Everyone I know who has done Bikram yoga either loves it or hates it, and those who love it often reach a point of addiction in their practice. Not that it's bad news at all: this specific form of hot yoga comes with huge benefits for your mind, body and soul. After all, as far as addiction goes, you can get hooked on far worse things in the world!
Here are some surefire signs Bikram yoga has completely taken over your life — for the better!
1. You need to do it every day.
Do the math: if you work conventional office hours, you show up at the office five days in a week. If you are consistently showing up for yoga six or seven days in any given week, that beats showing up at your desk.
And why not, when Bikram yoga — despite how tough as hell it is — isn't work, but pleasure? It's rare a day goes by without you thinking, "I could use some yoga today." Well, mark these words, for these are the words of a yoga addict.
2. Running late for class gives you a mini-heart attack.
Many Bikram studios adhere to a firm policy of starting classes on time so as not to disturb the focus of everyone present in the room. Which leaves the slightly ironic option of being stressed if you happen to be running late.
From sprinting to the studio to beating these pesky red lights at traffic junctions, you'll see to it that you can reach the hot room just in time to finally chill out in these blissful 90 minutes.
3. You prep yourself way before class starts.
When Bikram yoga takes control of your life, you'll find yourself trying to optimize your progress in class by prepping way beforehand. It's like gaming your own system — in a good way.
Whether it's sipping water religiously all day to stay constantly hydrated, or eating a simple (but adequate) breakfast at 7am so you'll neither be starving or crazily stuffed during a lunchtime class at noon, or going to sleep early, you'll do these things, and more, just so you can get back in the hot room the next day and do it all over again. English bulldog determination, anyone?
4. It's so good, you wish everyone would try it.
Bikram addicts who have gained so much from the practice just want to help other people reap the same benefits, which means perpetually trying to convince other people to do a class too.
After all, if you have a good practice going, you won't just want to practice what you preach — you'll preach what you practice. Bring on the hot goodness!
5. You've either voluntarily signed up for the 30-day challenge, or you're thinking about it.
In the world of Bikram yoga, the number 30 is synonymous with the 30-day challenge. The latter sounds exactly like what it is: one month of Bikram yoga, non-stop. If you miss a day, you can make up for it by doing a double (read: two classes) the very next day.
As Bikram Choudhury — the man who founded Bikram yoga — himself once said, "Give me 30 days, I'll change your body. Give me 60 days, I'll change your life." The challenge can be a very empowering and transformative experience for anyone dedicated enough to complete it. Needless to say, Bikram addicts simply love it.
6. Being barely clothed in class no longer fazes you.
True, Bikram yoga can seem intimidating at first as you watch regular practitioners turn up for class wearing the tiniest of attires from trendy yoga brands. But it's not purely vanity: unlike most forms of yoga that take place in a non-heated environment, wearing too much in a Bikram class will only make your practice more difficult with your heavy, sweaty clothes weighing you down.
Covering yourself up in swathes of fabric also makes it hard to check for good form, from seeing how well your rib cage is lifted during Pranayama, to how much you're really locking your knee in Standing Head to Knee. You know you're a proper Bikram yoga convert when you no longer stand for all that sweaty baggage and show up in compact and functional form-fitting yoga outfits instead.
7. You'd rather hang out with your yoga buddies than anyone else.
Mmm, even on a bad day, your yoga buddies are the ones who will encourage you to reach further and outdo yourself. There is just so much warmth and niceness with this mutual support system, it makes you want to weep for joy. You just can't get enough of the good vibes. You sweat together. You laugh together. You cry together.
These people know exactly what you're going through because they are going through the same thing.
8. Other types of yoga just don't do it for you.
Don't get me wrong. All types of yoga in the world — whether it's Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar or Vinyasa, just to name a few — come with huge benefits for practitioners. Though no one form of yoga is superior to another, we all have our favorites and gravitate towards some more than the others.
Bikram addicts tend to go back to Bikram yoga even after trying other forms of yoga. Maybe it's the familiarity of the heat that makes the practice oh so comforting. Maybe it's the steadying effect of the 26-posture fixed sequence. Maybe it's the shared energy from everyone in the hot room. Whatever it is, it simply satisfies in a way no other yoga can.
9. You plan your vacations around Bikram.
You decide where to stay abroad based on the proximity to a Bikram studio. Now that's absolute devotion!