What is the Best Way to Get the Most Out of Your Bikram Yoga Classes?

Bikram Yoga is all about connecting you with your body, mind and soul. This connection brings you many health and social benefits. But how do you get the most out of your Bikram Yoga classes? At YogaSol, we believe taking a 90-minute class, twice a week is a must.
Here are 5 ways you get the most from the healing benefits of Bikram Yoga classes.

Postures Held for Specific Length of Time

In a  90-minute Bikram Yoga class, the 26 postures are held for an extended length of time during each sequence. Maintaining poses requires you to hold your body in stillness, focusing and breathing through the process. This intense focus creates changes in your body while giving you structure around the chaos of your day and developing your strength of mind.

Each Posture is Repeated Twice

You will feel the first set of Bikram poses begin to warm your body, helping create alignment in the postures. The second set of poses allows you to go deeper, fully reaping the benefits each pose has to offer. This is when you start seeing your progression from one class practice to the next.

50 Minute Standing Series

The first 50 minutes of the class is when the Standing Series of postures are completed. The Standing Series elevates your heart rate, metabolic rate and core temperature to an ideal level for healing and physiological and mental changes to occur.

40 Minute Floor Series

The Final 40 minutes of the class consists of the Floor Series. The Floor Series allows your body to continue its healing process in the heated room because our core temperature will remain the same. During the Floor Series, your body and mind will also begin to relax and release any built up tension as your heart and metabolic rate begin to lower. Each floor posture is separated by a short rest period (Savasana). Savasana is just as important as each posture, giving your body a release from the previous pose and readying your mind for what’s next. Savanna allows you to recover, gain extra oxygen and move with energy into the next floor position. This full cycle of pose and release gives your body the most efficient and productive benefits from your Bikram practice.

Full Instruction

While it might seem convenient to attend a shorter class, our beginners find it most useful to attend the 90-minute classes while they learn the sequence. The 90-minute class allows time for the instructors to give full guidance and walk around gently correcting alignment to help you perfect your practice. Beginners certainly find this useful, but lack of focus and attention to detail can affect us all. Attending a 90-minute class at least twice a week keeps even the most experience practitioners in peak performance.
In our fast paced world and hectic lifestyles, it’s tempting to take shortcuts. At YogaSol, we are dedicated to getting you the best results from your Bikram practice, and that’s why we believe it’s essential to take at least 2 full Bikram classes a week. You’ll see better results and feel the true healing benefits of our hot yoga practice. This can only be gained from completion of a FULL 90 minute Bikram Class comprising of the 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.
Thinking about joining us for the first time? Take a look at these beginner tips.

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YogaSol is a soul inspiring hot yoga studio in Norwalk, CT. We feature Bikram Yoga and Hot HIIT Pilates. Join us for a moving meditation today!

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The post What is the Best Way to Get the Most Out of Your Bikram Yoga Classes? appeared first on YogaSol.

Hot Detox Methods: Bikram Yoga & Sauna – JJSmithOnline

Detoxing is all about resting, cleansing, and rejuvenating the body from the inside out. Detoxing  helps with protecting you from disease and renews your ability to be the healthiest version of you! There are over 21 detox methods that I use regularly, but two of my favorite hot detox methods include Bikram yoga and the sauna!  

Bikram Yoga

Seeing as your skin is one of the largest waste-disposal systems in the body, Bikram yoga classes are effective for detoxing because the body removes toxic waste through your skin via sweat. Bikram yoga classes are ninety minutes long and consist of twenty-six different poses performed in each session, along with two breathing exercises. The room is set to 95-100 degrees fahrenheit with the intentions of making you sweat profusely so that all of the toxic waste is removed from your body. Benefits include radiant skin, improved flexibility, weight loss,, strengthened immune system, and relaxed muscles.

Here’s a breakdown of the scale of difficulty for a Bikram Yoga class and the estimated cost per session:

Scale of Difficulty : Hard, but rewarding. Yoga is not only a great way to detox but a good way to sneak in some exercise!

Estimated Cost: $10-15 per session, but the price decreases if you purchase a monthly package.

