What to Expect in a Bikram Class
Like most modern yoga styles practiced today, Bikram stems from Hatha yoga -- an umbrella term that simply means the physical practice of doing poses, or asanas. Unlike other Hatha derivatives (like Vinyasa), however, every Bikram class follows the same sequence of 26 postures, designed to help oxygen flow to every part of the body and to stretch muscles and ligaments in a systematic way.
"It can be very addictive, because you're doing the same thing every time and you can get very good at the postures; you always know what to expect," says Sophie Herbert, a yoga instructor based in Brooklyn, New York. "People who get into it tend to do it every day for a week or two weeks at a time, so you can see the improvement day by day." In fact, Bikram's Yoga College of India recommends that newcomers start a practice by taking class every day for two months straight.
It is also recommended that you don't eat for two to three hours before a Bikram yoga class and that you drink plenty of water (and cut back on caffeinated beverages and processed foods) for several days beforehand. You will sweat -- a lot -- so you should wear clothes that help you stay cool and move freely (no baggy t-shirts), and bring a towel to lie on top of your yoga mat.
In each 90-minute Bikram class, wherever you are in the world, your instructor will lead you through the following series of poses.
Sanskrit Name: English Translation
Pranayama: Standing Deep Breathing
Ardha-Chandrasana: Half Moon Pose
Utkatasana: Awkward Pose
Garurasana: Eagle Pose
Dandayamana-Janushirasana: Standing Head to Knee
Dandayamana-Dhanurasana: Standing Bow Pose
Tuladandasana: Balancing Stick
Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Paschimotthanasana: Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose
Trikanasana: Triangle Pose
Dandayamana-Bibhaktapada-Janushirasana: Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee Pose
Tadasana: Tree Pose
Padangustasana: Toe Stand
Savasana: Dead Body Pose
Pavanamuktasana: Wind-Removing Pose
Pada-Hasthasana: Sit Up
Bhujangasana: Cobra Pose
Salabhasana: Locust Pose
Poorna-Salabhasana: Full Locust Pose
Dhanurasana: Bow Pose
Supta-Vajrasana: Fixed Firm Pose
Ardha-Kurmasana: Half Tortoise Pose
Ustrasana: Camel Pose
Sasangasana: Rabbit Pose
Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana: Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose
Ardha-Matsyendrasana: Spine-Twisting Pose
Kapalbhati in Vajrasana: Blowing in Firm Pose
[Source: Bikram Yoga]