachers available on YouTube. When you return to the studio, Bikram Yoga can be a great way to clean out the last traces of the illness and speed up your recovery.

You talk a lot about hydration. What does that mean?

Being hydrated means having sufficient water and minerals to help your body operate properly. We need both water and certain minerals (sodium, magnesium, and potassium) in sufficient quantity. Unfortunately, most people walk around mildly dehydrated all the time in normal life! Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, skin problems, digestive issues, mild depressive symptoms, and generally reduced or sub-optimal health.

To avoid this, make sure to hydrate throughout your day, not just immediately before or after class. The more hydrated you are, the most comfortable your practice is and the less water you need to drink during class. Furthermore, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. If you can’t do that (or need an additional boost,) make sure your hydration includes electrolytes. Electrolytes are salts and minerals that can be lost during profuse sweating, and symptoms that your body needs more include dizziness, headache, cramping, and fatigue.

If you are starting Bikram Yoga, practicing daily, or returning after a break, increasing your electrolyte intake can be THE key to feeling good during and after your practice! If you need some while you are in the studio, you can purchase electrolyte packets and Himalayan pink salt.

When should I not practice Bikram Yoga?
  • If you’re sick. (Practice at home, even just the floor series.)
  • If you’re under the influence of alcohol, painkillers, or recreational drugs.
  • During the acute phase of injury.
  • Within two hours of eating a big meal. Instead, practice later, once your body has had the chance to digest.
  • Practice with caution if you are newly pregnant, fasting, just given blood, or dealing with an eating disorder.

Have another question? Email us – we’re here to help!