Many, if not most of us do not actively sweat on a daily basis. Deep sweating has many benefits and can be achieved by simply sitting in a sauna. Similar to Bikram yoga, the heat in a sauna causes your core temperature to rise and allows your body to flush out toxins while you sit in a relaxed position for about 20-30 minutes. Sitting in a sauna has both health and beauty benefits. The sauna  moisturizes while eliminating toxins and improves the overall condition of your skin. Benefits also include weight loss, cure for illnesses, strengthened immune system, and relaxed muscles.

Take a look at the breakdown of the scale of difficulty, estimated cost and tips for using a Sauna:  

Scale of Difficulty : Simple enough, but the process of sitting in a sauna for long periods of time can be challenging if you’re new to the process. Make sure to drink lots of water and take breaks when needed.

Estimated Cost: $60 per session, but most gyms include a sauna and steam room that you can utilize as a part of your membership. Portable saunas can range from $200-500.

JJ’s Tips For the Sauna:

Until next time!

UFC star Paige VanZant heating up for MMA return with scorching Bikram yoga sessions

UFC star Paige VanZant is heating up for her octagon comeback with sizzling hot Bikram yoga sessions.

The American MMA star was beaten last time out, on points by Jessica Rose-Clark, on her flyweight debut.

Paige VanZant has been in a smouldering yoga studio

But she already looks in sensational shape for her next UFC bout after sweating and stretching in one of the gruelling classes.

A standard Bikram yoga class is only for the hardcore practitioner.

Classes run for 90 minutes and consist of the same series of 26 postures, all set in a room heated up to 42 °C

VanZant was putting herself through dangerous dehydrating processes to campaign at strawweight and made the move up in January, only to suffer her fourth MMA defeat.


WWE should cherish Brock Lesnar returning to UFC with their Universal title

‘Phenomenon of our time’

£50k Conor McGregor statue on show to mark fighter’s 30th birthday


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daddy day care

McGregor grapples nappy-wearing son, 1, and rides him round in wheelbarrow

No AirCon, Con?

Sweat-soaked McGregor parties on as Khabib fight is thrown into doubt


Cormier sets up Lesnar bout after he KOs Miocic to become UFC heavyweight champ

UFC star Paige VanZant shows off her dance moves in Instagram post

The loss did not harm her positive outlook and the former Dancing With the Stars guest stunned fans with a display of her dance moves on Instagram.

The 24-year-old came second when she appeared on the 2016 series and made her a cross-over star.

The fighter captioned the post ‘Practicing for my @dancingabc redemption’, hinting at a return to the dancefloor.

But VanZant has no plans for a career switch.

She tagged the post with “JK (just kidding) still a gangster fighter.”

VanZant came second on the 2016 edition of Dancing with the Stars

VanZant has a career 7-4 record in UFC


WWE should cherish Brock Lesnar returning to UFC with their Universal title

‘Phenomenon of our time’

£50k Conor McGregor statue on show to mark fighter’s 30th birthday


Lesnar set for UFC return and Cormier clash in January after drug test vow

daddy day care

McGregor grapples nappy-wearing son, 1, and rides him round in wheelbarrow

No AirCon, Con?

Sweat-soaked McGregor parties on as Khabib fight is thrown into doubt


Cormier sets up Lesnar bout after he KOs Miocic to become UFC heavyweight champ


UFC star went from sleeping on the streets to fighting best in the world

Mi oh Mi

Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic taking on Daniel Cormier at UFC 226 superfight


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UFC champ pulled from third straight bout with ‘concussion-like symptoms’


Incredible moment MMA ace ‘fakes heart attack’ before knocking down opponent

The 24-year-old moved from strawweight to flyweight in 2017
VanZant won’t be giving up the day job any time soon however
VanZant was born in Portland, Oregon

VanZant was one of 11 women signed to set up UFC’s strawweight division in 2013, making her debut a year later.

She defeated Kailin Curran by a TKO in the third round, in a fight that won ‘Fight of the Night’ honours.

Noted for her aggressive grappling, VanZant also has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Two of VanZant’s seven wins have come by submission, against Courtney Himes and Alex Chambers.

UFC beauty Paige VanZant challenges social media to do a perfect worm dance

Bikram Yoga Confession: how I lost my practice. |

Forgive me Bikram for I have sinned, it has been 6 years since my last yoga challenge.

