Although Bikram Yoga is the Original Hot Yoga, it is completely different from any other “hot yoga”. Prior to approximately 2011, Bikram Yoga was known as “hot yoga”, because it was the main form of heated yoga. However, with the addition of heated environments to a range of yoga, fitness, and exercise modalities, Bikram Yoga is no longer equivalent to “hot yoga”. Bikram Yoga is unique due to its history and roots in Ghosh’s Yoga College in Calcutta, India, its posture sequence, and its method.
Unlike many current “hot yoga” trends, we retain and strengthen the traditional elements of a prescribed sequence, stillness in and between postures, one-on-one teacher attention, and mental focus. We do not distract you with soundtracks or playlists; rather, we address the thoughts and the body directly with top quality instruction, mirrors for adjustments, and a time-tested, transformational system.
You can find authentic, independently-owned Bikram Yoga schools at the Original Hot Yoga Association directory. If you use Google, please keep in mind that it “thinks” that Bikram Yoga and hot yoga are equivalent, so if you are looking for the traditional method and lineage teachers, make sure you look at the biographies of the owners and teachers.
Another common misconception!
The reality is that our school – and Bikram Yoga in general – has many students over the age of 70. Many go from the couch directly to Bikram Yoga, and many students adjust to the practice by simply sitting still in the room for a few classes before trying the postures. Some students practice from wheelchairs and others use a chair at first. All of this is possible in every class, with consultation and guidance from our teachers.
And yes, this is also the yoga of choice of many current and former professional and collegiate athletes. It is designed for the unfit and the fit, and effective for everyone in between.
Although the maximum health benefits have been shown to occur at 105F and 40% humidity, we also offer two WARM classes per week – Tuesday 9:30 am and Thursday 5:45 pm – which are about 10 degrees cooler. We invite you to try these first if you have concerns about the heat.
Heat acclimation is actually very important for your health and can be initially achieved within 3 weeks of 3 classes per week. Over time, as you learn how to breath well, you will hardly notice the heat. This is a sign of good health!
The environment at our school is extremely well-regulated to promote maximum health benefit and does not exceed normal earth temperatures and humidity levels. This is not movement-based exercise in a hot room and is very different from other things called “hot yoga”. Our method allows for each student to work at her or his own pace and rest in stillness at any point during class. Even those with heat intolerance and menopausal symptoms adjust with a regular practice (in fact, hot flashes usually go away within a few weeks).
Kids’ Night is held at the Thursday evening class and is FREE for any child (under the age of 14) whose parent is taking class. Contact us for questions or more details. Contact us for questions or more details.
We firmly believe that people will commit to a transformative yoga practice when they are ready, regardless of finances. We have a Karma Yoga scholarship program to facilitate this and reduce tuition to less than $13/week for those who are ready and willing. Please sign up for our introductory month for $49 and practice 8-10 times within that month. If, after that, you still feel unable to afford tuition, please contact us to inquire about our scholarship opportunities.
No portion of our revenue is sent to Bikram Choudhury – we are as local and independent as you can get. We acknowledge that Bikram Choudhury (creator of the yoga system) has had controversy in his personal life and has said some tremendously disrespectful things, and we do not defend or support those types of behaviors or statements in any way.
However, the yoga and its benefits are much bigger and more profound than all of that. The yoga system – not the creator or his personality – is what we benefit from and share. We ask that you trust your direct experience at our school rather than gossip or sensational journalism.
We apprentice teachers who have practiced and trained in the Bikram Yoga lineage and under the Original Hot Yoga Association guidelines, because we have found that these provide the most rigorous and disciplined foundation for yoga teaching and effective yoga therapy. We are currently retaining the name “Bikram Yoga” in our school name because the yoga itself is so unique and effective; we do not want it to get confused with “hot yoga” or diluted in any way.
The less the better. The more skin of your legs and torso that are exposed, the cooler you will be. Please do not bring a hand towel for wiping sweat; allowing the sweat to stay on your body and evaporate will help you cool down quicker.
