Bikram yoga is a trademarked sequence of 26 yoga postures, or asanas, that are performed two times. Choudray Bikram is the founder of Bikram yoga, and it is practiced by people all over the world. Based in Los Angeles, California, Mr. Bikram still leads classes in a heated room. He has many fans who swear by his rigorous style of yoga. As Bikram yoga is always taught in the same manner as created by Mr. Bikram, and in rooms heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, the practice rates very high on the perspiration level, so you need the right kind of yoga mat. The heat helps to detoxify the body.
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Thick and Padded for Cushioning
A yoga mat that is thick and padded enough to withstand the rigors of a Bikram yoga class is best. A thin mat will wear out too quickly and will not provide the cushioning you will want for poses such as rabbit pose, when you place your head onto your mat. For most people, that will mean a mat that is at least one-half inch in thickness.
Durability: Rubber, Bamboo
Eco-friendly yoga mats made from natural rubber or bamboo or other plant-based materials are excellent choices for Bikram yoga. A rubber mat will wear well from the standing poses found in Bikram yoga. Those made from bamboo are surprisingly durable and lighter in weight than rubber.
Traction to Prevent Sliding
It might be possible to practice some types of yoga on bare wood floor, but Bikram yoga is not one of them. The heated room and no-nonsense succession of poses will quickly produce a sweaty practice that requires a yoga mat that will not slip or slide. For that reason, selecting a yoga mat made with a patterned surface to provide traction on carpet or hard flooring is a good idea. It is not uncommon to see people practice Bikram yoga in bathing suits as the session produces that much heat.
Reversible for Versatility
Fully reversible mats are also very practical for a Bikram yoga class. While many people will bring thick beach towels and lay them flat on top of their yoga mats, these can slide during practice. There are yoga mats that have a “sticky” side and on the other side is a terry towel side to soak up the perspiration from practice. You might try one to see whether it suits you. As all yogis know, you should choose the best yoga mat for your Bikram yoga class based on your direct experiences.