So really — Why DO you make the room hot? And what’s with all that sweat?
According to the principles of Bikram yoga, heating the yoga room to around 100 degrees Farenheit serves several purposes. The heat helps to:
1) protect muscles while allowing for deeper stretching;
2) detoxify the body by opening pores and letting toxins escape via the sweat;
3) stimulate your heart rate for a better cardiovascular workout.
Here’s some in-depth info on each of those points:
1) This first point is easy to explain – the warmer your muscles are, the more flexible and adaptable they are. It’s the old spaghetti in hot water trick – the heat will make your muscles more supple, allowing you to work deeper while avoiding injury. So say you’re not so naturally flexible; say you’ve been training for a marathon and the idea of having to stretch out your quads makes you want to cry. No need to shed a tear – just some sweat. Your hamstrings are going to fall in love with our furnace.
2) Detoxification via sweat: Let’s talk about sweat. Sweat, as you know, is your body’s natural way of lowering your body temperature when you get too hot. When the sweat hits the air, the air makes the sweat evaporate, and as the sweat evaporates off your skin, you begin to cool down. But what about the detox thing? Is sweating a good way to “detox” ? Yes, to an extent. Sweat is made almost completely of water, with tiny amounts of other chemicals like ammonia, urea, salts and sugar (ammonia and urea are what is left over when your body breaks down protein). Toxins – harmful chemicals that can come from food or water, or from chemicals used to grow or prepare food – are processed by organs like the liver and kidneys and then eliminated in the form of urine, feces, and, (drumroll here …) sweat. So yes, sweating more will help you rid of harmful toxins. Many of us discover that we feel clean and refreshed a few weeks into our Bikram practice – some would even say we glow.
3) Pump up the heart rate:Fact: your heart rate is higher in the heat. They say that if you are exercising in the heat and the temperature increases from 75 degrees to 90 degrees, you can expect your heart rate to increase by approximately 10 beats a minute. And humidity magnifies this effect, mostly because sweat doesn’t cool you off as well in humid conditions (it’s the air evaporating the sweat that causes the cooling effect, and that doesn’t happen as well when the air is wet).
So… the next question is, is the fact that heat increases your heart rate a good thing? Yes! In fact it means that you’ll get a nice cardiovascular workout during your yoga practice. In class you’ll find that, due to the nature of the asanas and the heat, your heart rate and respiratory rate become elevated to your target level. This can help you determine how intensely to work during class. BUT…
There is one last thing to note about the heat & heart rate: Please be aware that dehydration ALSO causes an increase in heart rate and that coming to class dehydrated ISN’T a smart way to force a cardiovascular workout. When you become dehydrated, your blood volume decreases and, as a result, less blood is pumped with each heartbeat. That means if you come into the yoga room dehydrated, the combination of the exercise, the heat, and the dehydration could be enough to take you OVER your target heart rate, or at least make you feel really uncomfortable in your yoga class. We want you to feel invigorated and alive, not dry and draggy. So stay tanked, ya’ hear?
I took a Bikram class once and I felt dizzy and positively worn out. Is this normal? Will this go away?
TOTALLY NORMAL. It is not unusual to feel nauseous or dizzy during your first class. Bikram writes, “Practicing yoga in a heated room reveals to us our present condition and inspires us to take much better care of ourselves.” Isn’t that amazing? We love that. But let’s talk more about feeling like you’re going to throw-up.
Usually that nauseous feeling is related to dehydration. Most of us just do not drink enough water to get us through our busy NYC days, let alone enough to get us through yoga in a heated room. How much water do you need to drink every day to do yoga? That answer is different for each of us, but at least 3-4 liters a day is a good place to start. Tanking up before class should really help cure that woozy feeling.
The other thing to remember is that if you do feel sick in class, don’t let it scare you, but do take care of yourself: sit down, drink some water, watch some poses. We all have rough days in the hot room. Often when I have a tough class, I imagine that my body is getting rid of some junk it doesn’t need – like all that ice cream with all those sprinkles that I ate the night before. Yum Sometimes sprinkles are worth a little queasiness in camel pose; sometimes they’re not. Regardless, I always feel best in class when I’m treating my body right. And that’s a great benefit of this yoga. You’ll learn to drink more water and eat better so you can feel even more terrific in class! The more you learn to relax in class and take care of yourself inside the hot room, the more energized you will feel throughout the class and throughout the rest of your day.
