There’s little doubt that a great Bikram class can boost your energy, your mood, and even your motivation for the day ahead or the day to come. Personally I love practicing first thing – it’s such a great chance to shrug off that morning fog and get me charged up for the day ahead. But at the same time I love evening classes - they're so brilliant for winding down after a busy day.
Whatever time you practice, I’m sure you’ve noticed how great you feel after class, but have you also noticed how sometimes after a few hours you either crash or simply struggle to find lasting energy? If this is happening to you even occasionally pay special attention to these few simple tips. I guarantee you really will notice more of a happy spring in your step!
1. Consider your pre-yoga hydration
It’s easy to get so caught up in your busy day that you forget to drink enough water for exercise or even for everyday health. If you just can’t seem to get on top of this try setting your phone or computer alarm to go off every hour, or at least 30 minutes before class, and drink a tall glass of the good stuff. If morning yoga is your thing, keep a glass of water by your bed and knock it back as soon as you wake.
2. Learn how to breathe
If you’ve ever tried to hold a pose with your to-do list running through your mind and the weight of your world on your shoulders then it’s safe to say you’ve skipped out on proper breathing. Here’s a tip: breathing is not actually meant to be shallow, through the mouth, and largely into the chest cavity. Take time to breathe properly by slowing down your pace, taking deliberate breaths through the nose, and aiming to generate the first two thirds of the breath into your belly rather than your chest. Try counting to 6 on the inhale and 6 on the exhale as many of our wonderful teachers advise. You can do this both in and out of the room.
3. Adjust your posture
We all know that Bikram is definitely a great way to pump up your heart rate and get those lungs burning but it's not always automatic to think about great posture - even with all the frequent reminders! Try not to determinedly force your way through a posture. Focus instead on holding yourself tall and relaxed (with correct breathing), and take the time to truly listen to what the teachers are saying.
4. Get into nature after class - even for 10 minutes
There really is nothing that can beat a few minutes in the great outdoors. And you know I’m not talking about the smoggy outdoors of the city or even suburban streets. If you have a park or reserve nearby to where you live then make the effort to head down there pre or post class and enjoy breathing some truly crisp air. Perhaps you could consider riding or walking to class occasionally, or taking time to walk through the nearby Carlton Gardens afterwards? Time amongst nature is said to recharge our natural energy fields and rejuvenate our soul. A little over the top perhaps, but hey – if it works it works!
Do you have any questions for me about how to get more energy out of your practice? Or perhaps you have a tip to share; something I’ve missed that could help both me and other readers?
If you enjoyed this post then please visit me over at my regular blog BodyIncredible.com for tips on nutrition, lifestyle, motivation.