bikram yoga: hot or not?

the other eternal question

Little known fact: The Mat yoga mat doubles as a message board.

Which two words have a way of starting a hot debate at our office? Easy. Bikram Yoga. The regimented practice has a way of either winning die-hard fans or strong opposition. Here's what we've noticed makes people hot or cold (pun intended).

the routine

According to the official website, Bikram Yoga is the 26-posture sequence selected and developed from hatha yoga by Bikram Choudhury. While it is one of several types of hot yoga, the methodical 90-minute practice challenges body and mind in a unique way. It is always the same routine and each posture is practiced twice. While it is suited for yoga virgins and veterans alike, it is very challenging.

love it

For Meenu, a self-proclaimed gym rat, the challenge was the attraction. "One of my friends teaches Bikram Yoga and she convinced me to take her class.  It was the toughest workout I've ever had and now I am hooked." Personally, I thrive on consistency. In a Bikram class, I can easily track my progress because the postures are always the same. ("I held Standing Bow Pulling Pose for one minute today! I rock!") I know exactly what to expect and I celebrate the little milestones along the way.

leave it

Not everyone loves the routine. "It's so monotonous!" was a recurring response when I asked people what they thought about the class. A lot of folks crave the variety that comes with other practices.

the posture series

The 26-posture series, as practiced by little faceless people
image courtesy of 

the heat

The class takes place in a 105⁰F room. Why? The official Bikram site says that "yoga changes the construction of the body from the inside out, from bones to skin and from fingertips to toes. Before you change it, you have to heat it up to soften it because a warm body is a flexible body." The air is thick and moist, encouraging toxin-releasing perspiration. For some, it's a mini tropical getaway. For others, the humidity is oppressive.

love it

Erin, an avid Bikram yogi says, "I love to sweat. The more I sweat the more I feel I accomplished something. Spending ninety minutes in a room dripping with sweat feels like quite an accomplishment."

leave it

Annika also loves to sweat too, but she wants to be the one getting the credit for it. "If I'm sweating, I want it to be because I'm working hard, not just because I'm in a hot room. It feels like cheating." Others are wary of stretching beyond their body's limits.

The one thing that everyone agrees on is this: the toxin purge is a natural high.

the instruction

Bikram Yoga has a reputation for being a strict class. If you've tried it, you know the game: keep quiet before and after the class, hold off on water until after the first three postures, stay in the room, etc. There are valid reasons for instructors to strongly encourage these things but it's too much for some yogis.

love it

For people used to strict physical disciplines like martial arts or ballet, the rules are all part of the deal. "They are there for a reason. They have people's best interest in mind and they help people develop habits that lead to optimum results," says Alex, Bikram buff. Annika admits that the drill-sergeant style teaching really appeals to her Type A personality, another trend I noticed.

leave it

"I boycott the classes because they are way too strict for me," says Julia. "I like a challenge but I can't handle the way the classes are taught. If I want to drink water after the first posture, I don't want to feel like I'm rebelling against the teacher."

Bikram leads a packed teacher training session

Teacher training means sweating bodies as far as the eye can see.
Image courtesy of

the length of the class

Ninety minutes is asking a lot in a world that relies on 140 characters and instant status updates. The commitment can be too much for some people. For those who make the effort to consistently attend, the benefits abound. According to them, you reap what you sow -  just read a few testimonials and you'll see.

love it

"It's a long class but I feel fantastic when I consistently go to Bikram," says Erin. "I sleep well, my appetite is regulated, I really only crave foods that are good for me, and I have more energy throughout the day." It's true you have to carve out time in a busy week but with the right preparation, it can leave you with more gusto to tackle your day in record speed.

leave it

"I did a 30-day challenge once," says Anita. "Taking at least two hours out of my day was really tough. Sure, I felt great but my time with my husband, my family and my friends was the first thing to go and in the end, it didn't line up with my core values. I prefer a good 60-minute class."

a word from an instructor

Lauren is an key leader at our Bondi Junction store in Australia and moonlights as a certified Bikram instructor. She acknowledges the division the practice can create among yogis.

"I know a lot of people don’t have great things to say about Bikram Yoga but I have great respect for it. It started me on the path of yoga. It is a great introduction for beginners because it mainly addresses the physical realm of yoga, something people can easily identify with. With regular practice, practitioners begin to have a deeper connection with their body, mind and soul, something they may not have been in touch with before. This is when they may start to seek out deeper and more meditative forms of yoga. Bikram Yoga is a great starting point."

more on bikram yoga

Bottom line is don't knock it 'til you try it. There's a lot more that could be said but we don't want to have all the fun. What's your opinion: hot or not?

read more related posts:


Bikram is my favorite!
It you’ve never tried you must – it will be the best workout of your life indeed!