One final note: While we always do careful research about any information we offer to students, this site is not designed to substitute for professional health care. If you have more questions, please be sure to consult with your own health care provider about your particular situation and to receive individual guidance specifically designed for you.
What if I’m stiff as a board? Yoga isn’t for me, right?
Au contraire! Sounds like you’re bored of feeling like a board, and if that’s the case, this is the yoga for you. The secret is in the heat. The warmer your muscles are, the more flexible and adaptable they are. It’s the old spaghetti in hot water trick – as the heat makes your muscles more supple, you’ll be able to work deeper while avoiding injury. Your hamstrings are going to fall in love with our furnace. Come in feeling stiff as a board, you’ll leave feeling light as a feather …
My goal is to lose weight. Is that going to happen?
This yoga helps you find the right weight for your body. Is that a lower number on the scale? For some of us it is, for others it isn^t. Bikram yoga is an amazing exercise – it allows you to safely work your muscles to their maximum, which means you’ll see results quickly. You’ll watch yourself lose inches and develop muscle tone and strength that might never come from other forms of exercise. If there’s weight to lose, you’ll lose it here. But you’ll also come to realize that it’s just as important to feel healthy, happy and self-confident as it is to be a certain size or number on a scale. Our fabulous friend Wendy jokes, “No one makes money by telling you you’re fine just the way you are …” And it’s true … but we only make you the promises we can keep, so here goes:
We promise that if you come to Bikram, you will work you hard, and you will get results. You will love what you see in the mirror, and you will achieve your most fit, most ideal you. You will find the weight that is right for your body, and you will feel healthy, confident and beautiful. What more could you ask for?
What if I haven’t exercised in a long time. Will I be able to do this?
YES!! In fact, Bikram Yoga is one of the only yoga series that doesn’t have separate classes for beginners and advanced students because the series is so accessible to different body types and fitness levels.
The series emphasizes strength and stability of the spine and legs, and improved cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. There are no full body inversions and no poses that require weight bearing on the arms. No one will ever be turned away or made to feel uncomfortable about any physical limitations. We invite you to talk to instructors before and after class about any injuries or concerns you have about your body.
How many times a week should I practice?
Many Bikram teachers recommend that their students practice 10 times a month to get the most benefit from Bikram yoga, but there’s no real hard and fast answer to this question.
Like anything else, the more you practice, the more benefits you see and feel. Unlike any other exercise, you can’t really overdo Bikram yoga – in other words, your body doesn’t need to take days off to recover. You can practice everyday, or you can practice as much as you like. Bikram tells new students, “Come every day for the next 3 months and I will give you a new body, a new life!” I tell students,”Come to Bikram Yoga Lower East Side every day for the next 30 days, & I’ll give you:
- a new body,
- a new life,
- a big sweaty kiss,
- a special place on this website … and
- your next month is FREE!”
How will I benefit from Bikram Yoga?
Ahhhh…we’ll let you count the ways …
Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll see and feel when you practice Bikram Yoga:
- Reduced stress· Improved strength and flexibility
- A stronger immune system
- Heightened mental clarity & ability to focus
- Muscle where it used to feel mushy
- Heightened self-confidence and self awareness
- A love for what you see when you look in the mirror
- A sense of pride in what you are able to accomplish with a little determination and a smile.
What should I wear and bring?
- Wear something light and comfortable. Most women prefer wearing either fitted shorts (with some spandex) or running shorts with a liner. On top, jog bras, workout shirts, or fitted tank tops work well.
- For men, swimming trunks or shorts are recommended.
You should bring
- A mat (we do have mats for rental and for sale) and
- A lock for your locker.
- You have your choice of bringing your own towels or using ours. Most people need at least 2 large towels in a class (one to shower with).
- Finally, we sell water, though you are welcome to bring your own. Please don’t bring any colored beverages into the room.
How long are the classes and what levels?
All classes are all levels and all 90 minutes. Please plan on practicing for the entire 90 minutes.
Do I need to make a reservation?
Consider your space reserved! We can^t wait to see you!
You don’t need to call ahead to make reservations at this time.
If you are new to our studio please arrive at least 15 minutes before class is scheduled. Drop-ins are welcome. All students should be in the yoga room 5 min. before class starts. The studio opens and closes 30 minutes before scheduled sessions.