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Frequently Asked Questions
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What are the keys to a successful first Bikram Original Hot Yoga class?
WHAT TO WEAR
When you wear the right clothes, you feel good. When you feel good, you have more fun.
It’s hot in the room - when it comes to what to wear - less is more. The happiest hot yogis wear shorts. But hey, not everyone is into wearing shorts - if you want to wear leggings, that will definitely work.
Avoid sweatpants or anything baggy like that.
For a top, lots of yoginis like to go with layers. A sports bra top and a light tank top over is a great way to go.
Perfume? For what
Keep it simple - less is more.
EATING AND DRINKING BEFORE CLASS
You are going to sweat in class, so you want to hydrate BEFORE the class. If you wait until you’re sweating your a$$ off in class and then you start guzzling water, you are not going to be a happy camper. So, drink water all day leading up to the class.
Food? - try not to eat anything for THREE hours before the class. That way your stomach will be empty. You are going to be bending, twisting and compressing your abdominal area - having a stomach full of pasta or pancakes is not going to be fun.
Juice? YES. Any kind of juice leading up to class is going to help. Juices will give you sugar for energy. And juices contain some electrolytes to help your body’s systems during the class.
WHAT TO BRING TO CLASS
The very basic core needs: mat, towel and water.
Mat - Any kind of yoga mat will work. The best is one that is not super thick because the thicker and squishier the mat, the tougher it will be to balance.
Towel - a yoga towel is great because it fits on your mat just right and it is made from materials that will give you a nice solid base to stand on, without moving around or being slippery. If you don’t have a yoga towel, a big beach towel or big bath towel will work to get you started.
Water - One way to go is to have your water in a specially insulated water bottle so your water stays cool the whole class. Or, you can bring a bottle that is not insulated, but the water will end up warm by the end of class.
If you don’t these things – no worries, we have them for sale or rental at the studio.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN CLASS
One of the most beautiful things about Bikram Original Hot Yoga is that because the room is so hot, and everyone is trying so hard to follow the teacher’s commands, it is a total non-judgement zone. It really is a sanctuary where you will be able to lose yourself in your own little “yoga bubble”.
The teacher instructs the class in a group setting, giving instructions how to do each posture. The commands are literally step by step. You just listen and do what you can.
YOU’RE GONNA SWEAT - LEAVE IT ALONE AND ENJOY IT
Pro Tip: Don’t try to wipe the sweat away. The sweat is actually your air conditioner system. It is cooling you off. When you wipe it away, it just keeps coming back.
You are going to feel amazing! Okay, maybe not right after class, but wait until you take a nice shower and relax - your muscles will feel stretched and invigorated; your stress level will be way down; and you will have a radiant, happy glow.
TAKE YOUR SECOND CLASS RIGHT AWAY
The sooner the better - your body will have the muscle memory from the first class, and the second class will be much easier.
What is the first class like?
Your first class is primarily to get an idea of Bikram Yoga. At any point you can rest until you feel able to start again. As a first timer, you’ll be in the back row of the yoga room. In front of you will be students of all levels of experience. You can watch these students and follow along. The teacher will guide you, but there are no expectations upon you at all. You simply do what you can do. Every class has all levels of students, as a beginner you will certainly not be alone! We’d like to encourage you to come along and decide for yourself.
- As a first timer, you’ll be standing in the back row of the yoga room. In front of you will be students of all levels of experience.
- The front rows will generally have the most experienced students. You can watch these students and follow along.
- The teacher will guide you, but there are no expectations upon you at all. You simply do what you can do. Your first class is primarily to get an idea of Bikram Yoga.
- At any point in class, you can rest and perhaps watch till you feel able to start again. It’s up to you to proceed at your own pace.
- It’s OK to sit down at any point. Please don’t talk though out of respect for your fellow students.
- Expect to feel hot, but know that you will become used to this and eventually not even notice the heat.
- Expect that this may be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but know that you can sit down when you need to, drink water and rest.
- It is very common to feel overwhelmed or a bit odd during your first visit. Please take it easy. And don’t expect too much of yourself.