I don’t really know how it happened.

My bow pose and I, 2010.

When I returned from teacher training I couldn’t get enough of the practice. Yoga was my life. All I cared about was doing the standing splits, touching my forehead to my toes, eating better, hydrating  more and sleeping consistently.

I didn’t eat dairy, wheat or sugar. I didn’t go out. I practiced five or six days a week. I taught 12 classes a week, sometimes 14, I hung out at the yoga studio. I journaled about the things I learned about myself in class. I didn’t drink.

But I was 19 Bikram! Just a kid. And I hadn’t let myself be a kid. There I was, hyper-disciplined, making yoga my life when it hit me: I wanted more.

I wanted to see what it was like to dance till 5am. I wanted to follow other career paths. I wanted to eat wheat and dairy. I wanted to be friends with more than my water bottle and naturopath.

Soon, the desire to escape my self-imposed discipline grew so strong that I started crying an hour before class. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to judge myself in the mirror. I didn’t want to obsess about standing bow or the amount of sugar in my diet.

I wanted a bit of freedom.

I blamed the yoga.

It was foolish, Bikram, I know. But it was so easy to point a finger at the most consistent and disciplined thing in my life: my practice.

I began to resent my standing bow. I stopped trying in forward stretching. I danced till dawn. I ate dairy and wheat. I began skipping class. I stopped being disciplined.

Days, weeks, months went by. It took me 3 months to want to be in the yoga room again. Slowly, inconsistently, I started practicing again. I didn’t love the hot room anymore, I was still mad at the practice. But I was trying.

After another year it became clear that it wasn’t the yoga, but it was me.

I began to understand that I wasn’t being true to myself. I had forgotten that I practice so that yoga can enrich my life but not become my life. I didn’t want to be a career yogi, but a yogi with a career.

I forgot to honour that I was both the girl who loved dancing and the girl that loved working hard.

In a way, diving so deeply into the practice taught me the most valuable lesson of all: that we must all follow our own path and stay true to our spirit. You talk about it all the time Bikram. How yoga teaches us self realization. How our practice teaches us to like and love ourselves.

And so here I am nine years into my practice, about to turn 26.

For the first time I am ready to love both parts of me, the girl that loves to stay up dancing until 5am and the girl who loves to eat fresh salads and work on her standing bow.

So I am trying again. I am ready to welcome some discipline back into my life.

For 30 days, I am going to show up and try. I will still drink lattes and eat pastries but I will also dream of standing bow and touching my forehead to toes. Let’s see what we can make happen in 30 days.

See you in the hot room, Bikram.

Winter Makes Me Crave The Bikram Yoga Heat | Hot Off The Mat ™

I sometimes feel ambivalent about the heat in a Bikram Yoga class. Most days I like it, seeing the heat as an important part of the Bikram Yoga process. Occasionally, especially on very humid days, it can feel stifling and overwhelming. It can get to be too much.

But in the winter, I crave it. I wake up in the morning thinking about it, set up in the hottest part of the room, wallow in my glorious sweat, and dream about my next class almost as soon as my current class ends. I hate being cold and the Bikram Yoga heat is a great escape from winter.

Winter can be hard on the body. The dryness of the air gives me a scratchy throat even though I sleep with a humidifier every night. The skin on my hands turns red and dry. My muscles and joints feel tighter and achier. I always seem to catch a cold or flu — perhaps because I am cooped up inside more often than at other times of year. And there is the possibility of seasonal depression, unless I take action to avoid it.

For all of these reasons, Bikram Yoga becomes even more important to my well being during the winter months. The daily stretching and flexing of my body helps alleviate the aches and pains and gives me a needed boost of energy. Many of the postures provide a boost to the immune system which can help me shake off a cold faster than I would otherwise. And the quiet mediation time helps me to fight off the winter blahs.

And there is the heat. The glorious, juicy, humid climate of the room helps moisten my throat, sooth my skin, and brings me back to the sun and fun of summer — for 90 minutes at least. Now if only I could bottle it and take it with me as I head back outside into the cold.

Fellow yogis, do you crave the Bikram Yoga heat in winter?