Comment by Anna — February 15, 2011 @ 1:28 pm

I like everything about the class I take except the length of the class. Every time I’ve gone I’ve had to sit the last 10 minutes of the class b/c I got so hot and hit a wall. It doesn’t help that the instructor likes to go 5+minutes over the time. Also, leaving my family or just getting my husband to come home from work early so that I can go for this long class is a challenge. If they would keep it to 60 minutes I would be totally hooked and think it was the best thing ever.

Comment by Racing and Saving Mama — February 15, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

I love bikram yoga! My studio is great. They arent crazy strict or mean, they dont push you and you are allowed to go to the bathroom or leave the room if you need to. They have amazing teachers as well. Ive never had a horrible experience like some people have had at some of the more militant studios!as a yoga virgin it was great at helping me stretch my tight hamstrings out. I do combine it with other yin and vinyasa classes just to mix it up and not get burnt out from how repetitive bikram can be. After over a year of practicing, I can still say every day in the hot room is a challenge and very different. Thats what keeps me going back!!

Comment by Lindz — February 15, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

I love Bikram but it really does depend on your studio and teacher! I’m about to try my first 6 am Bikram class after practicing for almost 4 years on and off!

Comment by Sahiti — February 15, 2011 @ 8:29 pm

Love the heat, but some how when I attend a Bikram class there is this underlying competitive edge…don’t love it. Bring on Moksha!

Comment by katie — February 15, 2011 @ 10:20 pm

I have a mind that never seems to stop, so for me, the heat isn’t so much about getting deeper into the postures as much as focusing my mind on my practice and creating a meditative state. When I’m doing Bikram I am not thinking about work or the kids or my to-do list. I am trying to lock my knee and stretch a little bit farther and breathe through my nose and not wipe my sweat. It’s a HUGE relief for me to have 90 minutes where the biggest thing that I have to worry about is whether my hips are aligned correctly. I went to a 6 am class today, which was perfect. I was in and back home before my kids and husband were even awake. I didn’t have to trade off time with my family…but I did lose sleep, but it was worth it!

And it’s great if other people like Bikram and great if they don’t. To each his/her own.

Comment by Cindy — February 15, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

I started Bikram as an almost-yoga virgin; i’d had some bad experiences with free-form yoga classes at my university that were held in the morning in cold rooms, and thought I just hated it. but Bikram was intriguing and it only took one class to get me hooked!
Maybe I’ve got a very lenient instructor but he’d never chastise someone for stepping out of the room or drinking water.
And honestly, most of the criticisms of Bikram seem to stem from a lack of commitment. Some people don’t want to invest the time and energy in this long, difficult task; that’s not Bikram’s fault!

Comment by Alexa — February 15, 2011 @ 11:23 pm


Comment by We Are Yoga — February 16, 2011 @ 6:57 am

LOVE LOVE LOVE. if you don’t you’re probably not doing it correctly

Comment by Katie — February 16, 2011 @ 9:54 am

I love it. I got a two week trial through Groupon or one of those types. I am seriously hooked and go at least once a week now.

Comment by Laney — February 16, 2011 @ 9:57 am

I love Bikram! It is the first type of yoga that I’ve gotten into. I do agree though that it can be extremely difficult to find 90 minutes a day to do it. If I had more time I’d go more often. It my “treat” yoga that I give to myself if I’m ever stressed out.

Comment by Jacquelyn — February 16, 2011 @ 9:58 am

I’m a Moksha addict myself, can be a bit shorter, and often changes the set up.

I love hot fusion classes at my Moksha studio so you can really challenge yourself.

Comment by Megan — February 16, 2011 @ 9:59 am

I love Bikram, but have trouble making the time. I also overextended my knee one time when the instructor kept insisting that knees be locked. I definitely don’t think locking my knees in all of those postures is good for me. I still felt it for months after that. Now I opt for hot powerflow classes when I can, though there are certain postures I miss from bikram.

Comment by Holly — February 16, 2011 @ 10:02 am

I love it! So detoxing. So healing. Card… Stretching… Strength-training… It has it all.

Comment by The Missus — February 16, 2011 @ 10:06 am

Bikram is not the most enjoyable yoga for me, but I still go 4 times a week (at 6am) because I’ve experienced the amazing things it can do for my body, mind, and mood. Once you know the postures well, it becomes incredibly meditative, and really helps you work through all of your mental blocks (which is often painful, but always worth it).
I love all types of yoga, and I feel really troubled when people “bash” any school of practice – and Bikram seems to be a prime target. Yoga is good, and people should practice the type that feels right for them. To each her own!

