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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tip of the Week: Practicing Outside the Studio

We've had a lot of students traveling this summer, and questions have come up regarding how to practice when away from the studio. First check the website's studio locator to see if there is a Bikram studio in the area where you will be staying. It's always best to attend a studio guided by a Certified Instructor to provide the best possible instruction in the Bikram Method. If there isn't one close by, remember that the one posture that is always safe to do anywhere at any time without any warm up is Half Tortoise Pose. 

The following tips were found on's website:

Q: If I can't get to a studio to practice in class, will I get any benefit from practicing at home in a normally heated room?

You must heat the area where you do your yoga. If you can, you should try to heat it to at least 100 degrees F. You should sweat a lot when you do your hatha yoga. If your bathroom is large enough, you can preheat the room with a space heater, and by running the shower with hot water, leave the water in the tub as this will keep the room hot. If you have difficulty heating an area to 100 degrees, then you must wear  warm up clothing while you do your yoga. This will keep the heat from escaping the body. 
I cannot overstate the importance of doing your hatha yoga in heat. Doing your yoga in a cold environment can bring harm to your body. Remember you are changing the construction of your body as you perform these postures. Suppose you are going to make a sword. You start with a piece of fine steel and the first thing you do is put the steel in the fire and heat it up. When the steel is hot it becomes soft. Then you can hammer it and slowly you make it change shape to the sword you want. This is the natural way. Now if you don't heat it up and start hammering the cold steel nothing is going to happen to the steel but you'll break your hand, the hammer, your arm and all the connecting  joints. The same thing happens when you do any exercise, even hatha yoga, in a cold environment. When you do your hatha yoga in the heat, your body is malleable.

If this is completely impossible to arrange, then move more slowly and carefully, and breathe more deeply into the postures.

Q: There is not a Bikram Yoga studio in my area.  What is the best way to learn the postures at home?     
 It is recommended one should have a copy of Bikram's book on hand, and begin by reading the book all the way through to get a clear idea of the postures, their benefits, and the proper approach to each posture.  
Then begin by teaching yourself one new posture at a time, starting with the first posture, and adding the next one, and so on and so on.  This will build your strength and help you to remember the postures in order.
Practice while following Bikarm's Beginning Yoga Class CD or cassette tape is an ideal method to practice the postures, as best as possible without being in an actual Bikram Yoga class.

Some tips: Set aside a special time of the day to create a regular daily practice.   Set aside a regular practice area in your home, and if possible, equip it with a mirror and an extra heater or two. Wear clothing that does not restrict your movement. Do not eat within 2-3 hours of practice.
If you get discouraged, be patient, keep trying with "bulldog determination" and don't give up! When you see yourself progressing, you will become encouraged, and want to continue practicing all the more.

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