Best Bikram Hot Yoga Poses (Beginner’s Guide)
What is Bikram Hot Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is a form of Hot Yoga. Bikarm Choudhury founded Bikram yoga system, and brought over his method to the United States in the 70s.
Bikram started his own college for Yoga in Beverly Hill, California. Over time, it became one of the most popular forms of yoga practiced in the country.
Bikram Yoga is typically performed in a yoga studio that is set to a temperature of 95 f- 105 f. The purpose of the heat is to help you sweat away toxins, and for the muscles to relax better.
Bikram is a specific system of Hot Yoga. It is a system including 26 postures, 2 pranayama exercises in one cycle. For each 90 minute class, 2 cycles will usually be performed.
It is important to note that not all forms of Hot Yoga are the Bikram System. But, the Bikram system is always considered Hot Yoga.
- Wear loose, light and comfortable clothing.(Capris and Long Pants are best)
- Stay well hydrated an hour or two before class, and after class.
- Do not participate if you’re pregnant.
Half Moon Pose
Half-moon pose is also known as Ardha Chandrasana.
This pose will test your leg, ankle, core and spinal strength, and your ability to remain balanced.
Stand on top of your mat with your feed side by side. Interlock your hands together in a tight grip above your head.
Push your arms towards the ceiling and feel the stretch of your spine. Your hips and pelvis should naturally be pushing forward. You will also feel your chest starting to stretch and open up.
Take a deep breath and bend towards the side by pushing your hips to the side. Keep your feet and arms together and feel your chest open up. Push your arms upwards and tilt backwards so your chest can open up properly.
- Keep shoulders relaxed
- Maintain lengthening of the spine
- Keep knees locked
The awkward pose is known as Utkatasana, it is also known as chair pose in other schools of yoga. This pose will help you to learn how to strengthen your legs and lower body. It will also help to improve your blood circulation.
Keep your legs 6 inches apart (shoulder width). Raise your arms up to shoulder height so they’re pointed forward. Keep your palms down.
Relax your shoulders, and suck in your stomach. Take a deep breath and exhale. As you exhale, push your butt backwards and lower your body as far as you can. Feel the weight shift from your toes all the way to your heels. Hold that position for 10 seconds.
Beginner Tip: Open up your knees slightly as you lower your body for balance
Slowly raise yourself back up to the standing position. Now raise your entire body and balance yourself on just your toes. Keep your arms raised shoulder-height as usual.
Once again, breathe in , exhale, and lower your body backwards. Lower your body until your body could almost be sitting on a chair, or pressing up against a wall. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Raise your body back up again and return to the original position. Bring your knees together and raise your feet slightly this time.
Take a deep breath and exhale. Lower your body until your butt is almost touching your heels. Keep your knees together as you lower your body. Slowly bring yourself back up.
Check out @indira.yoga doing her chair pose in the outdoors!
The Eagle pose is known as Garudasana. This posture is great as it opens your shoulder, and hip joints a lot. It also serves to test your body flexibility, core muscles and leg muscles.
The Eagle pose is a difficult pose, however, beginners can attempt this pose with success as well.
Lift your right leg up above the waist, and bring it back down and around the left leg’s calf. As you lift up the leg you want to open your hip joints. Wrap the feet as much as you can around the calf. Both legs should be bent at this point.
Once one foot is around the other calf, lift both arms up to straighten the spine, and open up the chest. Bring the arms back down, and bring the right arm underneath the left. Both arms should be against each other at one contact point to create tension.
Keep the chest up. Keep shoulders and hips square and facing forward. Suck in your stomach for balance. Also make sure there are no gaps between both legs.
- Keep shoulders square by tilting right shoulder to the right.
- Keep hips square by tilting right hip to the right.
- Keep legs tightly together by lowering the leg that is doing the wrapping.
- Keep shoulders relaxed as much as possible.
- For beginners, don’t worry about interlocking fingers at this point.
- For beginners, don’t worry about wrapping the entire foot around the calf. One toe around the calf is good enough.
For some perfect form, check out @aylineriten‘s Eagle Pose done right by the lake.
Standing Head-to-Knee Pose
Standing Head-to-Knee Pose is also known as Dandayamana Janusirsana. When done properly, this pose will help to work your leg, core and arm muscles.
Safety Tip: When doing this pose don’t rush. Slowly stretch out your muscles to prevent injury.
Bend your spine and lean forward. Lift one leg up and keep it at 90 degrees. Place both hands under the soles of the lifted foot. Lock your other knee and maintain your balance.
- Use your core and inner thighs to maintain balance
- Lock your knee and make sure, hip, knee and heel is aligned.
- Flex your quadricep to lock your knee properly
Slowly extend the leg that was bent as far as you can. If you’re a beginner it is unlikely that you will be able to extend the leg fully.
- Engage your core
- Focus on extending the leg
- Don’t use your hands to force the extension of your leg.
Lower your elbows down as far as you can. Do not crunch your shoulders. Use your lat muscles to lower your elbows and body.
Lower your head forward and tuck your chin as low as possible. Your chin should be touching your knee.
For a full video demonstration, check out Alissa Kepas’s demonstration.