For years I had wanted to try a Bikram-style yoga class and that desire became reality when a Bikram yoga studio opened near me. The new hot yoga studio was called Prana Bodhi and opened in Lakewood, Ohio. Today I am sharing my experience with Bikram yoga.
Bikram yoga is quite different from any other type of yoga class. I’ll share the differences, my experience, what items you should bring to class and more. This can help you decide if you want to go to a Bikram yoga class and be better prepared if you do.
My Experience With Bikram Yoga
About Bikram Yoga
Each class is the same postures in the same order for the same duration. This type of class was developed by Bikram Choudhury. The instructor at Prana Bodhi was Bikram-certified and taught her classes in that fashion.
Each class is conducted in a room set to a temperature of 105 degrees and is 90 minutes in duration. The class consists of 26 postures, each posture repeated twice. There are mirrors on the front wall of the classroom.
On a side note, Bikram himself has been met with quite a bit of controversy, mostly regarding his personal life and questionable teaching style. If you search his name online and you will see what I mean. Talking about him may be a topic for another day but I’m here today to discuss my experience with his type of yoga.
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My Initial Experience
The Bikram studio near me opened in February 2013 but my experience there remains vivid. As soon as I heard of the opening I attended a class on a Friday. The first class left me feeling underwhelmed, but taking a friend’s advice, I decided to go back again the next morning.
One of the tenants of Bikram yoga is frequent practice. The second time, the class wasn’t too terrible. Also I felt that workout soreness the next day which helped remind me that, yes, my body was working and it was a workout, although a different one than I am used to.
I ended up attending three classes in one week. Then I went to the grand opening weekend event and decided to sign up for a one month unlimited pass so I could return and attend class as often as I liked. As I’ve shared before, I really enjoy going to yoga classes in a studio.
Warm vinyasa flow is my favorite type of yoga and although the classes are warm, they are usually heated to temperates in the 80s or 90s. Bikram-style yoga is much hotter. In fact it’s so warm that when you first enter the studio the heat can take your breath away.
Bikram Yoga Differences
After having taken several of these 90-minute classes I was able to formulate my thoughts a bit on this type of yoga. Foremost as I shared a bit, it’s very different from other yoga classes I’ve attended. I’m used to instructors speaking with a calming tone, perhaps asking students to imagine a relaxing atmosphere or place.
I’m also used to music being played in class and students being able to laugh off falling out of a pose. I’m used to attending the same class every week, but knowing the teacher will have us practice a different sequence of poses each time.
To me, Bikram-style yoga is more rigid. No music, the same poses every time, a mostly serious atmosphere. Oh and a mirror. You stare at yourself practicing the whole time. That threw me for a loop during the first class.
Bikram Hot Yoga
Bikram Yoga Cleveland
Initially I found myself missing many of the aspects of traditional hatha or vinyasa yoga. But I got a good workout. It felt great to really sweat and “clean my pores out” and it’s nice to have a warm workout in February.
The 90-minute duration of the class definitely takes a time commitment, especially on a weeknight and although many people have tried 30 or 60 day challenges to practice daily, I knew that would not fit into my schedule. Now, as a mom, this would be even more challenging.
I mixed taking these Bikram-style classes with my other workouts. I quickly also saw improvement in my flexibility after taking only a few classes. I know that can’t be a bad thing so I continued to attend Bikram classes.
Items needed for a Bikram style yoga class include:
My Experience with Hot Yoga
I should mention that before my Prana Bodhi yoga experience I did attempt to attend a “Bikram” yoga class prior, however, upon arriving at the class I quickly discovered the instructor was not certified and claiming to teach what was not Bikram yoga.
Please be sure to research this practice and the instructor to verify they are trained properly and certified to teach. This is a very specific yoga niche and the instructors must be taught properly. It’s different from a generic “hot yoga” class.
What questions do you have about Bikram yoga practice?
*This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated and republished for accuracy and comprehensiveness.