Be sure to come back as soon as possible for your second class. The second class will be easier the sooner you do it after the first class.
What if I am not flexible?
If you are not flexible, then Original Hot Yoga was designed exactly for you. The heat will be your best friend. It will allow you to stretch safely. And the beauty of Original Hot Yoga is that it is not a competition – all you have to do is try your best to do each posture the right way and you will get 100% of the benefits.
How many times per week should I take class?
In the beginning, take class six days per week for two months until you are performing all but the very difficult poses such as the Standing Bow Pulling and Stretching Pose eighty percent correctly. If you are restricted by any medical condition or have any chronic disease, you should continue daily until your condition is resolved. Even when your progress is measured in fractions of inches that add excellence to what is already good, rather than in bold strokes, like being able to balance on one leg for ten seconds, you should continue your Yoga practice daily. How valuable is this Yoga habit? Look at someone who has been doing it for twenty or thirty years. You will never be able to guess their age. They have become timeless.
What is happening in my body during an Original Hot Yoga class?
Muscles are contracted and stretched at a cellular, biochemical level. Lipids and proteins reorganize optimally in such stretching, allowing for better circulation. Joint mobility and range of motion are increased, and strength is built by the use of gravity. Muscles and joints are balanced. Blood and calcium are brought to the bones. Working against gravity strengthens the bones. The organs of the immune system within the bones (red marrow) are boosted. The lymph nodes are massaged, lymph is pumped throughout the body, and white blood cells are distributed throughout the body as the lymphatic system works more efficiently. There are both compression and extension to the thymus, spleen, appendix, and intestines; lungs are stretched and flushed out by increased blood circulation. The endocrine glands are encouraged to secrete appropriate hormones, and the communication between hormones and various glands and systems of the body is perfected. Toxins and waste are eliminated through the organs of elimination. The nerves are stimulated by compression and extension, improving communication within the systems of the body and supplying fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout. The brain is stimulated by improved circulation and by varying blood pressure.
Why is the room hot?
Original Hot Yoga (also called 26and2 or Bikram Yoga) classes are held in a studio that is heated to 105 degrees, with 40% humidity. The heat in the yoga room helps warm the body’s muscles and joints, encouraging blood flow, and helping protect the body during stretching exercises and postures.
12 reasons to practice yoga in a hot room:
Muscles, fascia and connective tissue become more elastic allowing for greater flexibility with less chance of injury
Warm muscles burn fat more effectively. When we stretch, the fat has no room to sit so it redistributes to the bloodstream which we then use as energy
Blood becomes thinner which clears the circulatory system
When the body is warm, T-cell output from the thymus gland is multiplied 20 fold. T-cells fight infection which in turn keeps the immune system functioning properly
Warmer temperatures produce a fluid like stretch that allows for greater range of motion in the joints
Heart rate becomes elevated which improves the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs)
Capillaries respond to heat by dilating. This allows more oxygen to muscles, tissues, glands and organs helping in the removal of waste products
Higher temperatures improve the function of the nervous system, meaning that messages are carried more rapidly to and from the brain or spinal cord (you think more clearly)
Improves strength because proteins can be utilised more effectively
Speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids
Provides strengthening of willpower, self control and determination through the challenging environment
Besides all that, the heat makes you sweat alot and after class you feel amazing!!!
Can anybody do the Original Hot Yoga?
Yes, anyone can do it. It is for all levels - and especially great for people who have never done yoga before. In each class there will be all levels of experience, all ages, sizes and shapes.
It’s not about doing the poses perfectly and it’s not about how you look.
It’s about trying the right way. All you have to do is try and you will get results - meaning feeling energized, relieving stress, gaining flexibility, and just plain feeling happy.
So who will be in your classes? All kinds of people:
Recovering from hip or knee replacements
Healing chronic back pain
High school and college students
Can yoga help with depression?
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the world. It is estimated that there are 350 million people worldwide who have some form of depression. If you are suffering from depression, you are not alone.