Those who are concerned about how their body looks will find relief in our yoga method and our extremely non-judgmental, supportive, body-positive community. During class you will be so highly focused on the internal sensations, verbal instructions, and breathing – the negativity about your appearance and the comparisons with other bodies will literally melt away.
Make sure that you have had the equivalent of three glasses of water (24-30 ounces) in the 2 hours before class, and as a beginner, please bring another 30 ounces of water into the room with you. You will learn about your hydration needs as you practice regularly and as you learn how to breathe better.
Pure water is best – Gatorade and other sugary sports drinks are not recommended during class, as they cause the body to digest and divert blood away from the skin and muscles.
The amount you practice will lead to different levels of benefit. A daily practice for 60 days is highly recommended for beginners who are committed to the most noticeable transformation in their health and well-being. In general, Bikram Yoga should be practiced at least 3-4 times per week for the full range of therapeutic benefits to take effect. Those who practice once or twice per week will still notice significant improvements in mobility, concentration, respiratory function, and emotional balance. Interventional research on the 90-minute class shows definite improvement in cardiovascular function, reduced cholesterol, and balanced blood sugar at a rate of 3 times per week, and reduction in mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety at a rate of 2 times per week.
Absolutely. However, there are very specific guidelines for pregnancy. First, although core temperature has been found to remain at a safe temperature in Bikram Yoga, the medical community wants to make sure that core temperature does not rise during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Hundreds of women around the world have practiced Rajashree’s Pregnancy Yoga within the Bikram Yoga classroom during all phases of pregnancy with no adverse effects (and very good birth outcomes), but we have to officially recommend that you take the first trimester of pregnancy to take one or two private, non-heated, prenatal classes with us and practice at home until Week 12. You may return to the “hot room” for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters as long as you have established at least 6 months of a regular practice prior to pregnancy.
Our director has been trained by Rajashree Choudhury in her Pregnancy Yoga system, practiced Rajashree’s Pregnancy Yoga throughout her entire pregnancy, and has assisted pregnant women with their yoga practices since 2006.
Absolutely! It is exciting to see and maintain the natural range of motion of the human spine, prior to stress and injury. Youth ages 14+ may practice the entire class. We ask that youth 16 and under practice a class or two with a parent prior to attending on their own.
Prior to puberty and sweat-gland development, most kids do better in a warm class or in the second half of class only. We recommend the Thursday 5:45 pm class, which is free of charge for any child (practicing with a parent who is paid).
One of the best things about this yoga is that you do not even need to be able to stand up to participate. Most chronic medical conditions are improved by this yoga, but we are happy to discuss special needs with you or your medical professionals. Please contact the director in advance if you are unsure about your ability to practice. We have good relationships with other health professionals in the community and will help you personally if any particular movements need to be avoided.
A consistent, comprehensive system for beginning students is extremely important in order to:
- build mastery and discipline
- develop subtlety and depth of understanding
- maintain safety before advancing
- improve strength and mobility of every single joint in every class
- train the mind to look for internal differences rather than external stimuli
Rather than the sequence changing, YOU change! As you learn to pay better attention, look for the details, and steady your focus, you will experience that every single class is different. Once you have created sufficient mastery of stillness and form in the beginning system, we offer intermediate and advanced levels. This usually takes a minimum of 250 classes or 2 years of near-daily practice.
This practice is what you make of it. If you bring competitiveness or comparison or self-criticism with you, you will get to watch those qualities melt away as you practice regularly and learn to direct your mind in healthy, healing ways. The focus and discipline in Bikram Yoga actually help to eliminate comparison and competitiveness within just a few months of regular practice.
Rajashree Choudhury and many yoga practitioners in our lineage do support participate in Asana Championships for the purposes of inspiring youth to incorporate yoga into their lives at a young age. The events are incredibly inspiring, and most participants do not have a competitive bone in their body! Read more about those here.
No. All schools in the Bikram-Ghosh lineage are completely independent, locally owned and directed, small businesses. However, we are very closely connected by a common training lineage and by an overflowing love for this practice. We maintain the integrity and consistency of the yoga system because we have seen it work so well over so many decades. Most of us own and operate our yoga schools out of sheer passion for sharing the life-changing benefits of Bikram Yoga with the world.