Bikram is for Black Girls

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by Thembi Nakea

I first discovered Bikram yoga years ago in college. A friend of my cousin knew a girl who looked absolutely fabulous as a result of this “hot as hell” yoga. When I asked my cousin why didn’t she try it for her own weight loss; she replied “I told you, it’s hot as hell in there.”

Fast forward 11 years and now I incorporate Bikram Yoga into my fitness regime. Prior to having my son I was in the best shape of my life. I wasn’t rail thin, nor was I overly muscular. I was curvy, still wearing single digits and had a flat stomach. I had endurance, I was flexible and strong. Now that I have had a baby my focus has changed. Cardio is of the upmost importance to lose the excess pounds but twice a week I still make time for Bikram. There are a few misconceptions floating around the real and cyber world about Bikram yoga. I would like to take this opportunity to address them because Bikram is for everyone, even you, black girl.

Misconception #1

I have big breast; they will get in the way of me doing the 26 positions.

Truth: After the birth of my son, my breast became a 38DD. Put on a good sports bra or two, separate the girls when lying on your stomach and keep it moving. You may also modify positions to your comfort level. The benefits of the tourniquet effect far outweigh the annoyance of big breast.

Misconception #2

I may die in that heat!

Truth: The Bikram yoga room will be at least 105 degrees. You will not die. If you hydrate properly during the day prior to your practice, take drinking and resting breaks as needed; the most you will experience is nausea or dizziness. This is no different than someone training for a marathon and throwing up after their first long run. The heat is essential in promoting flexibility and preventing injury.

Misconception #3

Black girls can’t take Bikram on regular basis because it will destroy their hair.

Truth: If you exercise you will sweat out your hair. Choose a protective style that works for you. Buns, ponytails, weaves and braids allow you to exercise and still be presentable at work the next day. Your hair is less important than your heart…(disease).

Misconception #4

I’m not flexible, I can’t do yoga.

Truth: You may not be flexible in the beginning. It may take you a while to feel comfortable in every position but you will gain a greater range of motion. Your flexibility will increase. You can go at your own pace as there is no competition in yoga. Bikram yoga forces you to master yourself. You will be different as a result of your faithfulness to your practice.

Remove every excuse not to exercise. Try something new. Challenge yourself. It is nice to see more brown faces in my classes. I only know one black instructor of Bikram yoga and he is male. Bikram is for everyone, even you, black girl.

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