Comment by AB — February 16, 2011 @ 10:12 am

I luv Bikram, teachers are always great, but the premises! (I have been in over 10 studios in the world only a few were good (maybe 2..)..It is sad to finish your class packed in a changing room, lining for having a shower, I always feel like losing half of the benefits of my course fighting with 20 girls to put my pants on…

Comment by jubile — February 16, 2011 @ 10:16 am

I love Bikram yoga. It has transformed me. I like the idea of just 26 postures. I have a goal – to “master” each of them. The heat/sweat makes it feel like I’m really working out and believe me, I am. I feel stronger, more alive, more focused and it’s helped me LOVE MYSELF. I needed this! My only complaints are 1) the studio I attend is carpeted and on the floor routines I catch whiffs of mold. Definitely NOT healthy! 2) Just because the rules are “Don’t wear lotion or perfume”, hot yogis need to wear deodorant, dangit! And if you’re funky, a shower BEFORE class is also in order. I really don’t want to smell your stinky body odor. Gross!

Comment by Tammi — February 16, 2011 @ 10:18 am

I did Bikram for about a year and then got tired of the strictness of it. I started doing other yoga and attending a more traditional studio with more variety (but the classes are still mostly 90 minutes long). However, I revisited Bikram last week and quite enjoyed it. I plan to incorporate one class per week into my practice. I think it will be nice to go to one class each week where I am pushing myself right to the edge for a full 90 minutes, and then do other classes where the focus is different. You don’t have to take it or leave it.

Comment by Stephanie — February 16, 2011 @ 10:21 am

I instantly hated Bikram. I was naseaus, I felt defeated when I had to leave the class early, and the salty sweat dripping in my eyes burned. It was brutal.

But I bought a package and in an effort to not be wasteful, my friend and I continued to go once a week. And I was sore after the first class (the good “yeah, you did somethin’” sore), so I figured it must be good for me.

After the 3rd or 4th class I was hooked. My competitiveness forced me to focus so I could last the entire class, hold the entire posture, stretch higher, longer, stronger. I feel so centered and clean from the toxins flushing out after a class- and for days later. I crave my hot yoga each week and I’m bummed my deal-of-a-package is running out!

The focus I’ve practiced in these yoga classes has helped me in other workouts too. You control your breath like no other in bikram.

I agree you can’t knock it before you try it…. but also don’t knock it after the first class… or the second…. take it on a 3rd date and you’ll fall in love.

(I go to hot8yoga in santa monica!)

Comment by caitlin — February 16, 2011 @ 10:25 am

LOVE LOVE love love LOVE LOVE Bikram. Amazing what it does to your body. Such a great challenge. Totally agree that it is a phenomenal intro to yoga.

Comment by Lisa — February 16, 2011 @ 10:26 am

Love it. Swear by it. Blogged about it last week:

Comment by Lindsay — February 16, 2011 @ 10:30 am

I just came from a Bikrum class. I love it. Love the heat and the way my body feels after. I run, teach spin and circuit train and Bikrum helps me stretch those tight muscles. I feel the effects for days after.

Comment by Kim McManus — February 16, 2011 @ 10:32 am

I love it! I do other forms of yoga too. As a former professional dancer, and with a cycling knee injury, and scar tissue from a sprained ankle…I am healing rapidly. I avoided the hot yoga for years……I find it amazing. I love my studio in Rego Park.

Comment by Barbara — February 16, 2011 @ 10:39 am

I went back and forth with Bikram for awhile. I recently got back into it and after 5 straight weeks of strict practicing, I look and feel absolutely amazing. In the beginning I thought it was monotonous, but each class I am entering new space- I love it!

Comment by Jenna — February 16, 2011 @ 10:40 am

I can understand the appeal. As a Bikram yoga teacher, I have seen a lot of athletes thrive on it because of the physical challenge. I agree with Lauren, when she says that it opens you up to other forms of yoga. If it wasn’t initially for Bikram, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into other types of yoga. I’m now into becoming a Hatha yoga teacher through a Yoga Alliance program.
There’s an interesting article in Details Magazine about Bikram himself and the teacher training, it’s really eye opening to what yoga has become.