Hot Off The Mat is also on Facebook and Twitter


Is It OK To Leave Bikram Yoga Class Early?

In my morning Bikram Yoga classes a handful of people usually leave early — some after the standing series and some about 15 minutes before class ends. Hey, I get it — 90 minutes plus shower and travel time is a lot in the morning, especially if you need to be at work at a particular time. Teachers at my studio do not seem to mind — too much — and I often hear them say that some class is better than no class. But is that really true?

While out-of-town this summer I practiced at another studio where leaving early was not an option. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember ever seeing anyone leave early from a Bikram Yoga class at any studio other than my primary one. I know we all appreciate the flexibility to leave early on occasion, particularly in NYC where everyone has a crazy schedule, but is leaving Bikram Yoga class early a good thing to do for your body?

I am lucky enough that I am typically able to stay for the entire class, and never gave leaving early much thought, until last week when I actually needed to leave early. It was a Monday class, which is always a littler bit tough for me after a weekend away. Even so, everything during class was fine, and after Half-Tortoise, I took my Savasna, which I then extended into a Final Savasna while others were doing the first set of Camel Pose. When Camel was over, I collected my things, headed home to shower and the day went on.

But the next day, I was incredibly sore. Not your typical Bikram Yoga sore, but sore enough that I was wondering how I was going to make it to class. In particular, my legs ached, especially my quads, and my lower back. Had I worked particularly hard in class the day prior or was something else going on? I wondered if maybe skipping the end of class stretching postures like Camel, Rabbit, Head To Knee Pose and Stretching Pose, and Spine-Twisting Pose had taken their toll.

Despite the soreness, I went to the full class the next day, and the next, but I remained somewhat uncomfortable until after class on Thursday, when things finally seemed to release. Maybe I was fighting a virus, or maybe I was just tired because it was my children’s first week back to school. But, maybe it was because I left class early on Monday. I am curious if others have had the same experience.

Readers, are you more sore when you leave Bikram Yoga class early?

You can also find Hot Off The Mat on Facebook and Twitter


Is bikram yoga safe for back pain?

Bikram Yoga is a popular yogic form which comprises twenty-six different postures and 2 breathing exercises that must be performed within 90 minutes. The room is heated to about 40 degrees before performing these postures, and each of these is known to possess healing properties for specific veins, muscles, joints, ligaments and internal organs of the body.

The hot temperature makes Bikram yoga unique among other yoga disciplines. The Bikram yoga’s twenty-six posture exercises systematically move freshly oxygenated blood to each part of the body.

Bikram Yoga is considered very beneficial to cure back pain. For back pain, it is not only considered safe but advantageous too. By practicing Bikram yoga twice a week, one can experience noticeable improvements. The combination of heat and humidity also helps the body to perform deeper stretches without discomfort.

Advantages of Bikram Yoga

There are several advantages of resorting to Bikram Yoga for treating back related problems. Some of them are

  • Back pain is usually caused due to rigidity and weakness of muscles. Bikram Yoga, also known as ‘Hot Yoga’ relaxes the muscles and strengthens the ones supporting the hips and shoulders, providing relief to backaches
  • Bikram Yoga is particularly suitable in cases of herniated discs which cause major lower back problems. Some of these poses have miraculous effects in such cases and can be a better alternative to long-term medications
  • Sciatica pains, which are primarily nerve oriented problems, can also be soothed substantially with Bikram Yoga sessions. Sciatica pains worsen during the emotional turbulence of any kind, and it is then that Bikram Yoga helps you gain control over your emotions so that such aggravated pains can be controlled
  • Sometimes, women experience chronic lower back aches that may worsen during premenstrual symptoms. Bikram Yoga can be useful in such cases as well. It helps in relaxing muscles and flushing of toxins from the body, facilitating painless and free movement of the body.

Precautions to be taken

The advantages of Bikram Yoga for backaches are subject to certain mandatory precautions. Some of them are:

  • Postures need to be practiced under the guidance and supervision of a trained instructor
  • Your yogic postures should be accurate. Assess your pain endurance level so that you do not subject it to more than what your body can handle
  • Avoid sharp forward bends if the pain is too much
  • Stay hydrated throughout the session.

