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Bikram's HOT yoga

I used to do this yoga about 7 or 8 years ago and truly loved it. I’m planning on getting back into it as it seems like it would go hand and hand with the raw food lifestyle.

Does anyone here do Bikram’s hot yoga?

Does anyone know if Bikram Choudhury himself is a vegetarian or vegan? Just wondering about his diet.

The first few times I remember getting sick and nauseaus which I see is common from his website. I saw that someone recommended sea salt and potassium tablets to help prevent the initial nausea. Anyone know about that?

Would love to hear about anyone’s experiences.

I’m lucky to have a nice Bikram studio close to my work so it would be super easy to get to after work!



  • I do hot yoga 2-3 times per week (not the exact Bikram sequence) and really believe in its cleansing and detoxifying properties. Despite coming home covered in sweat, I always feel so clean after class! Some people do get nauseated, often because of getting overheated, dehydration, or being new to the experience. It sounds like the sea salt and potassium would be to keep these important electrolytes in balance (Na and K are two major ones) because of water loss. I think the main thing would be to start slow and take breaks when you need them, don’t push yourself too hard at first. Good for you for getting back in to it!

  • i do hot yoga (again not the exact bikram series) 2-3 times per week and ashtanga yoga 2-3 times per week. i find i do get nauseous and tired quite quickly if i’m not well fed and properly hydrated. morning classes are harder for me because i eat very lightly during the day and usually don’t have my first heavier food until mid-afternoon.

    after work i am usually fine if i have a banana or larabar right before and a few litres of water during the day.the most important thing is to constantly hydrate. sea vegetables are also good for replenishing natural salt levels, so kelp noodles, seaweed salads or dulse flakes are good for people who do a lot of hot yoga. coconut water also contains many essential electrolytes but i find coconuts to be way too much work!

  • I had my first class today since 2001 and it went well. Great studio and the teacher, Jessica was just wonderful and so supportive!! I prepared myself extra carefully and didn’t get the nausea that I was worried about. Wow, it’s really the best workout ever and I’m quite an active person. I was reading parts of Bikram’s book and it’s supposed to be a form of exercise that works out 100% of your whole body including muscles, ligaments, tendons, organs, and all body systems. It’s rather intense with the heat but I felt so good afterwards. The key for me is always staying hydrated and not drinking coffee before a class (ouch! but worth it).

    In Bikram’s begginner book he believes that when the body is functioning perfectly from doing his yoga, your digestive system is able to digest anything and turn it into perfect energy and dispose of what the body doesn’t need. He apparently loves baked choc chip cookies.(he’s now in his 70s but looks like a young 50 yr old and so do many of the people he mentored) He doesn’t avocate eating meat and processed junk food, but he does say that we are meant to enjoy life and that when doing his yoga, you don’t need to be on a strict health-food regime. I’m not saying I’m going to go out and eat donuts and baked cookies everyday while I do this yoga. I’m just hoping to find a nice balance with yoga, my health, raw food yet still enjoy a cooked vegetarian meal with friends or at a nice restaurant with the hubby every so often without the fear or guilt of getting totally sick b/c my tummy is too delicate to eat anything cooked.

  • I do Bikram in San Francisco, and I love it beyond words. I used to practice about a year and a half ago, but I stopped for quite a while. I just started again two weeks ago and have been going almost every day (I missed this weekend and tonight). I can already see the change in my body. I love the clean and energized feeling i have when i leave.

  • Would it work to go to a couple classes, learn the sequence, and then do this at home (we have a sauna in our basement). I haven’t had too much experience with yoga but I heard that the postures are beginner ones.

  • you have a sauna at home? can i come over?? i think it would definitely work to do what you say. also, bikram has a book showing all of the postures that you can buy and do at home. the postures are relatively simple, though i think you’d benefit from doing a class now and then so that an instructor can give you any necessary corrections.

  • According to Bikram for best results, he recommends doing the yoga for 2 months, 6 days a week. Then from there you can do it anywhere from 2-7 days a week. I think going to the classes for a month or so would be best and then doing the class at home. There is also a CD which would also be helpful for folks doing it at home along with the book.

