Bikram yoga is an intensive yoga practice that takes place over 90 minutes in a heated studio. While some practitioners get all of their daily exercise during the intense stretching, strengthening and cardio sequences of a Bikram session, others enjoy adding exercises before or after a Bikram yoga session to maximize the amount of calories they burn in a given day. If you love running and prefer to do it before a Bikram class, ease into it. Start with a short run and gauge how you feel after the run and Bikram class.
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Bikram yoga is a 26-posture sequence created by Bikram Choudry that claims to strengthen and stretch every muscle and organ in the body. According to “Yoga Journal,” the heat in a Bikram yoga class is regularly set to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, which, combined with a 60 percent humidity level, produces a heat index of 149 degrees. While the heat has a beneficial effect for runners seeking to achieve high levels of flexibility and strength in their legs and thighs, dehydration is a considerable risk.
Drink six to eight cups of fluid a day to maintain healthy levels of hydration. Although this average accounts for moderate exercise as well as the daily average adult urine output of 6.3 cups of water, Bikram yoga practitioners generally have to drink more water to fully replace the amount lost in sweating. Since the body needs sufficient time to process water, runners who sweat a high amount before a yoga class may not have time to regain fluids before a Bikram session. Reduce your risk of dehydration by drinking plenty of water before and after your combined running and Bikram yoga session.
Preparing for Class
Practitioners who have run before a Bikram class have the advantage of already being limber and flexible in their legs and hips. However, depending on how extensive your running session is, you may experience a dip in blood sugar caused by the gap in meal times. The Bikram Yoga website recommends avoiding food intake for two to three hours before class, which can be problematic if you are also allowing an hour or two to digest your prerunning meal. Plan out your meal times so that you consume a larger meal before your exercise session to ensure that you have enough fuel to get you through both your run and your Bikram class.
Play it Safe
Performing “doubles,” or two back-to-back Bikram yoga classes, is a relatively common practice, so engaging in a running session before a Bikram class may be comparable on a scale of bodily exertion. Pay careful attention to your body as you begin combining the exercises, balancing your eating times and hydration levels to ensure maximum safety. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your inability to perform intensive aerobic exercise.