Bikram yoga offers various other health benefits. Some of them are:

  • It helps in healing old injuries and chronic pain
  • It prevents respiratory problems
  • It helps in burning fat and aids weight loss
  • It strengthens muscles and improves the flexibility of the spine
  • It helps to stretch and strengthen sciatic nerves and tendons in the legs
  • It improves the efficiency of the immune system.

So what are you waiting for? Practice Bikram Yoga and avail its benefits!

Read more articles on Alternative Therapies.

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Practicing Bikram Yoga After a Mastectomy – Blaze Yoga and Pilates

Don’t let surgery limit your practice. Physical therapy is a must to improve range of motion and quality of life going forward. And, what do you know, the handouts and pamphlets with which I was sent home depict exercises straight out of the yoga tradition. Following are notations of how I modified the postures. Please incorporate what benefits your physical situation; don’t feel limited by my experience.

First, you will experience pain so move slowly into the postures. That being said, don’t let your fear of pain limit your achievements. Many times I stopped reaching at the same point I left off during the previous class, or even at a weeks old measure. I went through all sorts of pressure-relieving  modifications during the cobra series savasana because I assumed it would take months and months AND months to bear weight. It didn’t.

Test your limits every class. I’m not saying it’s okay to pop your stitches, but your body and your abilities change every day. It’s a good idea to check them every day so you don’t get stuck in last week’s temporary inability. For convenience, I’ll refer to a ‘well side’ and ‘surgical side’ to avoid all the rights and lefts.

Pranayama: One elbow will not be able to lift as high as the other, or as high as the class before you had surgery. Look in the mirror. Look. In. The. Mirror. Right away, with the first breathing exercise, accept where you are. You will be amazed how much the mirror helps the healing process. Lift surgical-side arm to tolerance and hold it. Focus on the expansion and stretching you feel in your chest on the inhale. With each class, continue to lift that elbow and breathe deeper. Don’t pay attention to the uneven appearance. Worst case scenario: with your arms at your side, shrug or lift your shoulders up and follow the same inhales and exhales. Tensing up or holding my breath amplified the pain. Slow, conscious breathing carried me through everything.

Half Moon: Think of your well-side arm as a stake, and your surgical-side arm as a vine that’s going to climb up that stake. Start by lifting your surgical arm as high as you’re able. Maybe you place your hand on your same side shoulder to form a stubby wing. Gradually creep your fingers towards the well shoulder, then the arm and pull yourself up on it. Your goal is to reach the top and interlock your fingers. I felt more when the surgical-side was on the bottom in the side bend. When it became too much, I lowered that arm and let it fold across my ribs. I used the same modifications with backward bending.

Hands to Feet: Don’t be in a hurry to fold forward with both arms stretched out in front of you. I started out squatting down and grabbed the back of the well-side heel. Surgical side arm was bent like T-Rex. Let it down slowly. Don’t go crazy pulling on the good side. It hurts to squish in the beginning.

Awkward: Think ‘I Dream of Jeannie’. Stretch well side arm out as usual. Fold surgical-side arm across your front and start by reaching up towards the opposite shoulder. Once there, start creeping your hand down well side’s arm. As you feel more comfortable, separate into two outstretched parallel arms.

Eagle: At first you’re not going to be able to swing your arms without popping a stitch. Do your best to entwine your arms in eagle formation. For me, this posture was the least effected. You may be surprised to realize prior to surgery you pulled your arms into your chest rather than down from your shoulders. The pain you feel now due to that compression will reinforce the need to make that correction going forward. Ahhhh, the silver lining.

Standing Head to Knee: As with Half Moon, the well-side knows what to do. I started out with my surgical-side arm pressed at my side and bent at a right angle. As I leaned forward surgical-side arm crept down my leg towards the ball of my foot until I was able to interlock my fingers. This was my screw-you-you’re-not-going-to-get-to-me posture. It was helpful to have a posture I wanted to attack; a posture I didn’t want to defeat me.

