10 things NOT to do in a Bikram Yoga class

group energyWith a stifling heat of around 42 degrees and a demanding series of 26 postures, entering our studio can be like stepping into a torture chamber.   While we all have our tough days, experienced yogis make Bikram Yoga look like a breeze.  So, what’s their secret?  There is none, but through time they have learned what not to do in the heated room.  As a regular practitioner, I have collated a list of top 10 things you shouldn’t do in a Bikram Yoga class which will help transform you into a fully fledged yogi. 

Don’t eat before class

You’ll get so much more out of the class if you come with an empty stomach, so don’t eat within three hours before class.  However, if you’re completely famished you can curb those hunger pangs with something like a piece of fruit, handful of nuts or a protein bar – nothing too heavy.  After class is a whole different story, you need to eat plenty to replenish your body of important nutrients. 

Don’t wear baggy clothes

Don’t wear baggy clothes because it will restrict your movement and weigh you down.  Instead, you should wear tight fitting clothes such as sports bras, leggings and shorts.

Don’t drink too much water before and during class

It’s important that you come to class properly hydrated, so it’s recommended that you drink a litre of water within two hours before class.  That doesn’t mean you should down a whole bottle of water right before class as it will give you an uncomfortably full stomach! You need to commit to staying hydrated throughout the day.  The same goes for during class, drinking too much in one go will make most of the floor series harder especially the postures that require you to lie on your front.

Don’t stand in the front row if you’re new

 If it’s your first time at the studio, make sure you stand in the back row so you can watch and follow the lead of students in front of you.  The teacher leads the class through dialogue so you learn the postures by listening to the words and looking to other students for guidance.

Don’t fidget

In between postures you should try and make a conscious effort not to take a drink, fix your hair, wipe the sweat off your face or adjust your mat and towel.  Instead, focus on your breathing and eventually, you’ll develop clarity, focus and discipline into your yoga practice and ultimately your life.

Don’t wipe your sweat

Let your face and body sparkle.  Sweat is your body’s natural air conditioner so if you want to make it through the 90 minutes don’t wipe it away.  You’ll only disrupt your practice and encourage more sweat production so it’s pointless.

Don’t breathe through your mouth

Apart from the two breathing exercises, breathe in and out through the nose.  This will help you stay calm, focused and in control.  Breathing through your mouth will trigger the fight-or-flight response which will make you feel anxious and stressed.

Don’t talk in class

The hot room is a quiet space so apart from the teacher’s dialogue there should be no other talking.  Meditation is a vital part of the yoga series so instead of chatting to your neighbour focus on your breathing and the postures.  

Don’t push yourself too hard

You have your whole life to practice yoga so pace yourself.  Find your limits then gradually push yourself a little bit harder.  Postures can usually be split into stages so work on the first stage before moving onto the next one.

Don’t run out of class as soon as the final breathing exercise is over

When the class is over don’t head straight out.  This is the best part of the class that you have been working towards.  Stay in the room with your eyes closed for at least five minutes after class and enjoy the moment.