Comment by Michelle — February 16, 2011 @ 10:41 am

I love it! I can’t even believe people would think it is too long, or not challenging enough. The heat isn’t what matters, it is the awesome, deep stretches the poses give you and push you to master. I have been to several different classes and had several different instructors – ranging from very relaxed to very strict – and have never had a negative experience. Even though you cannot leave the room, I feel it gives you more of a sense of accomplishment and that amazing energized feeling when you finally leave the room and feel the cold air. I have never felt better than I have going to a Bikram class (than any other yoga class), and now go three times a week. Over the past few months, not only have I become more flexible, but muscles I would never think to strengthen or stretch are becoming a bigger, positive part of my life. I’m doing things I never thought I could!!! I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Comment by Sara — February 16, 2011 @ 10:49 am

I do love Bikram. I know some people get hung up on the repetitiveness of the yoga – I went through that for a while at first, actually! After a running related injury and advice from my athletica therapist (start stretching or stop running), I googled: “yoga Winnipeg” and a local hot yoga studio that teaches Bikram yoga was the first listing. I practiced at the studio for months, and then was invited to try a different style of yoga with a friend.

I started trying many different kinds of yoga, experiencing everything the Winnipeg yoga community had to offer, including Bikram, for a few years. Within the last year, I’ve recommitted myself to my Bikram practice. I think after such a wonderful and rich yoga journey, my Bikram practice is so much stronger than it once was. The poses are the same, but my practice never is. Every class is incredibly different, and I love being able to compare one class to the last.

It is definitely the right style for ME.

I really liked this post – I hope lululemon make this a regular feature on the blog. Pros and cons to different styles of yoga. Bikram is a good place to start, as it is such a polarizing yoga style. Bravo!

Comment by Becca — February 16, 2011 @ 10:54 am

I love Bikram yoga. I was unsure I’d go back after the first week. Then I quickly realized that my body was changing. My endurance and flexibility were changing. My mood was also changing. All of these were for the better. I’ve also heard of people not liking the competitive aspects of Bikram Yoga. I view it more as a workout than a spiritual journey.

Comment by Ayanna — February 16, 2011 @ 11:02 am

Have to admit, I’ve been on the opposing side of Bikram. I crave the variety of a more jivamukti or anusara inspired class. But I do LOVE a heated room – just lets me MELT into each pose – which feels amazing after a busy day of running after 2 toddlers and coaching!

Comment by Racheal Cook — February 16, 2011 @ 11:25 am

Not crazy about repeating the same 26 postures twice, or the up-and-down aspect in the last 30 minutes. BUT I think it is very therapeutic for injured yogis… I know at least 2 friends who have turned to Bikram when their shoulders & backs gave out from strong vinyasa practices. I currently have a neck injury and can’t put any weight on my hands, so this style is perfect for me. And honestly, although I can’t stand the heat, it helps relieve a lot of muscle tension in my body. Practicing Bikram about once a week is perfect for me. I could not do it every day. Overall, thumbs up! Whatever style works for you is what’s best for you & no one should have anything different to say about it.

Comment by Bonnie — February 16, 2011 @ 11:35 am

I’m Definately HOT!
But I preffer MOKSHA Yoga to Bikram. Heat is what I enjoy in my Yoga sessions. I sweat like crazy, detoxify my body, stretch better and run my heart rate high. Result: amazing skin and a great release. But, I preffer the softer side of the practice of MOkSHA – which is a spinn off of Bikram – but is less military-like.

Comment by Carolyne — February 16, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

I love Bikram! It’s definitely the foundation of my practice. But the repetition does get mundane sometimes, and it’s good to mix up. I balance out with a mix of other at-home and non-Bikram studio classes (vinyasa and kundalini especially). Ends up being an awesome all around yoga experience!

Read more on my blog, where I just posted about this topic:

rachel @ alive in the fire

Comment by Rachel (Alive in the Fire) — February 16, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

As a ‘practice’, Yoga requires dedication, sacrifice and patience to experience cumulative results – some of which are immediate and not so subtle. The merits or downfalls of Bikram yoga can’t be fairly judged in a couple of classes when you’re just adjusting to the class environment. But you definitely don’t have the time to think about anything if you’re properly focused on the poses. Something that challenging and rewarding can’t be boring. You can walk into class and feel claustrophobic from the heat, think people are comparing themselves to everyone else, or think the instructor sounds like a drill sergeant. But like anything difficult in life, it comes down to your attitude and beliefs. ‘Rules’ like not leaving the class and drinking water only after the 3 first poses are there to support your health. I think it’s pretty clear that people only get hurt when they overdo it. True, it’s intense. But in the West we’ve secularized yoga to the point where people are ‘creating’ all kinds of yoga classes which wouldn’t be considered yoga in a classical sense, since yoga (not the asanas but the philosophy) is entrenched in a spiritual discipline. So it’s not meant to be enjoyable, and if that’s your motivation for going… fill in the blanks… lol

Comment by Lavender — February 16, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

A Bikram class (10 day challenge) was the first place I learned to shut off the little stock ticker in the back of my brain and just do the yoga. With such precise instruction from my teacher (who was fantastic, I would have followed his instruction into any pose) I was able to stop complaining to myself and just go with it.

