It’s always best to take your first bikram yoga or hot yoga classes under supervision of a trained and experienced instructor. This helps you become more familiar with the movements, and practice proper form. But once you get the hang of it, it’s possible to do hot yoga or bikram yoga at home (saving yourself a lot of money in the process). Here are some tips on how to do that.
Setting up the space
Find a quiet place free from distractions and access to heating and a well-positioned mirror. The floor should not be carpeted, since that can make it more difficult to keep your footing and stay balanced while you do the more complicated poses.
You can get the temperatures up with a radiant space heater that lets you localize the heat. If you can close off the room then you can use an air-blowing heater. You also need a room thermometer. Keep temperature to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Positioning the mirror
You should be able to see yourself without having to move your head. If you are serious about doing yoga at home, consider purchasing a large mirror that is as high and wide as you are with your arms stretched.
Choosing a yoga mat
Mats come in different thicknesses. Don’t choose one that’s too thick, since a spongy one will make it difficult to balance, especially when your feet grow sweaty. The ideal thickness is a quarter of an inch or 6 millimeters. Anything thinner than that is uncomfortable and does not provide enough support for poses on your knees, back or abdomen. It is also best to find one with a rough texture so you don’t slide around. If you can’t, place bathroom towels on the mat.
Your clothing should be comfortable and allow a full range of motion. It should also be able to show you the form of your body for visual monitoring of alignment—try something stretchy and fitted. You may also wear shorts, as long as you can see the foot and knee alignment. Women should wear a sports bra.
You also need to have a towel and washcloth handy, for your safety and hygiene. These help absorb moisture so that you don’t slip especially in foot-holding postures. Some people just wipe off the sweat, others hold the cloth between the hands and foot.
Foam blocks or folded blankets or towels can make good support props, raising your foundation to meet your inflexibility and help you keep proper alignment. They can be placed in front of ankles when kneeling, behind the head when lying supine, or to extend the arms in standing forward bends. They can also help you isolate movement when trying to learn a pose. You can also use a wall, door or blocks, like standing against a wall to establish front to back alignment.
Photo from yoga.edu.ms
Mary Cate says
“Hot Yoga” is not Bikram’s and should not be confused with it. Bikram’s series is scientifically created based on extensive studies and ordering the poses and timing in a highly specific way that exercises every cell, ligament, joint, organ, and muscle from the inside out. Bikram’s is the ONLY practice that allows one to achieve complete health benefits as quickly, safely, and deeply. Regular yoga is great, to, but the same dramatic healing benefits take much longer to achieve, if ever.
Hot” yoga is just a poor-man’s spin off by less qualified folks adding heat to random poses. Of course heat helps one feel more limber more quickly with any exercise, but it is at a risk of injury not found with Bikram’s done to qualified instruction. Accept no imitations!
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