    If you do have a studio close by and it’s feasible to go to classes, then I’d highly recommend it. It’s worth every cent! I feel I get so much out of a class, so much more than being at home in a little hot room by myself. The teachers will let you know if you are doing it right and help you advance in your poses. They look simple but they can be extremely difficult and some take a while to get perfectly. It’s a very intense yoga and I believe taking the classes initially for a couple months is invaluable.

    Personally I think that raw food is wonderful but this yoga for me would be the most valuable tool in keeping my entire body and body systems strong, healthy and in the best shape possible. (I love to run but running only works out 10% of the body I have just learned!)

    After one class yesterday, my knees (battered from all the running I do) felt improvements, I feel so much more calm and relaxed and I haven’t had coffee since last Saturday morning. And I’m the biggest caffeine addict on this entire site, I’m willing to bet :-)

  • Joyce, do you have favorite postures? I love standing bow pose – I feel such a ridiculous sense of accomplisment when I get my leg up higher than before and when I can stay in the posture the entire time. I’m also always amazed at how camel makes me feel like I’m detoxing on the spot.

  • Yeah I love standing bow too but right now I’m so inflexible that I felt like my standing bow was the worst in the room yesterday! But 7 yrs ago I remember really loving it. I’m sure in time I’ll grow to love it again. I also love the eagle pose. For some strange reason, it came easy to me. I also like the triangle pose as well but again after 7 yrs it was tough for me. I was able to get all the way down on the fixed firm position which I think really helped my poor knees out yesterday. It’s so nice to be able to sit and stand up from the toilet w/o horrible aching pain (from all that darn running i’ve done for many years)

    Of course I remember having a few tough days where the dead body pose was my favorite posture! Yet when I make it to the floor series, I know that I’ll make it through the class!

    I’m at work now really looking forward to the 6.30 class tonight :-D

  • dagnytaggart—what classes do you like? i live in SF too. i know you might not feel comfortable publicly posting where you go on a regular basis, but i’m just curious what your experiences have been. i tried global yoga, and although i loved it, never went back. should go.

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    I do bikram at home with a CD. I have heard him say in an interview that if you do Bikram yoga you can eat everything and still be v. healthy!! I disagree but who cares, Bikrams Yoga is the Best!! I did it every day for 6 months, it is lovely to feel that physically good. I can’t wait till I live near a studio and can have proper lessons with a real teacher.

  • Mandy, I just got totally lost in reading your blog. Sadly, I need to get some work done. ;) It’s funny reading someone else’s tale of going raw in San Francisco. I had quite a few lunches from the Alive farmers’ market cart myself! I decided after tasting almost everything that I really don’t enjoy their food – it all tastes oddly sweet to me, like there are too many ingredients and it is trying to hard. I prefer a big salad with identifiable ingredients. But before I get too self-righteous, I should admit that I just ate steamed vegetables for lunch – my practice group went out for a group function at a thai place and there were no vegetarian salads on the menu. Anyway, I practice bikram at Funky Door Yoga. They have a few locations, but I usually go to the one on Polk at Pine. I really love the studio and would definitely recommend it. If you’re going to go try a class sometime, let me know! - Judy

  • hi judy, i’m thrilled you liked my blog! as far as the alive cart goes, i guess i like sweet things. i love their collard green wraps & kale salads. and the pomegranite lavender cheesecake… there are no words.

    you probably don’t like cafe gratitude either then? i love it, i go there whenever i get the chance!

    i have been meaning to try out funky door, so i’ll probably check it out later this month. thanks for the info!

  • Zoe – when did you stop doing Bikram yoga? Did you notice you didn’t feel quite as well? Any changes? Just curious. When I stopped the Bikram yoga a while back, I never felt that good again….until after yesterday’s class!

  • i find standing bow pose to be so challenging….it comes so close to the end of the standing series that i’m often dogged tired at the point and have to do everything in my power to stay in it for the full time. i love eagle though, and tree (yes, i’m lazy!). on the floor, i really love the hip opening i get from pigeon pose, and bound angle pose.

    i am always amazed at how easily i can flow through the class one day while i struggle like crazy the next. yoga shows you how to treat your body properly, listen to yourself, and to read the signals you’re being given. i am still really struggling with non-striving though, and being at peace with where i am each day.

