12. More questions…

With a proper diet is Bikram Yoga good for weight loss?

As a beginner, remember that it will take a regular practice over a period of time for your body to begin to work properly with the postures. Only then will you body systems begin to function more optimally.

You must also remember that Bikram Yoga alone is not an answer to health and weight issues. Your practice has to be combined with other healthy living habits.

Over time your appetite will normalize and unhealthy craving begin to diminish. Eat the best quality food you can, hydrate well, practice regularly and you will have a better chance of achieving a more optimal weight.

I've been experiencing tremendous pain in my various muscles since I've started Bikram Yoga. What should I do?

In your practice, always remember “it is not what you do but how you do it.”

Don’t let your mind wander in class and avoid being impatient or aggressive with yourself. You are more likely to hurt yourself if you overuse your strength and practice mindlessly, not following the instruction you are being given by your teacher.

Keep breathing throughout your class as the breath not only helps to refresh your body with oxygen, it also helps keep your mind in the moment and aware of what your body it doing at all times.

Can I still continue other exercise programs while practicing Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga does indeed promote stretching and elasticity of muscles. It does so much more, though. It also promotes strength and balance...balanced strength, and balanced flexibility.

If you find in your practice, for example, that your abdominals need strengthening or your hips or shoulders need stabilizing, you could do weight training that accomplishes those goals. The more your hips and shoulders are stabilized by balanced strength around the joints, the more in alignment your postures and your body will be.

It is also possible to only do Bikram Yoga and accomplish these goals, as the practice itself deepens your awareness of your body's needs.

Should I practice while menstruating?

It is quite acceptable to practice Bikram Yoga when menstruating as we do not include the inverted postures practiced in other styles of yoga.

Bikram Yoga is very helpful for toning the reproductive system and helping a woman’s cycle become more regular with very complaints of PMS.

How many times per week should I practice?

The actual frequency of your practice is not as important as the regularity of your practice. We have had students do long challenges of 60 or 100 days and then stop completely. You are far more likely to achieve significant improvement in your health and well-being through a regular practice of 3 to 4 times a week. The actual frequency will vary from one student to the next, depending upon many factors in their life.

Does Bikram Yoga help with balancing the emotions?

Bikram Yoga helps balance the emotions in several ways. Physiologically, regular practice harmonizes the nervous and endocrine systems, two systems which significantly impact upon emotional well-being.

In addition, practicing Bikram Yoga cultivates the mental faculties of faith, self-control, concentration, determination and patience. As we become more aware of our inner life, we notice how events, interactions, and even the atmospheric pressure can effect us. When we are aware, we can exercise choice in our response. This helps us balance our emotional life.

Is Bikram Yoga aerobic?

The word aerobic literally means "with oxygen" or "in the presence of oxygen, involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body." Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body by elevating the heart rate during exercise to its target level. As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each contraction. Fewer contractions are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body.

You can derive these benefits from practicing Bikram yoga. Use this formula to find your target heart rate: 220 minus your age times 60% and times 90%

For example, a 30-year old would calculate his target zone using the above formula:

220-30=190. 190x.60=114 and 190x.90=171.

This individual would try to keep his heart rate between 114 (low end) and 171 (high end) beats per minute.

You can take your pulse during class and see that due to the nature of the asanas, your heart rate and respiration become elevated to your target level. This can help you determine how intensely to work during class.

Which classes are the least crowded?

The evening 6pm classes are usually the largest as people are practicing between leaving work and returning home, but this is really not that important. Just come whenever you want. Your mat, your mind, your body, your yoga - nothing else matters. Don't be put off by a crowded class - they can have fabulous energy.

I've just done my 3rd (4th, 5th) class and it was so hard - I thought it would just keep getting easier. What's going on?

An important lesson is to avoid allowing expectations to trip you up. Aim to practice with a clear mind, with no expectations, and remember that while the yoga never changes (every Bikram class is 90 minutes with the same sequence of postures and breathing exercises), your body will change and is truly different every day. Some days you will have challenging classes and other days you will breeze through them. Take each class (and each day) as it comes..a unique opportunity to learn more about yourself.

Is there a special way to breathe during Bikram?

For nearly all Bikram poses you breathe in and out through your nose. This will help to increase your meditative state, physical strength and mental focus on each moment of your practice. If you are feeling overwhelmed at any stage, try short inhales and long exhales. We only breathe through the mouth in the very first pose of the series Pranayama Breathing and in Sit Ups.

What does the teacher mean when they say "use 80-20 breathing"?

In all postures you need oxygen in the lungs to maintain proper strength while performing the posture. Many postures will allow your normal pattern of full inhalation and exhalation. For other more strenuous postures, you will use 80-20 breathing. In this method of breathing, you begin by taking in a full 100% breath. Then as you hold the posture, continuously breathe and exchange just 20% of the air through your nose with your mouth closed.

What does Namasté mean?

Namasté is a common greeting or salutation used in the Indian subcontinent where yoga originated. It is a friendly 'hello' or 'goodbye' between people and a sign of respect. The meaning of the word is based on a spiritual principle of common divinity:


I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.

I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace.

When you are in that place,

And I am in that place in me,

We are one.

Why is it important to learn from a Bikram Yoga Certified Instructor?

It takes more than a hot room and a list of postures to make your Bikram Yoga practice a safe, rewarding experience. Bikram Yoga is a specialized form of yoga, requiring appropriate training and knowledge to teach it effectively.

Our studio only employs teachers who have been certified as an instructor in the Bikram method of yoga after completing an intensive nine-week training program requiring over 500 hours of study. Our teachers also attend ongoing training and recertification programs to continually improved their skills and knowledge as a Bikram Yoga teacher.

How can I clean my yoga mat?

Outside of the yoga room you will find spray bottles and small towels that may be used to clean your mat before storing or taking it home.

It is important to wash your mat every few weeks. This should be done in a front-end loading washing machine. Good quality mats are durable and many can be dried in a commercial tumble dryer or just hung outside to air dry.

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