Standing Bow: For the surgical side, I grabbed my foot and kept my heel against my butt while stretching forward. Slowly I started to kick my leg back as far as my pectoral muscles and arm pit could tolerate the stretch. You will feel the difference between kicking back and up on your surgical side. Here’s where you realize just how much the kicking and stretching keep you balanced. For the well side, go back to the image of the T-Rex arm. As I healed I let the surgical-side arm hang straight down while the well side kicked. When the pain eased, I started raising the arm first with a bend at the elbow and then outstretched.

Balancing Stick: Refer to the hand/arm positioning in Half Moon. If it becomes too much, either wrap surgical-side arm around your torso and give a hug, or hold it against your side, parallel to the floor. As you feel better, allow surgical-side arm to hang straight down at a right angle to your body. Next step: slowly raise your arm.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching: Do what you can, what feels comfortable, but do something.

Triangle: This was my horror show. There’s just no comfortable place to put your arm. As with Standing Bow, you realize the importance of opposing forces: right arm stretch up, left arm stretch down. I couldn’t figure out what to do with my head and neck when the surgical-side arm was supposed to be stretching up. Don’t get discouraged. Do your best. It was a great opportunity to focus on patience and acceptance.

Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee: Treat it like Balancing Stick.

Tree: I kept my surgical side arm at my side and bent at the elbow.

Toe Stand: Scary at first because there’s a good chance you’re either going down face first, or you’re going to stretch surgical-side arm out to make a landing and be in pain. I tried to turn this posture into a positive challenge. Slow down the bent knee descent and try it with one good arm. It’s great preparation for the advanced entry in to the posture.

Savasana: It really helped me to regroup, slow down my breath and let go of what was upsetting me.

Wind Removing: Hold surgical-side arm folded in on itself; keep it close to your body. As you heal, open up the angle.

Sit up: Keep surgical side arm down, fold at elbow across your torso like a belt at your waist. You’ll be surprised how much more you use your abs! At first it’s really challenging to keep your spine straight, but that’s the goal. I chose attempting the sit up rather than rolling over. Rolling over leads to being belly down and the necessity of pushing up and I just didn’t want to deal with that.

Cobra: You know that saying ‘when a door closes, a window opens’? That was my Cobra. It was too much pressure to start cobra from a belly-down position. I was forced to squeeze my elbows into my side at a right angle and find the back muscles needed to stay lifted! Add in the arm strength and you got yourself a damned good Cobra.

Cobra Series Savasana: Oh good lord, really?! Just lie on your side fetal-style.

Locust: Ok, so I just panini-ed my tits in Savasana to *relax* and now I’m supposed to do it intentionally?! Do your best. As with Cobra….you’ll find those back muscles.

Full Locust: Rather than take off from a belly down position, I approached the posture with landing gear up. Surgical-side wing was tucked in at first.

Bow: Well-side hand grabbed a couple inches below the toes. Surgical-side arm was pressed to my side like I was going into a nose dive. My Bow was intentionally lopsided to keep pressure off the surgical side. It was more of a weeble roll at first, but gradually improved to where I could set up the posture and with healing, add the kick.

Fixed Firm: I lowered down into the posture with surgical-side arm folded over at my waist. With time and stretching I was able to reach for the opposite elbow.

Half-tortoise: Another T-Rex arm posture. You may feel like the entire ninety minutes is an exercise in futility because one side is laid up and you will be sorely wrong. Just as those with limited or no ability to see or hear often sharpen their other senses, you will locate those underutilized muscles and master a posture. Half-tortoise is one of those postures.

Camel: As if Camel isn’t emotionally or physically challenging enough to begin with! While Standing Head to Knee was my posture to rally the troops in the standing series, Camel was my touchstone in the floor series. It has all the elements: back bending, stretching, being upside down and completely exposing your chest. Attack it. The release feels so good.

Rabbit: Keep surgical-side arm close to your side for support. Add in the pull as you’re able.

Head to Knee: I used the same modifications for Standing Head to Knee

Final Stretching: I started to feel the feeling of accomplishment. I’m almost there! Don’t focus on the lack of range of mobility in your surgical side, turn your attention to how far you’ve come and how good it feels to flex your feet and stretch your calves, how good it feels to squeeze your quads and release your hamstrings and how good it feels to fold your torso over your legs. I started with BOTH arms in a pike position with my elbows by my hips. This was my release.