I’ve since decided that a good, warm vinyasa flow is more my style because of the creativity allowed, but I certainly credit Bikram with my ability to find a quiet mind.

Comment by Elaine — February 16, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

Bikram is not yoga, it is pure sport and delusion for non flexible superficial people that they do yoga:-) call it anything you like but not yoga…

Comment by Elena — February 16, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

Love it!! I’m a total addict :)

Comment by yogini77 — February 16, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

I love bikram and it is the reason I tried Moksha. When I moved from Edmonton to Ottawa I was really sad to leave my Bikram studio behind. Now that I have found Moksha I don’t miss it as much ! Such a great cross trainer for runners :)

Comment by Jwinslow — February 16, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

I am absolutely in love with Bikram yoga, but it is a bit crazy. It takes so much energy, dedication, and water to create a steady practice:) But I honestly can’t think of a better workout on the planet.

Comment by missfitbliss — February 16, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

Love love love bikram! i have been practicing for two years and my experience has been nothing but positive. Even though the postures are the same each class is always different.

Comment by Erin — February 16, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

I LOVE IT. Myself and my girlfriend started a week before my 30th Birthday. I had been suffering with Cyatica and lots of lower back and hip pains for years and decided to try Bikram…Well, after 7 months, I have NO aches, No Pains and I’m loving the training. I believe the teaching style of those amazing Bikram Instructors (at Maroubra & Bondi Pure Bikram) really inspire me. The training is tough (but so it Taekwondo, Scuba Diving and well anything….just put it into perspective – 90 minutes of your day (some of you guys take longer lunch breaks than that) can help you seize control of your lives… Bikram has helped remedy my physical issues, and has contributed to developing a better mindset, focus and “can’t knock me down” way of thinking…. It’s also really improved my lung function (evidenced through my ever improving consumption rate in scuba) which I’ve been working on for years in the capacity of a scuba instructor…

In short, Bikram is the source. What participants gain from it is both a personal journey of self exploration and a great support network that inspires and motivates us to “never give up”… Not to mention the awesome workout!

I love this Bikram Yoga….and the difference its made to those people who I know – is something close to profound and extremely positive.

I speak now for both Myself and girlfriend Winnie, life without Bikram Yoga is not an option.

Garry Bateman

Comment by GAFFA — February 16, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

I am an 18 year old university student, working out with six courses in one term seemed impossible, I had no motivation to go to the gym. One day my cousin dragged me to a Bikram Yoga studio and that’s the day I fell in love…

I’ve practiced yoga before, many different types – but nothing compared to this. I was able to get deeper into my postures because of the heat & I was encouraged to push beyond my limits.

Usually a meditation is peaceful with eyes closed and letting your body drift away; but with Bikram meditation is being awake and alert and I love that feeling!

Sweating is my new passion, I am eager to step into that hot room of 40% humidity and sweat like crazy for 90 minutes.

I have mild scoliosis and severe asthma, neither were negatively affected but in fact both improved… studying for long hours during midterms is crucial and my back takes a bad beating, however after one class I have no back pain.

The energy that generates through the room will keep you going!!

Bikram is apart of my life for now, and for always!

Some may say that the postures are repetitive, but I believe it is a way to see visible improvement – and each posture is designed to benefit your body!!!!

Comment by catherine — February 16, 2011 @ 6:58 pm

Ihave not practiced Bikrim for some time but did for a year plus and it was addictive. Once I started I had to go almost every day, it is such a challenge to improve yourself with each practice and you become so strong. Nothing I have ever done made me sweat like it does. I think it requires extreme dedication to continue it for the long term. I prefer YAS, also a standardized practice and only for one hour. I go five days a week. Approaching my 6th decade, I find I need my yoga to be my best!

Comment by suzanne pitts — February 17, 2011 @ 7:29 am

For lazy students who don’t want to work hard to sweat by themselves! For lazy teachers who don’t know how to teach and need a script!

Comment by Anonymous — February 17, 2011 @ 10:19 am

My experience with Bikram started as a result with a knee injury. I’m a personal trainer, aerobics instructor, and marathoner. I’m not afraid to sweat – hard. I needed somewhere to go while recovering. However, I quickly found the classes to guide me in my life and not just my physical being. I think of the Bikram teachers as life coaches. Since I’ve practiced Bikram Yoga, my physical health and mental health have improved exponentially.
My mom lives on the other side of the country and I only get to see her once or twice a year. After six months of practicing 5 days a week, my mom said she saw dramatic differences in my physical being. She said I’m much more relaxed physically. That I handle problems differently, and that I’m much more calm.
Bikram Yoga has served as an outlet for me. I am forever grateful for their teachers and community that we have in Tempe, Arizona.