  • lzhptlzhpt Raw Newbie

    i am a new bikram—about 2 months in after 2 years of vinyassa flow. After getting yelled at so much for my bad habits—we have settled in. She will not break me!

  • that’s the spirit! breaking is for horses and bread. i just got home (and out of the shower) from my first double! Over 3 hours of bikram – and I am sitting here trying to summon the energy to go wash my lovely watercress and get to squeezing with the lemon. maybe i’ll just watch american idol for a bit… boyfriend is out of town, so i get to indulge in television. in between classes, i went out to the lockers to make sure i didn’t have any messages from work, as i had cut out early. when i opened the locker, i immediately noticed that my grandma’s diamond engagement ring was missing and had likely fallen down the crack in the side of the locker. it’s 75 years old and she gave it to me a couple of years ago. it’s my most prized possession, and i was immediately just so upset. after a frantic 5 minutes, a girl in the locker room got out of the shower, heard the commotion, and told me that it had fallen into her locker below mine and she had brought it to the front desk. it would have been a loss i thought about forever, and it was all prevented by someone else’s honesty. i am so grateful. i should have had faith that yogis don’t steal!

  • Had a great second class after 7 yrs! Although I am still quite a beginner and feel so inflexible right now, I know there is hope for me yet! I found that I was raging hungry after class and had no trouble falling asleep last night!

    This morning I did wake up with a ‘caffeine withdrawl’ headache but felt better after a shower. A green smoothie and my black tea is helping me ease off coffee so I can do this yoga.

    Knees and my aching shoulder are feeling better but my quads are still really sore from the yoga but I assume I would be sore after 7 long years of no yoga and tons of running and strength training.

  • DagnyTaggart – you mentioned the camel pose and detox above. I find it very difficult right now after not doing the yoga for 7 yrs. It’s quite intense going back like that. I was able to do 7 yrs ago so I hope that in time I’ll be able to get my hands to my feet/floor.

    Last night’s instructor, Betsy said someone sent her a bumper sticker that said “I love the Camel pose”. :-)

  • Ive never tried yoga before but Ive been looking to get into for months. I just checked out some yoga studies back home (via the internet) and they have some that offer the bikram hot yoga! Im so excited to go home and try it! Im naturally flexible for some things and enjoyed the bending and stretching i did in gymnastics as a child, so i think im going to really like it. And I like to sweat! This place also offers some early morning classes on the beach when its nice, which some really peaceful!

  • Well, I had my first class today! Much more difficult than I thought it would be, but I love the light feeling it brings. It also made me realize how much deeper my breathing could be.

    How quickly should I see weight loss/muscle toning with about 5 days a week of bikram? I’m both looking to loose about 15 pounds, but also want to see muscle tone – particularly on my arms.

    JoyceH, I see what you mean about the poses being more difficult than they look. So many things to pay attention to when all I’m concentrating on is holding something resembling the pose! Also, how did you find out that running only works out 10% of your body? Do you know how much swimming works out?

  • Raw Chocoholic – In my experience, you will see results very quickly doing it 5 days a week. By the end of next week, you might see some real changes. Of course, it all depends on what your body looks like now and how quickly your body tends to make changes. This is my third week back in Bikram after a couple years away and my boyfriend really notices the changes in my body. I tried to not take offense last night when he attempted to give me a compliment on how i look now but coached in it language about looking ‘much better than i did before.’ I was not looking bad before, damn it! ;) I’m glad you had a good first experience. It only gets better and better! Just don’t get discouraged at the occassional weak or inflexible class – our bodies are capable of different things on different days. I’m going to the ballet after work and already totally bummed at the thought of no yoga today…

  • Regarding the statement that running only working 10% of the body -I read that in his book, website or an article online….I think it was his beginner’s book. I don’t have it with me but I totally believe it. Running is great and I normally run all the time even in the freezing cold and snow! I have knee issues from past sports and surgeries so running is not helping my knees at all. In fact it’s made them so much more sore and achy overall. I have faith that the yoga will sort my knees out. It already seems to be helping in just a few days. Tonight will be my 5th day in a row and so far so good!!!

