Broke & Fit: How to Survive Your First Bikram Yoga Class

Posted July 12, 2013 by in Health + Fitness
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I recently did something bad…I got into Bikram yoga. It’s bad because it’s not a budget-friendly form of exercise, but it has honestly changed my life and I’m willing to sacrifice going out to dinner, clothes shopping and going to the movies for my love of hot yoga. Yeah…it’s that serious.

Why do I love it? I have more energy, I’m eating better by choice, I drink more water, my skin is glowing and overall…I’m happier. I highly recommend you give it a try. Here’s what will go on inside your head during your first two classes:

  • - It’s not that hot, I can do this
  • - Why did I decide to do this?
  • - I didn’t know I could sweat there
  • - I feel sick
  • - Am I dying?
  • - Where did this boost of energy come from?
  • - I didn’t know I could do that!
  • - I’m lightheaded and dizzy. Is that normal?
  • - Am I dying?
  • - Yay, I survived! I’m NEVER doing this again.
  • - Omg! I feel amazing! Can I come back tomorrow?!

If you decide to give hot yoga a try, here are some tips on how to make it easier for you:

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1. Drink enough water

This is by far the most important tip on the list. You HAVE to drink enough water. If you don’t drink enough water, don’t go to class that day. According to Bikram Yoga Vancouver:

“A good formula is to take your body weight and divide by 2. This is how many ounces of water you should consume daily.”

So, if you weigh 140 lbs, you need to drink 70 oz of water which is a little over a half gallon.

2. Eat right

I got my boyfriend into it too, but his first class was hell. First, he didn’t drink enough water. Second, he ate a burger and french fries about an hour before the class. He felt terrible.

Eat something healthy about four hours before your class. (oatmeal, chicken and steamed veggies, a hearty salad.) If you’re hungry on your way there, have a piece of fruit or half a Clif Bar.

3. Introduce yourself to the instructor at the beginning

Before class starts, make sure the instructor knows it’s your first time. They’ll help you and give you advice throughout the class if they see you struggling. They’ve been there too; they know how you feel.

4. Wear the right gear

There’s no need to be self-conscious in a hot room. Everyone will be so concerned about themselves that they won’t even notice how much or how little you’re wearing. It’s 105 degrees in there, so wear something that wicks away moisture. Aka…not cotton.

My first class I wore stretchy cotton capris and a white t-shirt…it wasn’t fun. My clothes became heavy and made everything harder. I recommend the stuff below:

Compression Shorts

The shorts below, from Under Armour, are both affordable and made to stay dry.

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$25.00

If you want something more sassy, these shorts from Fox are perfect!

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$39.50

Breathable Sports Bra

The ones from Old Navy are great!

Breathable Tank Top

Both Forever 21 and Under Armour have great selections. Again…avoid cotton. Think swimwear.

5. Don’t leave the room

You’ll make it so much harder for yourself. You’ll also disrupt everyone who’s trying to focus. Only leave if you honestly feel as if you’re going to be sick. Noa, at Bikram Yoga Vancouver says:

Leaving and re-entering the hot room can cause your body temperature to fluctuate, when the key is to keep it steady. Even if you need to sit out several postures – or lie on your yoga mat the entire time – it’s better to stay put and let your body adjust to the heat than flee and have to start all over again from scratch.

6. Sit it out

If you’re not feeling well, sit out a posture or two. It’s okay.

7. Replenish

After class is over, make sure you replace all the electrolytes you lost. I personally recommend drinking coconut water! Believe me; it makes a difference.

8. Do some research

Before heading to your first class, look at a diagram of the 26 postures so you can have a vague idea what to expect.

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We hope you consider giving Bikram Yoga a try. If you go in prepared, we think you’ll love it! For more Bikram Yoga advice head on over to Bikram Yoga Vancouver’s blog!