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How to Prepare for a Bikram Yoga Class

author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
How to Prepare for a Bikram Yoga Class
Rolled up yoga mat on wood floor Photo Credit Cindybug/iStock/Getty Images

Bikram or "hot" yoga is performed in a room heated to about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 percent humidity. According to the Bikram principles, the heat relaxes your muscles and joints, allowing you to sink deeper into the flexibility-building postures with reduced risk of injury. It also introduces a few complications that you should come prepared for -- including copious sweat that, according to the principles of Bikram, helps flush toxins out of your body.

Step 1

Drink at least 1 ounce of water per 2 pounds of body weight every day, as recommended by Bikram Yoga Seacoast. That helps you stay hydrated on a continuing basis. Drink an extra liter of water on the day of class, but taper your water consumption about three hours before class. That makes you less likely to have to urinate during class.

Step 2

Stop eating heavy food at least three to four hours before class begins. If you eat anything in this period, limit yourself to a very light snack in the hour or two before class. Recommendations on exactly when to stop eating vary, but the consensus is that you should come to class on an empty stomach.

Step 3

Dress in form-fitting, light clothes. Bikram Yoga Falls Church recommends dressing as if you're going to be the beach. Opt for shorts over pants. Men may go shirtless; women usually wear either a tank top or sports bra. The form-fitting clothes make it easier for the instructor to spot and correct any errors in your poses.

Step 4

Pack a large towel, a dry change of clothes for after class, a bag to carry your sweat-soaked clothes in and a water bottle. Bring these items with you to class. Ideally you should have your own yoga mat too, but some studios lend or rent a mat the first few times you attend.

Step 5

Arrive at least 20 minutes before class time. Often, the doors to the hot room close a few minutes before class officially starts and latecomers are not admitted. The exact cutoff time varies between yoga studios, but the 20-minute rule is usually a safe guideline.

Step 6

Check in with the studio staff if this is your first class. An instructor might suggest taking a place in the back of the room. Everyone in class faces forward, so you'll have a chance to observe the more experienced students, along with the privilege of relative privacy.

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