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Bikram Yoga
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July 4, 2009 - 8:02 am
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Beginner's Guide to Bikram Yoga (Or Hot Yoga) - What to Expect During Your 1st ClassBy Daria Holcomb Hot Yoga, formally known as Bikram Yoga, has become increasingly popular in the recent years. It's a great way to improve your health and can provide a new and exciting way to get fit (or even lose weight) in the fall, as it starts to get cold outside. Being in a room that is heated to 95-100 degrees can be a unique experience to those of us accustomed to working out in an air-conditioned gym.

Preparation for your first Bikram Yoga class might make you excited and anxious, for sure. Will I be able to hold the poses? What if my breathing technique is not correct? What if I get light headed? What if the temperature of the room makes my heart race?

There are some steps you can take in advance to help you overcome this anxiety & set yourself up for success with yoga, regardless of what your fitness goals are. You can make these changes as soon as you decide to try hot yoga & continue following this guide as you become advanced.

1. Get Used to Drinking a Lot of Water Prior to Working Out. Imagine doing your normal workout routine in the sauna room. Now, imagine doing yoga in the sauna room (literally), where you are having to hold a pose and look past the sweat, discomfort, and breathing. If yoga is your thing, you will eventually learn to love this, but if you are a beginner than make sure you don't add dehydration to the list. Drink plenty of water before you try hot yoga for the first time and you will be rewarded with a fabulous feeling afterwards.

2. Eat a Snack Before Class. Having a piece of wheat toast, a granola or energy bar, a banana, or some other healthy carb before your workout will give your body more energy & keep the water from swooshing around in your stomach as you change poses. Some instructors will tell you not to eat at all, but Fit Girl disagrees. For the sake of your own comfort, a piece of toast is not going to ruin your first yoga experience. Besides, you will burn a LOT more calories in one yoga class than that toast would contain. Keep your light snack under 150 calories. Any more than that and the heat will make you nauseous.

3. Bring a Towel. You will sweat a lot, as you expected. Your body will also burn calories like crazy because it will use energy to cool you down and bring your temperature back to normal. This is where fat burning comes in - if you eat a light breakfast and do hot yoga after that in the morning, chances are you burned most of your calories sleeping and you have a low supply available from your light morning snack. So, as soon as your body burns off that snack, it will go straight for the fat reserves you have been wanting to trim.

Voila! If you do yoga at night, than try to eat your carb heavy meal in the morning, eat light for lunch, and have a snack 30 minutes before your hot yoga class.

4. Wear Tight Clothes. Put on a comfortable set of shorts that hug your thighs (not running shorts) and a sports bra or fitted tank top. As you sweat, you want your clothing to absorb it quickly, so you don't have puddles all around you. You also don't want to worry about giving anyone a peek at your undergarments and as you take new poses, tighter clothing with the right coverage will allow you to focus on your workout instead of your garments.

5. Share Your Experience. Yoga for beginners can be more enjoyable if you are not trying it alone. Since the popularity of Bikram yoga has grown so much in the recent years, there are many beginners in classes all over the country. Chances are good that you are not the only beginner in your class. After your yoga class ends, you will have shared an amazing hot yoga experience with people whom you never met and if you don't bring a friend, you might just make one at the class. Be positive and outgoing - yoga is all about encouragement & motivation!

Side Blurb: Is Yoga a sport? Some would argue that yoga is not a "sport" but a lifestyle change, a fitness regimen, or else. We believe it is what you make of it. You decide what role yoga will play in your life. Whether you are using it in place of meditation, or if you are seeking inner body zen and peace of mind, or if you're simply mixing it up at the gym with a new workout, it is YOUR decision how you approach your experience with yoga.

For additional motivation, check out Fit Girl Gear CUTE yoga tops, pants, yoga jumpsuits and more - all on sale! The online store includes a nice selection of affordable workout clothes for women.

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