Her Fitness: Bikram Yoga

Hey collegiates! Searching for a new, challenging way to stay healthy and in shape?
 
Bikram Yoga might be the answer for you. You may have heard of Bikram Yoga, a relatively new practice developed by Bikram Choudury. However, this isn’t your typical yoga class. Class lasts 90 minutes, and takes place in a room heated at typically 104 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity levels at 40%. It’s not yoga for the faint of heart. But don’t be afraid! Participants come from a wide range of ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. You don’t have to be superwoman to be successful in this yoga class, which is one of the reasons why Bikram Yoga is so amazing. You can literally jump into the practice with no experience, regardless of your age or fitness level. Even if you can’t get into the postures fully, you will still receive all of the wonderful benefits Bikram Yoga has to offer your mind and body.  
 
Speaking of the postures, class begins with a breathing exercise, followed by thirteen postures. Each posture is repeated twice. The postures are divided up into a standing series, a spine strengthening series and a floor series. The first breathing exercise is designed to relax and release muscles in the back and neck while warming up the lungs. Breathing is a key part of class!  Focusing on keeping your breath normal and steady is an important concept throughout all yoga. The standing series consists of postures designed to target specific muscles groups, while improving balance. Spine strengthening takes place on the floor and consists of exercises to target and strengthen you upper, middle, and lower spine. Improving spine strength also helps stabilize and strengthen the rest of you body. The deepest postures are practiced during the floor series. This segment of class consists of deep back bends, forward bends, and twists which improve flexibility, circulation, and aid in healing the spine. Finally, class ends with another breathing exercise designed to improve digestive health. The postures are designed to stretch, strengthen and detoxify your body from head to toe, inside and out. The heat in the room assists with toxin release, and helps the body loosen up to get deeper into the postures. Sweating (which you will do a great deal of in this class), helps release tons of toxins that our bodies harbor.  Personally, I often find that after a session of Bikram Yoga, any acne that I have clears up because of the toxin release during sweating.
 
 
In addition to health benefits, Bikram Yoga brings with it many mental benefits as well. Practicing Bikram Yoga helps improve concentration, and mental clarity, which might come in handy when finals week rolls around! The class is very intense, and in order to balance and stay present, a great deal of concentration is required. Any distracting thoughts during class (like that cute guy you saw at Price Center or how good Santorini was that day) will throw your concentration off!  One of the greatest obstacles in the class is to overcome the overwhelming heated environment.  You will most likely find yourself wanting to quit at moments throughout the class; understandably so. Bikram Yoga helps clear the mind, and helps you focus on achieving the goal of the posture in the moment. The mental lessons and skills that you develop through practice can be applicable to any and every aspect of your life. 
 
So, if you’re interested in taking on the challenge that is Bikram Yoga, there are several studios in La Jolla and San Diego to start practicing in, listed below:
  • Bikram Yoga La Jolla: 565 Pearl Street, La Jolla, CA 92037
  • Bikram’s Yoga College of India: 2110 Hancock Street, San Diego, CA 92110
  • Bikram Yoga Kearny Mesa: 4411 Mercury Street, San Diego, CA 92111
  • Bikram Yoga Rancho Bernardo: 16473 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92128
If you decide to take a class, here are a few things to remember: 
- It is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day before and after the class. Your body loses a lot of water with all of sweating in class.  
- Do not eat a few hours before class; the heat and intensity of the class does not mix well with food
- Wearing pants and long sleeves is not recommended; try and dress light
- When you come to class make sure to bring a yoga mat, towel and water! Some studios rent out mats and towels if you don’t have one, but if you want your own the bookstore on campus has a great selection of yoga mats.