Half Spine Twist: My biggest challenge was for surgical-side arm to grab the knee. I hugged the top of my opposite side knee instead and stretched up like crazy. Add the twist.

Kapalbhati: Woo-hoooooooo! Give yourself a pat on the back, you did great!

So, that’s my practice, with a few peeks into my stream of consciousness during class. What I’ve noticed with my practice is that the past events have not limited my depth or expressions of the postures. As I mentioned earlier, I am extremely fortunate to be able to return to the place where I left off prior to surgery. Sure I feel a slight tug or tightness at times but no physical limitations. I have the mental ones! That is the crutch I grab for every so often. The one that says it’s ok to take it easy, the one that reaches for the modification not because I need it, but because I don’t feel like squeezing or kicking or sucking it in….the one that is still enjoying hiding in the back row. There it is, I said it.

bridget headshot 2Bridget Dubravsky is a Certified and Practicing Bikram Yoga Instructor from Maine. She is also the author of Bikram Yoga and Breast Cancer.

Bikram Yoga and the Mind


by Barbora Simek

Bikram Yoga is obviously a very physical practice. Often, the physicality of the practice draws the ire of other yoga communities who centralize their practice around meditation. But anyone who has practiced Bikram Yoga for long enough, knows that consistent practice has a profound and lasting impact on the mind.

“One life time is not long enough to talk about life, one lifetime is not long enough to talk about the body, one lifetime is not long enough to talk about the mind, but the basics you must know.” Bikram Choudhury

The mind can be your best friend and your worst enemy. Bikram calls the mind your telecommunication system, the vehicle that sends messages not only to your body, but the world around you. “How you use [your mind] can make you Hitler, Osama  Bin Laden, Gandhi or Jesus Christ,” says Bikram.

He points out that our mind is constantly feeding us information, “sometimes to satisfy you, sometimes only to satisfy itself.” To discipline the mind becomes one of the most important tasks in life, as it is the mind that will dictate what kind of life we will lead.

Our minds are constantly being inundated by wants and needs. “Sometimes we want but we don’t need, sometimes we need but we don’t want,” says Bikram. True discipline of the mind then, according to Bikram, is when you can make decisions based on both wants and needs accordingly.

There are many ways your mind is exercised in a Bikram Yoga class, but Bikram likes to break it down into five categories, otherwise known as the ‘five aspects of the mind.’

Bikram says that we are all born with two of these aspects that are strong and developed, the practice of yoga helps us to cultivate and strengthen all five. Each of these aspects are like muscles, the more you use them the stronger they become. The stronger they become the more you can use them in abstract and creative ways.


As we all do the postures, and feel challenged by them (often thinking things are impossible) we build faith by continuing to struggle towards our goals. As we grow through our practice we begin building faith in ourselves by seeing what we are capable of accomplishing, transcending and achieving in the room.

“If you do not believe in yourself, you cannot believe in God, in any subject or in others,” says Bikram. “When you have faith in yourself, you have the key to the kingdom, you can have faith in everything on earth.”


In the moments when we feel too hot, too tired, too thirsty and we want to run, chug water, yell at our teacher, our peers or ourselves, we learn self control. We teach ourselves, instead, to stay still, to drop the water bottle and breathe.

Different from mere discipline, self-control and self-discipline is being able to use your own guidance to chose a path that finds equilibrium between your mind and soul.


“Concentrate, meditate,” you hear your teachers say all the time.

The poses in class take focus: to stay balanced, to keep your muscles engaged, to keep your mind clear. When the challenge of the class gets harder, your ability to concentrate becomes more vital to ensuring that you can survive and enjoy the class. Exercising this ability, to let go and focus on what truly matters is invaluable to life outside the yoga room.

“To achieve success in life, the best tool is concentration,” says Bikram.

Finding your concentration in the yoga room, when all circumstances around you are pulling at your focus, is the meditation of Bikram Yoga.


It happens in the last 10 seconds of the posture, in the moments when muscles burn, when we are tired, sore or weak. It is in the moment you chose to hang on a little longer, to stay in the room, to come to class when you rather watch 30 Rock. It is determination. We have all felt it, we have all used it. The more determined we become the more easily we are able to see things through, whether it is a 30 Day Challenge, or pursuing a new career, determination is what helps you to make the leap and stick to it.


