Essential Gear for Bikram Yoga: An Instructional Guide

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Essential Gear for Bikram Yoga: An Instructional Guide

Mat and Towels
Water Bottle
Tops
Bottoms
Mat Bag and Sweaty Clothes Bag

Mat and Towels

A yoga mat is essential for Bikram yoga. However, the towel placed on top of it is even more crucial.
Most standard-width mats are sufficient.
Opting for a thin “travel” mat is not advisable since some poses require kneeling, making extra cushioning beneficial.

Towels are necessary due to the excessive sweating during Bikram yoga.
Initially, a bath or beach towel can suffice.
However, for regular practitioners, specialized yoga towels are highly recommended.
They fit snugly on the mat, are thinner, and facilitate easy transportation to and from class.
Crucially, a non-slip towel is essential to avoid distractions during poses.

After experimenting with several yoga-specific towels, the author recommends the following:

  • Prana’s Synergy Towel Mat: Features a comfortable top layer and a non-slip rubber bottom.
  • Prana’s Transformation Mat: A thin mat with a rubber backing, ideal for use as a towel.
  • Lululemon’s The Towel: Absorbent and aesthetically pleasing despite its thinness.

Unlike traditional yoga forms, mat and towel slippage is not a concern in Bikram yoga due to the absence of downward dog or similar poses.

Additionally, a hand towel is useful for wiping away sweat from the face and eyes.
While there are yoga-specific hand towels available, microfiber towels or soft cotton towels can also be effective.

Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is crucial during Bikram yoga classes.
The author recommends Polar’s squeezable sport bottles.
Their insulation helps maintain cool water in the heated studio, while their sport tops eliminate the need for unscrewing lids and minimize spillage risks.
Furthermore, they are dishwasher and freezer safe, durable, and cost-effective.

Tops

Cotton T-shirts should be avoided due to their moisture-retentive properties.
Instead, opt for light, fitted, wicking yoga tank tops with thin straps or cropped bra tops.
Since Bikram yoga studios are typically over 100 degrees with high humidity, minimal clothing is often preferred.

For longer tops, the author favors merino wool due to its natural wicking abilities and exceptional softness.
Smartwool’s PhD Seamless Long Bra is a highly recommended option.

Bottoms

Similarly to tops, light, wicking bottoms are essential.
Shorts are preferred due to the heat.
Some individuals prefer short shorts with adjustable side ties, while others opt for yoga-specific shorts or even workout or running shorts.
Avoid shorts with zippered back pockets, as they can be uncomfortable during poses that involve lying on the back.
Loose-fitting shorts should have built-in wicking liners to eliminate the need for additional layers.

Mat Bag and Sweaty Clothes Bag

Various types of bags are available for transporting yoga mats and sweaty clothes.
Consider the post-yoga activities and transportation modes when selecting a bag.
For example, walking errands or going to lunch requires different bag features compared to driving straight home.
The author prefers to loosely fold damp mats and towels instead of rolling them.

However, a reusable, waterproof-lined bag is indispensable for storing wet yoga clothes.
The Sweat Mate, crafted by a Denver-based company, offers a convenient and hygienic solution.

Whether you’re a Bikram yoga novice or a seasoned practitioner, the right gear can significantly enhance your practice.


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