Bikram yoga is a series of 26 yoga asanas -- or poses -- and two pranayama breathing exercises that were popularized by Bikram Choudhury. What makes Bikram yoga unique is its focus on practicing yoga in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity. In Bikram yoga, be prepared to sweat profusely and come armed with a towel and lots of water. To practice Bikram at home, you'll need a space heater and access to the pose sequence.
Find a recording of a Bikram yoga class. Bikram yoga follows a specific series of poses for every single class, so once you have a recording of the class you can follow along every time you want to practice at home. You can buy a CD recording of the Bikram yoga sequence on Bikram yoga's website or download an MP3 or podcast recording. Alternatively, familiarize yourself with the Bikram sequence on the website or in a book and record yourself leading the sequence.
Practice in a room that is small enough to heat efficiently, yet large enough to practice yoga. You'll need enough room to place your mat and space to extend your arms and legs without hitting anything. Bikram recommends running a hot shower in the bathroom to raise the humidity level and heating the space with a space heater. If you do not have a bathroom large enough to practice in, practice in another room of your house or outside if you live in a hot climate. Avoid practicing yoga in direct sunlight.
Turn on the recording and perform the entire class. Cover your mat with a towel if your hands or feet get sweaty, so you can avoid slipping and injuring yourself. Drink lots of water before, during and after class to keep your body hydrated. If you are uncertain about how to perform a pose safely, consider booking a private yoga lesson at home so you can learn from a qualified Bikram yoga teacher.
- If you are already familiar with the sequence of a Bikram yoga class, you do not need to acquire a recording of the class. Instead, simply heat up the room and practice normally.
- There is a risk of heat stroke associated with exercising in the high heat and humidity. Always stay hydrated and take a break immediately if you feel light-headed or dizzy.
Nicole Carlin is a registered yoga teacher. Her writing has been published in yoga and dance teacher training manuals for POP Fizz Academy. Carlin received a Masters of Arts in gender studies from Birkbeck University in London and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.