Comment by Andrea — February 17, 2011 @ 10:50 am

I guess I am in the minority here, but I don’t like Bikram at all. Once or twice was enough for me. I have no problem doing a 90-minute yoga class, but I feel faint, sick, and exhausted when I try to do it in a hot room. The heat also triggered an attack of rosacea.

Also, I prefer a meditative approach to doing yoga. If I want to “kick butt,” I head to the gym or go dancing or climb a mountain or go for a spin on my bike.

Comment by Gail — February 17, 2011 @ 11:51 am

I agree with a couple of posters above — it’s HOT but I much prefer Moksha yoga. I found Bikram to be a little repetitive and the instructors were brutal. My Moksha studio (also hot yoga) offers a more supportive environment as well as a greater variety in classes.

Comment by Renee — February 17, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

I like Ashtanga and Iyengar, done in a room at about 75-80 degrees. For someone with rosacea and a tendency to hypotension, they may be better options.

Comment by Gail — February 17, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

I find the comment saying ‘For lazy students who don’t want to work hard to sweat by themselves!’ is hilarious – obviously no one who has ever tried it. Hot yoga is one of the most intense workouts possible; the sweat is definitely not just from the hot room and it’s amazing what a good cardio workout it can be.

I used to love Bikram but then I discovered Moksha. I find the 90 minute Moksha series just as intense and it has some of my favorite yoga poses that I found were missing in the Bikram series. I love that it has music and different class options, as well as some variations between classes that keep it interesting. Powerflow is the most intense hot yoga class out there and I adore it.

Comment by Lola — February 17, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

Any type of hot yoga is really not needed, and isn’t even very healthy. I’m a certified Kinesiologist with a specialization in Human Biology (Anatomy and Physiology), and throughout my studies for my bachelor’s degree we’ve been warned a few times about the dangers of these practices. The body sweats because it’s trying to thermoregulate itself, so the increased heat is only putting the body under increased stress. Also, the optimal body temperature for burning calories is only a few degrees above normal, and increasing your body temperature too much can actually halt the burning process. Stick to regular yoga classes!! I highly recommend it.. don’t be fooled by the extra amount of sweat you’re pumping out, thinking it means you’re getting more out of this type of workout. Don’t be naive, people.

Comment by Carly from Canada! — February 17, 2011 @ 12:33 pm

Carly from Canada, you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been doing Bikram for three years and my calorie count reads that I burn between 1,000 and 1,300 calories per class. I am 48 years old and had hypertension, obesity, and high cholesterol before starting Bikram and now my health (weight, labwork, stress readings) is equivalent of someone roughly 10 years younger.

Please refrain from posting anecdotal, unsupported information as fact. It’s highly unprofessional.

Comment by Bikram Believer — February 17, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

Love it and am SCARED of it at the same time. It makes you feel amazing, and makes your skin brand new. But i have to admit, i’m scared of it every time i go… but I never regret it.

Comment by Belinda — February 17, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

I do not like Bikram Yoga.

It is not so much the yoga I don’t enjoy but rather the teachers.
I have practiced it with dozens of teachers, and I mostly have the same experience. They love to hear the sound of their own voices, they are militant, and talk excessively about things that don’t even relate to yoga, and at the most inappropriate times.
Bikam Yoga occurs to be very masculine.

I feel Bikram feeds the machine. Work hard, get it right and push, push, push…
Surly, our people need a break from that.

To me, it misses the point.

Comment by Ruddy — February 17, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

I don’t care what anyone says, I love Bikram yoga and it’s the only yoga that leaves me feeling revitalized when I’m done. I know the risks with pushing yourself too far, but you can do that with or without a hot room. You just have to be in tune with your body. You and only you decide how far you’re going to push yourself. Doing the same 26 poses is great because it gives you a chance to push yourself further and note your progress. Plus, I have sciatica issues and these poses don’t upset my spine like other types of yoga often do. Bikram is my favorite workout ever.

Comment by David — February 18, 2011 @ 9:29 am

I supplement my practice with an occasional bikram class. I’m accustom to the heat, but would like variety in the routine. I also don’t care for the instructors using the headset/microphones.

Comment by YogaME — February 18, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

I don’t understand how people can think Bikram is a good workout. People who do Bikram seriously mistake sweating for being active. Think about it, in Bikram there is no flow or cardio AT ALL. And how boring to do only 26 poses! There is so much more out there!

If you want a good workout, and you like heat, try Power yoga.

