How to Improve Bikram Yoga Poses

Bikram yoga provides practitioners with a challenging workout.

Bikram yoga provides practitioners with a challenging workout.

The challenge of completing a 26-pose sequence in a hot studio filled with passionate practitioners regularly draws new students to Bikram yoga — one of the fastest growing types of yoga in America. After getting a taste of Bikram yoga, the desire to perfect an elusive pose often draws students back to the mat week after week. While there may be no such thing as a perfect practice, it is possible to for students to improve their Bikram yoga poses and achieve the results they desire.

How to Improve Bikram Yoga Poses

Drink plenty of water. If you want a clear mind and healthy body to execute precise Bikram yoga poses, then staying hydrated is a necessity. Ideally, Bikram studios should be kept at around 105 degrees F about 40 percent humidity. A bottle of water can be the difference between a successful practice and one that leaves you feeling ill and drained.

Focus on your alignment. While you're settling into a downward-facing dog pose, take the time to be sure you're performing the pose correctly. Jennifer Beyt Coffin, the owner of The Glowing Body Studio in Knoxville, Tenn., says focusing on keeping your core muscles in proper alignment is one of the ways you can ensure your poses are always safe and effective.

Take the right breath. The successful Bikram yoga practitioner knows that proper breathing can be key to successfully completing complex poses. During a Bikram yoga practice, some students practice 80-20 breathing, meaning they continuously let out breath as they hold poses. Others prefer exhalation breathing, meaning practitioners take a full breath and then exhale when they achieve the desired pose.

Explore other types of yoga. Beyt Coffin recommends penciling a different style of yoga, such as Iyengar yoga, into your class schedule. Incorporating the knowledge from a different style of yoga into your practice can help you hone your ability to complete Bikram yoga poses.

Items you will need

  • Water
  • Yoga mat
  • Towel
  • Yoga straps or blocks (if you're still working toward improving your flexibility)

Tips

  • Using props such as a strap or block during a yoga practice can help you do poses.
  • Also, if you have long hair, pull or pin it back before attending a Bikram yoga class. Having sweaty bangs falling into your eyes may make it difficult to concentrate on your poses.

Warning

  • Remember that your body is more flexible than it normally is during a Bikram yoga class because of the heat. It's important to keep that in mind while practicing so you do not needlessly strain muscles.
 

About the Author

Jennifer Cathey has been a journalist since 2004. She serves as a writer, editor and photographer at an award-winning newspaper, where she enjoys covering health, wellness, fashion and beauty.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images