Patience is likely one of the most essential aspects to a successful yoga practice. Whether it is patience with your own body and experience in the class, your fellow practitioners, teachers or environment surrounding you in the room, Bikram Yoga constantly pushes us to re-discover and cultivate patience. As we learn to balance our patience and perception of time, we begin to see an outcome. We begin to understand and interact with ourselves and our surroundings in a new light.

Note : all quotes taken from the lecture by Bikram Choudhury October 27th 2005


Hot Yoga Health Benefits – not just Bikram Yoga but also….

‘Hot’ yoga is normally associated with a particular system called Bikram yoga, set up by Bikram Choudhury in the early 1970’s. All Bikram classes are the same (rather than have different types or ‘levels’) and run for 90 minutes where a teacher talks the yogis through 26 postures including 2 breathing exercises, one at the start and one at the end. The reason it is described as ‘hot’ yoga is that Bikram yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) and a humidity of 40%.

Yes, that’s 40 °C !

Only Bikram certified teachers can teach Bikram classes and so, of course, there are variations that have developed under the heading ‘hot’ yoga that use similar principles and postures but are not the same as Bikram Yoga.

So what are the benefits of hot yoga? 

Most people who attend Bikram yoga classes will tell you from their own experience that, after getting over the surprise that you can actually last 90 minutes in 40 °C while doing challenging exercises, the long term effects are that you feel stronger, lighter, more flexible, your skin is clearer and you generally feel ‘fresher’…perhaps not immediately after the class, but in your daily living there’s more of a spring in your step. You may even find that your appetite changes to wanting to eat fresh food rather than processed food and if you have an injury of some kind there are many many examples of people who feel that yoga, whether ‘hot’ or not, has healed them. Here’s an inspirational video that shows what a strong commitment to practising yoga can lead to:

For those of you who like scientific proof of the benefits of hot yoga, here is the conclusion of some research reported by the Department of Health and Exercise Science, Colorado State University in 2013, as a result of monitoring some yogis who attended Bikram Yoga classes:

Yoga subjects exhibited increased deadlift strength, substantially increased lower back/hamstring flexibility, increased shoulder flexibility, and modestly decreased body fat compared with control group. 

This is a fairly limited list of benefits and many who attend Bikram yoga, and some of the other systems that have developed out of it will say there are many more benefits they experience besides just musculoskeletal efficiency.

One of the main consequences of practising any form of hot yoga is the copious sweating which helps to detoxify the body, leading to clearer skin, weight-loss and fewer ‘nasties’ in the body because they have been flushed out during the practice. To help with this, and in getting through the class itself, yogis are advised to drink plenty of water around 2 hours before the class so that they are hydrated when ‘entering the heat’. The heat in the room, and consequently the body, supports greater flexibility of the muscles and so yogis can go  deeper into the positions. Here’s a video of a class of yogis doing the 26 Bikram yoga postures, condensed into just under 2 minutes!

Many natural, organic health practices are dismissed when there is a lack of ‘scientific proof’ and on this site we try wherever possible to list any proof that has been established for any of the claims made. But we also give credence to personal experience and this link takes you to a very long list of testimonials from people who say that practising Bikram yoga has led to recovery from, in many cases, very serious illness.

Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class

But it’s not all Bikram……

In the UK, in London, a new form of hot yoga, Fierce Grace, has been developed by Michele Pernetta who introduced Bikram Yoga to the UK in 1994 after returning from LA where she had been a personal student of Bikram Choudhury for many years. Unlike Bikram Yoga there are 5 different classes within the Fierce Grace schedule to suit the different needs and preferences of yogis who attend. I go, not as often as I’d like, but I go and after initial resistance to change from the standard Bikram classes I have found that the ‘Core’ class is the one that has helped me most with a difficult hip and some mobility challenges I have which arise from it. For me, this has been the benefit of developing a range of classes to suit different needs as ‘Core’ helps me even more than the Bikram classes used to. For more information about Fierce Grace click here.





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What are your thoughts about, or experiences of Hot Yoga, whether Bikram Yoga or some other system? 

Let us know below…….