    If anyone keeps up the yoga for 5 days in a row, I’m sure there will be significant positive changes over time. Everyone’s body is different and will respond in it’s unique individual way. I personally have really slim, toned arms from years of strength training and weights. So it will be interesting to see what my arms look like after doing yoga for a while and taking a break from the weights and resistence. Raw_Chocholic, you’ll definitely see positive changes in weight and your arms but everyone is different and it depends on what kind of shape your arms are in and what type of body you have at the moment. I’m still a beginner but I have faith in this yoga and hope to see more positive changes myself, i.e – pain-free knees, back, shoulder, better digestion, better moods and just overall peace and a sense of true health.

    A great benefit for me so far is that I haven’t had coffee since this past Saturday. (only change I’ve seen from no coffee is I’m not quite as regular!!) But I know not having coffee every day is much healthier in the long term! Heck I’ll still have it on occasion as a treat….ANYHOOO, Bikram yoga rocks!!! Happy Friday!!!

  • I just did my first hot Bikram ever and absolutely loved it!! I plan to join the studio and keep it up 5 days a week. Highly recommended.

  • i’m on day 14 of a 30 day challenge and am doing bikram about 4 of the 7 days a week. the other days i am doing ashtanga and yin. my body feels completely broken but i am one of those people who has to finish what they start. looking forward to the second wave of energy!

  • lzhptlzhpt Raw Newbie

    Good for you, lalala! I bet you’ll stick around. Like minds, clarity and ease of movememnt with your yoga are just some of the many benefits!

  • lalala – i’m certainly no yoga expert but doing ashtanga yoga with the Bikram 30 day challenge sounds like maybe too much of a good thing? Maybe cut back a little on the ashtanga? Feeling completely broken doesn’t sound good but that’s just my humble opinion :-)

    I’m on day 6 of Bikram yoga, and I started a week ago. So far so good! I’m trying to do as much as I can before a couple weeks holiday in Tuscany starting the May 7. This summer I plan to do both Bikram and cycling. Then at the end of Oct I’m thinking of doing the 60 day challenge since it’s between cycling and good skiing. But that’s a long ways off to be planning this early..

    What I like about going every day in the beginning is that I see improvements in every class. Yesterday I was able to go all the way back in camel which is a big step for me since I’ve had issues with nausea and vertigo in the past.

    Bikram yoga still rocks for me!

  • mazel tov on the full camel, Joyce! ;) and wow, lalala, that sounds like a lot. but i think we’re all usually the best judge of what we can handle. i’ve done a couple of bikram ‘doubles’ the past week – which my boyfriend thinks is way too much, but it feels good to my body. but i urge you to let your body inform you, rather than a committment to finish everything you start. sometimes, promises need adjusting according to the results. we had a lovely and rare heat spell in san francisco this weekend. i still made it to bikram on saturday, but it was close to 80 degrees outside and the room was even hotter than usual. i was dripping sweat after the first side-bend – it was hard to make it through, but i did it (probably without much style). The girl next to me only did about half the poses – just laid there most of the time. i tried to not focus on her, as she was sucking my energy. i hate when i get negative feelings during yoga – i feel like i should be able to control that better.

  • DagnyTaggart – awesome that you can do 2 classes back to back….maybe someday I’ll try that too, but at the moment it’s still an accomplishment making it through one. Next winter I envision skiing in the morning (downhill or xc as I do both) and then heading over to a Bikram yoga class on the weekends. That may be killer but soothing if I can do both!

    In Vermont we can get some very hot humid weather in the summer months, many times reaching 90s! I’m hoping classes will get a bit smaller those days :-)

    Yeah, I may become a camel pose lover!

    Next big accomplishment will be doing toe stand on my war-torn knees full of scar tissue and sports injuries :-)

  • i went to class last night and felt such joy at being there. today most of my sore muscles have cleared up. i am feeling great and am excited to meet the second half of the month!

    i find the ashatanga classes to be easier on my body sometimes because it gets me out of the heat.

    congrats Joyce on the progress! i’m just starting to get comfortable in camel but i can only usually do half the time and then i feel very sick. i am trying to overcome the panic feeling, but it’s quite a challenge!

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