Yes, studies have shown that attending yoga classes helps people who are suffering from depression. A 2016 study found that “Yoga plus regular care was effective in reducing symptoms of depression compared with regular care alone.” Regular care means the person is being treated for depression in addition to doing yoga classes. Another study found that Yoga showed greater reductions in depressive symptoms than waitlist, treatment as usual, and attention control. Greater reductions in depressive symptoms were associated with a higher frequency of yoga sessions per week. (Meaning the more yoga you do, the better .
Is yoga helpful if I have breast cancer?
Yes, a study done in 2016 concluded “We found that yoga was more effective than no therapy in improving quality of life and reducing fatigue and sleep disturbances. We also found that yoga was better for reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue in women when compared with psychosocial or educational interventions such as counselling. Our findings indicate that women with a diagnosis of breast cancer can use yoga as supportive therapy for improving their quality of life and mental health, in addition to standard cancer treatments.”
A National Institutes of Health article reviewing many studies concluded that “The mind-body-spirit connection applied in yoga is particularly valuable for conditions that affect both physical and mental health, such as cancer. Oncologic patients often suffer from long-term psychological distress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and chronic pain. A recent Cochrane meta-analysis on yoga for breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide, includes an impressive 24 randomized control trials (RCTs) involving 2166 women. The review recommends yoga as a complementary intervention for improving health-related QOL and reducing fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, yoga may boost the immune system of oncology patients. Patients with breast cancer in a Hatha yoga program showed decreases in interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1beta cytokine from isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide, and interferon-gamma, suggesting that yoga protects against stress-related immune suppression.”
Can yoga help me if I suffer from headaches?
Yes, a study reported that this review found preliminary evidence of short-term efficacy of yoga in improving headache frequency, headache duration, and pain intensity in patients suffering from tension-type headaches.”
Being the sixth leading cause of disability worldwide, headache is a major public health problem, strongly limiting quality of life. Patients with chronic headache even report significantly lower quality of life than those with episodic headache.
The study reported that “An important non-pharmacological treatment approach that has been shown to effectively reduce chronic pain, stress, and several other headache risk factors such as psychiatric conditions and obesity is yoga. Yoga has been used for health reasons by an estimated 31 million American adults at least once in their lifetime, with pain and stress relief being among the most common reasons for this use.”
Can yoga help with neck pain?
Yes. In fact, a recent study found that yoga was more effective in treating neck pain than regular exercise. In the study, fifty-one patients (mean age 47.8 y; 82.4% female) were randomized to yoga (n=25) and exercise (n=26) intervention. After the study period, patients in the yoga group reported significantly less neck pain intensity compared with the exercise group [mean difference: -13.9 mm (95% CI, -26.4 to -1.4), P=0.03]. The yoga group reported less disability and better mental quality of life. Range of motion and proprioceptive acuity were improved and the pressure pain threshold was elevated in the yoga group.”
The study found that “Yoga was more effective in relieving chronic nonspecific neck pain than a home-based exercise program. Yoga reduced neck pain intensity and disability and improved health-related quality of life. Moreover, yoga seems to influence the functional status of neck muscles, as indicated by improvement of physiological measures of neck pain.”
Another study concluded that “Yoga has short-term effects on chronic neck pain, its related disability, quality of life, and mood suggesting that yoga might be a good treatment option.”
Is yoga good for my heart?
Yes! A National Institutes of Health article published recently reviewed 44 studies and found that:
“The holistic yoga philosophy promotes a sustainably healthy lifestyle that may be useful for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation patients. A meta-analysis of 44 RCTs found that yoga improved systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, respiratory rate, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance. The improvements in autonomic measures were attributable to increased parasympathetic activity through upregulation of GABA. This modulation counteracts the excessive activity of the sympathetic nervous system that has been associated with hypertension. Rigorous yoga styles, such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga, are more suitable for cardiovascular fitness, as no reductions in blood pressure were appreciated with Kundalini yoga interventions, which only uses poses lying down.”
Notably, the article says that “rigorous” yoga styles are “more suitable for cardiovascular fitness”. What could be more rigorous than a 90-minute Original Hot Yoga Class!
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