How to Prepare for a Bikram Yoga Class

Showing up to class early and sitting in meditation helps the body acclimate to the hot environment.

Showing up to class early and sitting in meditation helps the body acclimate to the hot environment.

Committing to Bikram yoga involves a little more than waltzing, unprepared, into a 105-degree room. The hot and humid room combined with the practice of Bikram's 26 detoxifying postures can throw even the versed yogi for a loop. If you're ready to give it a go, careful preparation can decrease the potential side effects of headache, dehydration and overheating. Approaching Bikram yoga with a healthy bag of tools ensures a steadfast route towards total body nourishment.

Setting the Stage

Buy a yoga mat. Many studios offer rentals; however, intense sweating creates an environment for bacteria to grow on the mat. Bringing your own mat to class is a much more sanitary option.

Invest in a yoga chamois or allocate a beach towel for class use. Spread the towel on your mat so it can absorb sweat and ensure good traction.

Toss a hand towel into your bag for use as a sweat wipe.

Decide on an outfit. Choose snug-fitting performance sportswear made of synthetic wicking materials, which will help draw sweat away from the body.

Buy a reusable water bottle or recycle a plastic bottle for use in class.

Preventing Dehydration

Hydrate sufficiently the day before class. Nutritionist Leslie S. Funk recommends eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water a day for normal activity.

Avoid alcoholic beverages the night before and limit caffeine. The dehydrating effect may produce negative reactions in the body after class.

Add electrolytes to your water or carry a sports drink with you. Drink this as needed during and after class.

Aiding Heat Acclimatization

Ease in by showing up to class early. Getting your body used to the heated environment enhances your performance and reduces the risk of heat exhaustion, claims Funk.

Avoid wiping your sweat. Perspiration is the body's way of cooling itself. Leaving the sweat on your body lowers your overall core temp.

Lay down on your back, but don't leave the room, if you feel dizzy or nauseated. Ride out any feelings of discomfort by resting. Leaving the room can shock your system.

Items you will need

  • Yoga mat
  • Yoga chamois or beach towel
  • Hand towel
  • Appropriate attire
  • Water bottle
  • Electrolyte supplement or sports drink
  • Water


  • Your body cools itself by sweating, therefore, wearing minimal clothing aids in perspiration and can help you avoid heat illness.


  • Bikram yoga is contraindicated for those have heart conditions. Physical exertion in a hot environment could result in complications.

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About the Author

Christina Shepherd McGuire writes articles about adventure sports, fashion, mothering and natural living. Since 2003, her work has appeared in "Action Outdoor and Bike Magazine," "Teton Family Magazine," "The Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine" and several online publications. McGuire holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

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