Comment by Leah — February 21, 2011 @ 11:31 am

I have only taken 3 Bikram yoga classes so far and I love it! I’m brand new to yoga and I find the classes very challenging, but I’m glad to hear it’s not only challenging to new comers, but to seasoned practicers as well. At first I felt nauseous and dizzy and even had to sit out a few poses. The instructors are strict, but they never made me feel bad if I couldn’t complete a pose. It helps you to feel a sense of accomplishment when you can stay in the room for the whole class. I’m looking forward to getting better and better at the poses, and to sweating out again tonight!

Comment by Nikki — February 22, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

I recently starting practicing Bikram yoga and fell in love! I also have a wonderful studio in Kernersville, they do not have carpeted floors and take great pride in the studio, they recently removed the flooring to do their steam cleaning. Anyhow my first class was challening but I kept going and have seen vast imporovements in my poses and how I feel overall. Sometimes I dread spending the hour and half when I could be at home but once I’m done I feel so much better. It’s amazing, I am planning a wedding, working full time and going to school full time but for some reason in that hour and a half I do not think about anything except myself. I think everyone (especially wonmen) gets so caught up in day to day tasks you lose your “me” time. Bikram is a great way to get it back! LOVE Bikram YOGA! :o)

Comment by CateyK — February 23, 2011 @ 9:11 am

Every time I practice I learn something new about myself. Its difficult to make the time, maybe 3 hours, includes drive time, and shower afterwards (a must!), but it is always worth it. A little push in the right direction from the instructor is something I appreciate. I need that extra kick in the butt, and Bikram provides it… others knock it down, but to each their own, right?!

Comment by Heidi — February 24, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

I love bikram and i would like to do the teacher training. I believe the hard way of teaching is the only way the teacher, with their strong voices, can let us feel how they care about our well being. I also believe that we can’t drink for a while because the body won’t acclimate the hot temperature if we do. i experienced a lot of things during bikram class, and a lot of them wouldn’t be part of my life if it haven’t been from bikram. I have a lot of respect for those who tried but didn’t stay, as long as they don,t laugh at us and tell us that we were a sect (it happened to me once and i was hurt inside!). I say: Go to bikram, the worst class is the one you don’t take :)

Comment by audrey bouchard — May 13, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

There are definite pros and cons of Bikram…The biggest pro is the extension ..not many practices do a lot of extension exercises and they are definitely needed!! The heat can be a pro or con…some instructors crank up the heat and humidity and i am totally drained from the heat not the exercises..its perfect at 103-105..any hotter is just stupid. My greatest pet peeve is the smell of the room..i believe bikram requires carpet with lines down it to stand the studio i go to the smell is nauseating..and it makes me wonder what exactly i am breathing…So i dont go daily I add it in once or twice a week along with other forms of yoga ,Pilates ,running, spinning etc.. and lastly when they have to teach per a script when they say its like doing cardio i beg to differ ..i don’t think half the people in the class could run to their car if needed!!

Comment by laura — May 19, 2011 @ 10:43 am

love bikram – can’t understand people saying its not cardio – my heart is pumping at certain points in the class defo getting a work out. I have tried all types of yoga – astanga, hatha, jivamutki and anasura and I love all types and I dip in and out of each but bikram is what i commit to three times a week. I love how it makes me feel. You do need disipline and determination and a lot of the time its a mental fight with yourself. Even though i have been going for a few years I often get the voice looking for a way out of a posture ! I can now distance myself form that voice and work through it.
I hate the bad press bikram gets – can’t understand a lot of it. Come to class well hydrated (3 lt of water during the day) and don’t over push yourself like in any other type of class. Bikram is really taking off in Ireland yipeee

Comment by siobhan — June 2, 2011 @ 9:04 am

63 years young and a marathoner, after 10 months 2x a week was in the best shape ever even better than before a marathon,very impressive routine THAT WORKS

Comment by chuck — November 17, 2011 @ 8:09 am

I very live Bikram but I have to make sure my brain is emty, don’t think anything.

Comment by Qwan — December 8, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

I’ve been doing Bikram for seven months now, and I love it. I go 4-5 times a week and supplement with running/gym time. Yes–it takes time, but it’s worth it to me. I am stronger and more flexible, in mind and body, than before. With my (prior) torn knee ligaments and plantar fasciitis, it’s as if, every time I go, I have a sweaty 90 minutes physical therapy session specifically designed for my injuries. My knee is the strongest it’s been in years, and my feet no longer hurt.

I’m not sure why bikram appears to be such a divisive issue, but the vehemence seems misplaced and ironic (since any type of yoga is intended to be a balancing and calming activity). However, as a practice, with its open-eyed meditation and emphasis on stretching, Bikram works very well for me.

