Your First Bikram Yoga Class

I am trying to convince myself to go back to Bikram and convinced a friend of mine to try it for the first time. This post is everything I want to remember to tell my friend to set her up for a successful first time.

  • In class: you’ll be down to a sports bra and booty shorts. Literally all the ladies wear this, even if they are out of shape or fat. Outside of class, I layer regular yoga class clothes over my in-class outfit.
  • The night before class: fill two plastic water bottles halfway with water, then lay them sideways in the freezer, the next morning, fill the rest of the way with water. Because the water will reach room temperature and 100+ degree water is gross even when you need it. For the love, do not use a metal water bottle. If you don’t have a plastic water bottle, put down the environmental activist sword you’re dying on and go to 7-11 where you can get Deer Park liters for 2 for $2.
  • Bring your own yoga mat. I use a Jade Harmony (74″ midnight blue if you must know ;)).
    • There will an option to rent a mat from the studio, but I always feel more confident in the cleanliness of what I take care of myself. With the Jade Harmony, it’s made of rubber, so I literally take it into the shower to wash the sweat off and leave it on the balcony for a couple hours to dry.
  • Bring a large towel. If you don’t have a fancy yoga towel (I certainly didn’t until I got one in a recent subscription box), use a beach towel. The goal is to cover the yoga mat. Because you will sweat in places you didn’t know you had sweat glands, and you don’t want to be slipping on sweaty mat, and you don’t want to lay in your own puddles during savasana.
    • Again, you will probably have the option to rent a towel or two at the studio. Again, I prefer my own + the yoga towels I’ve seen have been heavily bleached, and that’s going to be too itchy-scratchy for my sensitive skin (do I act like a princess? No. Do I treat my skin like I’m one? Yessssss.)
  • Leave as much as possible at home. I didn’t always have this choice since I was hitting the studio usually after work, but since a studio has opened near my home, I’ll be treating it like I treat the gym. Which means I leave the house with only my license, an in-case-of-emergency credit card, and phones. The cards stay in my car (out of sight, of course), the phones and keys come in with me, but stay in my yoga mat bag. There probably won’t be lockers, just cubbies and the less you bring, the less anyone can screw up their karma by taking it. Because for all the yoga/hippie/woo in the studio, the reality is that, yes, even thieves go to Bikram.
    • Special note to those who wear jewelry: take it all off, even the stuff you always wear and usually forget to take off during a massage. Moist heat (+ drowning in your sweat) is nothing kind to jewelry of any sort. Look in a mirror. Do not forget that thin chain around your neck or your wedding/engagement ring(s) or … well, if you want to wear a red string around your wrist, that’s probably okay. But hey! That fitness tracker has got to go! And by go, I mean stay home and wait faithfully in the kitchen (heh). You might miss 100 steps walking to/from the car/gym, but I’m sure you’d agree its better to miss those than to lose your tracker at the studio.

Since you end in savasana and can basically lay there until the next class starts, recovery from class is pretty simple, exit the hot room, adjust to “normal room temperature,” and either layer on outside clothes to go home to shower, or use the shower at the studio (this has been the norm at the studios I’ve been to/overheard being discussed, but it may be that your studio doesn’t have showers. Yikes, those poor yoga-before-work people!) before redressing and heading out. I generally opt to throw on a shirt, pants over booty shorts optional (I have reached the age of “Idgaf if you don’t like my body size”), stuff everything back into the mat bag, and head home for a long, great shower in my own home. With my yoga mat. 😀

Despite my boredom with the 26+2 moving meditation (and my inability to do the last third of the class due to my low blood pressure), I always feel fantastic after class. It’s almost enough to keep me coming back.

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