Bikram or different kinds of hot Yoga have one rule in common; you practice in a room heated to around 40 °C. It is one of the most controversial yoga these days. I’m guessing that’s because it is new and so different. People are still trying to decide whether they can benefit from it or it is just another trend. Despite what hot yoga opponents think I’ve been practicing it for over 5 years and I absolutely love it.
It’s definitely not for everyone but it can be great for most of us! The main difference is that everything you do and feel during practice is a lot more intense in a heated room compared to standard classes. The reward is greater and so is the struggle…
Rule number 1: Don’t give up after 1st or 2nd class!
It’s unbelievable how many people will lay down their guns after just first half an hour. I know the pain…believe me. I never thought I would be back in this boiling room full of sweaty people. Why would I? I had no idea what to do, I could not believe I couldn’t control my balance and any of the postures, the heat got into me so badly that I felt like sitting down and not participating at all. However, once you leave the room and you feel like a survivor, tiny bit of you wants to come back. Don’t be surprised if you hate it at first, that’s the beauty of it. You slowly develop the ability to concentrate on your breathing instead of the heat; once you do that (sooner or later) everything will fall into place.
It’s a complicated journey and most of us will have to handle it alone. You will probably practice in a large group where it’s difficult to form any relationship with your teacher, so remember:
Rule number 2: Listen to your body… You ARE your teacher!
Be kind to yourself, it’s not a competition and no one in the room is there to judge you.
Rule number 3: Let go of your ego.
That’s the biggest challenge. We’ve been trained to be competitive since we started receiving our first school grades. We are always trying to do well at school, work or home. You don’t have to prove anything in the yoga room. Don’t look around feeling insecure and don’t push yourself. You’re amazing and you’re doing great since you’re already there trying! Just BE.
Rule number 4: Have fun with it!
This all yoga business is waaaay too serious. Smile when you can, laugh when you fall. Once you’re used to the hot room and you know roughly the postures- RELAX! You’re doing something amazing for your body and you know it! You’re helping your muscles, skin and internal organs. Most importantly you’re taking care of your soul.
Rule number 5: Try different types of yoga.
Attend different classes, talk to different teachers! There are so many kinds of yoga: hot, bikram, vinyasa, budokon, ashtanga…
Hot yoga so far has been my main practice but I will always mix them all!
Do yoga and be flawless!