Comment by AJ — February 25, 2012 @ 9:34 pm

Hey this is a great article! I also use this website to search for classes while I am traveling so I can make sure to get some yoga in. Tons of bikram on here!

Comment by shannon — September 20, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

Bikram Yoga – Hey just try it….it’s quite amazing.

Comment by Tony — December 7, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

Hi Elissa,
Detailed post on bikram yoga and like to add bikram yoga increase body flexibility, boost energy and improves concentration. Bikram yoga improves muscle tone, lowers high blood pressure and manage stress.

Comment by san antonio weight loss — December 29, 2012 @ 2:44 am

Not a fan but I’ve only tried it a few times. I think I’d rather get on the treadmill.

Comment by Kristen — February 20, 2013 @ 9:32 am

I do believe that this style of yoga is restorative and I can see results after only a week or two of doing it. I would love to commit to a local yoga studio in SF that is close enough to my home but they insist on keeping the room upwards of 112 degrees. Every time I inquire about the heat and why the instructor keeps it warmer than the 105 that they advertise and that Bikram suggests and I get some excuse about humidity. I still don’t understand why hotter than the prescribed and advertised 105 is better and to be honest with you, 105 I can easily deal with and do all the poses, but 112 I can’t. I don’t know how to have a conversation with them about this, as they seem ADDICTED to keeping it over 110 degrees in the room.
Please explain or help me understand this.

Comment by Sandra — June 4, 2013 @ 5:56 pm

Love – Hate – Love
I love going to class, dread it at times while doing the poses and dealing with the heat but love the feeling when I’m done!
I have been practicing 3 times a week for 2 months and feel amazing. I had surgery on a herniated disk 2 years ago at age 47 and never thought I would be able to do all of this. It helps so much with your core strength without overdoing it in some crazy positions. I love the teachers and how they walk you through each and every pose with the proper alignment and breathing techniques. My stomach and legs and arms are so toned and it has also made my running so much easier.

Comment by Kim — June 20, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

My first impressions of bikram after doing many years of ashtanga and a bit of hatha:

- the heat wasn’t as bad as i’d been afraid, although I did sweat buckets.

- it was a lot less demanding than i expected. you don’t keep the poses as long as even ashtanga, which surprised me, and they were all very basic poses, requiring not that much flexibility or strength compared to other types of yoga i’ve tried.

- they were actually really nice and didn’t push me at all to go further than i was comfortable with.

- i found it a bit weird that the instructor didn’t actually show us the poses and take part. I had to keep looking around at others to try and figure out the best form. having said that, i was offered correction by the instructor.

- my ashtanga practice in toronto (downward dog) was also 90 mins (i think they did 2hr sessions too for advanced), so i’m a bit dismissive of the time complaints.

- i did miss the meditative and spiritual side found in other yogas; I would say its definitely the most Westernised yoga I’ve tried.

- given the right frame of mind, I don’t think having only 26 poses would get too monotonous (I used to do a limited run of ashtanga as a daily workout), but it seems like once you have those down, there’s nowhere really to go to progress like there is in ashtanga or hatha. although my flexibility was challenged, my strength never was, the way it would be with even some of the ashtanga basic poses.

- i did feel really good afterwards because of the detox.

Overall, i will go again, but i think it really is yoga-lite, despite how people big it up as being so intense. Once you get past the intensity of the heat, the actual asanas are more of an easy introduction to yoga. i can see why teachers from other disciplines would do this as a break from the real tough stuff!

I’ll let you know if my opinion changes after a few classes :)

Comment by bekibunny — June 25, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

Bikram yoga has numerous benefits but more cases of severe poor posture require almost daily rehabilitation to get results because muscle memory will always want to pull the body back into a poor posture position. Yoga should be used in conjunction with posture rehab exercises.

Comment by Posture Perfect — July 18, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

Sandra in SF, I think I know which studio you mean–on Columbus. I went there a month and although the instructors and classmates were great people, the room was just too damn hot for me! I think it is the small size and low ceiling of the studio that makes it seem too hot. Try Seacliff for a very consistent lower temperature and airflow. They do not have windows that face the outdoor air, but it is a large studio with ceiling fans, so it stays consistently at 105. Smells good too. Don’t like that they have open shelves rather than lockers. Mission is good, too–less consistent with the heat, but more likely to be cooler rather than too hot–if it is too hot there, I go beside the windows and it is cooler. It’s never too cool for me, but it it is, then go closer to the door or center of the room. Mission also has the best staff and a good mix of different folks as students,just all-around laid-back awesome people there. I haven’t been to any Funky Door in ages to know about how their temps are.

Comment by Mel — July 22, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

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