Bikram basics


It’s likely you’ll have heard of Bikram, or hot yoga, as it’s sometimes called, and claims that you can burn up to 1000 calories in one session.  You may even have given it a go and sweated your way through the 90 minutes wondering the entire time what on earth you were doing there.

As far as I know, every Bikram yoga studio in the UK offers the opportunity to take on a '30 day challenge'.  It costs around £30 and challenges participants to undertake 30 consecutive daily classes, the thinking being that it takes this amount of time to make or break a habit. 

I took that challenge and can honestly say that it was one of the hardest yet most beneficial things I've ever done. 

There are many incredible benefits that can be listed, but I believe that everyone will experience different ones, depending upon their body and lifestyle. So instead, I've established a few helpful tips to assist anyone tempted to give it a go or still in their first few weeks of practice.

Top tips

1.  Breathe:  This is perhaps the most important thing you can do in the class; slowly and deeply, in through the nose and out through the nose (except at the very beginning and end sections of the class).  Focusing on your breath and slowing it down after each posture helps you to block out everything else that’s going on – the intense heat, the sweat, the voice in your head that’s screaming at you to leave the room.  Your breath is your strength.

2.  Keep hydrated:  Given the amount you will sweat in class, this means more than the usual 2ltrs a day – around 3ltrs on days that you practice. I’d also recommend including coconut water in your diet.  It has more potassium than the equivalent amount of bananas and is full of electrolytes; a perfect natural sports drink.

3.  Check yourself out:  Okay, not quite like that, but it is very helpful to be in a position where you can see yourself in a mirror during the class.  Try to lock your gaze and keep the focus on you and your body’s alignment.  Don’t be tempted to check out the guy standing next to you – he’s all disgusting and sweaty anyway, eeuwgh!

4.  Don’t wipe away the sweat:  a) It is one of the most fruitless exercises you will ever undertake as more and more will keep forming and b) You won’t be allowing it to do its job of eliminating waste through the skin and cooling you down.  If you're finding it difficult to keep hold of your limbs due to slipperiness, keep persevering - your muscles will become stronger the more you try. 

5.  Remove your make-up:  All of it.  Not only will this allow your skin to breathe and for the better expulsion of sweat along with all those nasty toxins, but it will also prevent you from looking like a panda, which is extremely distracting when you’re concentrating on point 3.

6.  Respect it:  Now, I'm definitely no purist but, having made the mistake of drinking a couple (ok, quite a few) glasses of wine the night before a morning class, I seriously suggest re-thinking this type of preparation. I should have stuck with just a couple.

7.  Less is best: When it comes to clothing, that is.  Small, tight items in sweat wicking fabrics are best - you'll regret those heavy joggers and baggy t-shirt about 15 minutes in.  Please believe me when I say that you won't feel in the least bit self-conscious about your body during the class and will be more concerned with what it can do than what it looks like.  

8.  Don’t eat for at least 2 hours before class:  If you do, you will feel sick. Fact!

I challenge you to give it a go! Do let me know how you get on.

NB. Please consult your GP before embarking on any kind of exercise programme. 


  1. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    Heather XX

    1. Thank you so much for the comment Heather, my very first! :-)

      Glad you found the tips useful.

      Celine xx