Well, it’s the New Year, and to amp up my healthy New Year with Bikram yoga weight loss, I have begun my annual 21 Day “Bikram Sizzle and Glow” (as I’ve termed it after all these years). Whenever readers ask me about quick healthy results for weight loss, I often suggest a 21 day Bikram yoga challenge for a jump start into a healthy program (please check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program). Check out my tips below on surviving the Bikram torture chamber; yes, that’s really what they call it.
Some basic details on what Bikram yoga is from Bikram’s Yoga College official website:
Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures Sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga.
It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function. Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits.
Bikram is a great choice for kicking off a healthy lifestyle:
The most amazing person and athlete I have ever known, (she ran 26 marathons a year in her 50’s) once described Bikram as the most complete and hardest form of exercise. I absolutely agree with her. It is a full body workout, your heart races (ahem cardio), and you’re forced to sweat out all the junk whether you knew it was there or not. Plus, you feel like a boss, a bengal tiger, if you will, after completing 90 minutes in the torture chamber.
Some people practice Bikram all year long (and their bodies are absolutely amazing). I like to change things up a lot when it comes to exercise (bootcamp, dance cardio, pilates, yoga, etc) so I save my Bikram practice for the winter when it’s cold, and the hot Bikram “torture” chamber is a welcoming respite from the snow.
Still, many people are scared to even enter the torture chamber for the first time. Read on for some tips to start your own Bikram Sizzle and Glow New Years challenge.
How To Survive The Bikram Torture Chamber
1. Have the right gear
Less is more when it comes to clothing in Bikram. You will really regret wearing sweatpants to this class. Choose fabric that is moisture wicking. Shorts or capris are your best friend in a Bikram class. You need not spend a fortune, tiny shorts and a sports bra are honestly fine…some guys wear their swimsuits. Prepare to be drenched.
WAYmat Bikram Yoga Mat
WAYmat is an ALL-IN-ONE Yoga mat / towel + grip. Leave your rubber mat and towel at home, WE got you covered from head to toe. Literally. When you get home throw it in the washer and dryer and be on your WAY!
Yes they even have a Bengal tiger print mat!
3. Pace Yourself
This is your own “yoga marathon” of 26 poses, and you are going to need to pace yourself, both mentally and physically. Normal deep breathing through your nose is what’s going to help you here. That, and NOT using up all of your energy fidgeting or going “all out” the first 15 minutes only to find you cannot continue.
If you need a rest (which you will): The resting place in between standing poses is just standing still with arms to the side eyes open (again try your best NOT to fidget as you’re just wasting energy). The resting place between seated poses is savasana with your eyes open. Really try to be still in these moments: it’s where the circulatory magic happens (newly oxygenated blood pumping throughout your body).
4. Adhere to the set water breaks
There are set water breaks or “party time” as it’s called in Bikram: once in the standing series, once before the seated series, and once before your final savasana resting pose. Any trainer, whether it is Bikram or bootcamp, will tell you to go easy on the water and minimally sip your water during a workout. Don’t gulp it all down, you may get dizzy and potentially need to um, well, puke. Just try to get hydrated before/after Bikram and listen to those “party breaks.” It’s OK to sneak one or two sips, but let’s not get too crazy.
5. Find The Dance
I only just figured this one out the other day, after practicing Bikram on and off for over 14 years. Find the dance in these 26 postures. Your mistakes and where you are today is all part of YOUR dance. Make yourself proud. Be happy. Embrace what you are now. Basically, don’t resist all of the pain and torture of this class. Believe in yourself, move slow if you need to, and commit.
6. Take Care of Yourself
I will explain this with an anecdotal tale of my friend who took a first date to a Bikram class…He had “always wanted to try it.” He came to class dehydrated and pushed himself too hard trying to show off for his beautiful date. A recipe for Bikram disaster. Midway through the class he passed out and the teachers had to call an ambulance. He did not take care of himself. I’m also pretty sure he did not check with his doctore before beginning a new exercise program.
Please, go easy on yourself. Know your limits. Pace yourself. And HYDRATE.
The 21 Day Bikram Sizzle and Glow
If you feel like you are ready to try this New Year’s new you Bikram kickoff, it’s pretty simple. Do Bikram yoga for 21 days. Just do it. That’s all.
For more information on Bikram yoga, check out the official Bikram’s Yoga College of India page.