Doing A Double Bikram Yoga Class: Some Tips.

In case you’re new here (Hi!), I am a yoga student. Someone who practices yoga.

I’d call myself a yogi if I only didn’t associate it with double-jointed Indian men with beards and terrifyingly good postures. I feel the term yoga student fits me a lot better: I practice yoga. That’s all I do.

I’ve been at it for almost three years and some of it looks okay, some of it doesn’t. I sometimes remain in position, I sometimes fall out. It’s also a learning practice for me. I learn from it: Things about my body, about myself and other important life lessons you can find in the small little e-book ‘Girl Meets Yoga’ you can download here.

Anyway, I’m a very specific yoga student: I practice Bikram Yoga. Short intro on Bikram Yoga: It’s a 90-minute class with 26 postures while it’s 40 degrees in the yoga room. Brutal at times, but satisfying and good for you.

And you might think that’s cray, I’ll bring a little more craziness: I sometimes like to do two classes in a row. For those of you wide-eyed screaming “WHY?!” I’ll tell you why: Because it’s amazing! It takes extra time (and towels) but it gives you twice the benefits of one yoga class, you teach yourself devotion and discipline and the energy you’ll have after is nothing short of wonderful.

I did my first Bikram Yoga Double class after about a year of practice, but you should really feel for yourself when you’re ready. For me, I literally had thought that I wanted to deepen my practice and then a second later my friend asked me if I wanted to join her for two classes instead of one. And I did. It was nice.

It’s not the end of the world if it’s harder than you thought it would be either: As the teachers say, you can always sit down and take a break! Please note that I am not a Bikram Yoga instructor and it’s always a great idea to ask your yoga teachers for more expert advice. These tips on how to survive doing a Double Bikram Yoga Class are solely based on my own experiences and preferences.

  • Drink a lot of water the day before your back-to-back Bikram classes. This is especially important if you start the day with your double classes so if you do, up the water intake in the evening. Sorry for the inconvenient bathroom breaks!
  • This may be a no-brainer, but bring two sets of yoga gear (clothes and a towel for on your mat) and if you want, an extra towel to shower with. It’s a lot nicer to change into something dry and clean than walk around in double sweat. Also good to have in your bag: big bottle of water, some flavored coconut water or juice, fruit and a sandwich or salad to eat after the two classes if you can’t go straight home.
  • For your first couple of double classes you may find you want to take it slow in the first class. Later on this is more a mental thing than physical, but regardless: It will give you the confidence to survive the second class. So pay more attention to your breath and sit down when you need to. Take it a little slower in the beginning. You can always crank it up more should you so desire.
  • During the break between your two classes: Relax in the final resting position and then do what you like: Take a shower, drink some water (or something with electrolytes in it like coconut water or green juice with celery in it) and eat a small piece of fruit for some sugar. One of my teachers actually said it was best not to eat anything in between to prevent nausea, but fruit for me is easy to digest and doesn’t bother me in the next class.
  • Get back into the yoga room at least ten minutes before the next class. It can help get used to the heat (again) and relax. The more relaxed you are before your second class the better.
  • In the second class, in my experience I feel stiffer first, but in twenty minutes I’m so warmed up and flexible I can now go a little further in postures while it’s still comfortable. During the second class, just observe how your body responds and be respectful to it. 
  • This is also important: Listen to the teacher’s words now more than ever. Of course you have to do that in the first class as well, but during the second class it can divert your attention from your monkey mind who is screaming at you that you’re clinically insane and who is trying to distract you from the yoga. The more you listen, the easier the second class will be. All you have to do is follow the words: It keeps your mind busy and it guides your body.
  • Now you might be sore when you come out the class (and the next day) but it’s nothing compared to how you will soar* from the energy boost. Don’t worry you can’t do anything afterwards, because you will. In fact, you might be doing even more because you feel so relaxed and productive. I wouldn’t recommend running a marathon after though, that might be a little much.
  • Can you do a yoga class the day after? Of course, but you don’t have to! Listen to your body and its potential agony or enthusiasm.

Now I know it might be a Bikram Yoga Culture Thing, but I’m pretty sure you can apply these principles to other yoga classes too, should you so desire. The beauty about yoga is that if you are able to listen to your body and honor its boundaries, you can practice it however long you want. But as always, any yoga is always better than no yoga at all, right?

On a somewhat related-to-yoga note, these supercute pendants in the pictures you can find this Etsy shop. Aren’t they adorable? I am actually considering to start wearing a necklace for them.)

*HAHA, PUN. 

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22 comments

  1. Net mijn eerste lesje Hatha Yoga gehad. Met een hoogbejaarde dame erbij, dus niet bijzonder intensief. Maar misschien wel een prima start. Ik voel me ontspannen. Thx voor de yoga-inspiratie!

  2. I love reading about yoga, but haven’t ever done bikram-yoga (yet?). Could you maybe write an article for ‘beginners’ sometime? Since it’s a 90 minute class with 26 poses I feel like you first need to be able to do ‘regular’ yoga before you can try Bikram, is that true? The one time I took a ‘regular’ yoga course I found it really hard, and that was the easiest one at our fitness centre.

    1. Beginner’s article coming up and it is NOT true you ‘have to’ have done regular yoga before Bikram. It may give you some confidence to go to Bikram, but it’s not necessary: Anyone can do a Bikram class. =)

  3. Wow I love your post, thank you for writing it! I still haven’t managed to get myself to a bikram class, either it’s when I’m working, or I’m injured, or traveling…excuses, excuses…I know. the past month I didn’t do anything at all due to my hip, but I’m really looking forward to go to practice again! I think I’m putting Bikram on top of my 2013 resolution list (in case I don’t manage to go this year…).

  4. Goede tips! Ik ben nu bijna een jaar geleden met yoga begonnen en voor mijn gevoel ben ik nog niet klaar voor bikram yoga, maar wil het zeker een keer proberen.

    1. Ik weet zeker dat je het prima aan zou kunnen – ga het voor de grap eens proberen! If worst comes to worst you can always sit down. 😉

    2. Ik weet zeker dat je het prima aan zou kunnen – ga het voor de grap eens proberen! If worst comes to worst you can always sit down. 😉

    3. Ik weet zeker dat je het prima aan zou kunnen – ga het voor de grap eens proberen! If worst comes to worst you can always sit down. 😉

  5. Ik doe nu al bijna een jaar ashtanga yogo, voor mij is dat puuurfect
    Bikram ga ik niet starten, er was eens een uitzending van Volt en daar zeiden ze dat het risico op blessures groter was, blessures genoeg, ik probeer het daarbij te laten 😀

    1. Asthanga Yoga vond ik ook heel fijn om eens te proberen, ga ik ook nog eens keer een losse van doen.

      Bikram Yoga is niet blessure-gevoeliger dan andere yoga of andere sport voor zover ik weet en ervaren heb, hoor. Bij elke sport waarbij je over je eigen grenzen heen gaat raak je geblesseerd.

    1. Hoi Anne, eigenlijk alleen wat losse lesjes hier en daar verspreid over vijf jaar ofzo dus heel weinig. =) Pas bij Bikram viel het Yoga-Kwartje echt! 😉

  6. Great post….My name is Nisha from New Zealand, I have been practicing Bikram yoga for more than 6 months now, I have also done 60 days challenge ….did one class every day. Now we have a fund rasing event at our class and I’m planning to do atleast 3 classes tommorow. Can you please give me some tips.

  7. Last Friday I did my first back to back hot yoga class at Forty Degrees Studio in Amsterdam. I have to admit that I really enjoyed both classes. I was lucky to have two of my favorite instructors in the studio leading the session on that day, both give high energy instructions and speak very clearly. Which made it easier to keep my focus and motivation. I felt more flexible in the second class. I really enjoyed this experience and will definitely do it again!

  8. Thanks for linking back to this article! Great timing as always.

    I have recently made a friend who turned out to be a Bikram teacher. She teaches tomorrow morning, and to celebrate ‘practicing’ with her for the first time, I will attempt to drag my ass out of bed at 6.30 AM to do my first ever two back to back session with her.

    I have done multiple classes on one day before, but never right after each other… scared but excited!

  9. Expectation is the key. If someone said you would get $10,000 to do a double I am sure almost all would do it. Just don’t expect them both to be perfect or 100% to start with. It is like running. When we extend our distance we usually do it slower until we build up the strength and endurance. Check out http://www.UltraYogi.com

    1. I have! I did 5 classes once, but honestly I could only fully do 3 – I spent most of my time doing nothing for class 4 and 5. MAJOR headaches and stuff the day after!