Bikram Yoga Heats Up in the Northwest

Register for the local gym, you’ll likely gain access to a few group yoga classes and a locker room sauna. Register at a Bikram yoga studio, ans you lose the view of sweaty beefcakes lifting weights,but you will definitely get a sauna and yoga classes… at the same time.

”Hot yoga” is not the same thing as Bikram. Hot yoga is any type of yoga done within a heated room. Bikram yoga was developed by Bikram Choudury- a skilled yoga expert from India. Bikram classes run for exactly ninety minutes. Each class consists of twenty six different postures and two breathing exercises. The room is heated to one hundred and five degrees Fahrenheit with forty percent humidity. It is believed that the heated studio helps to increase the depth of stretches, prevent injuries, and reduce tension during yoga.

Choudury first brought his style of yoga to LA, and it has since spread to studio and practice locations all around the world. Locations including many right here in the Northwest. From Sweatbox Yoga in Capitol Hill of Seattle to Bikram Yoga PDX in Portland… trendy studios have been popping up all over Western Washington and Oregon to meet health and fitness demands.

At Bikram Elements in downtown Bellevue, Washington, both novice and seasoned yogis can satisfy their thirst for sweat and relaxation in a beautifully lit chic room resting right above the sparkling Eastside skyline. For a typical class, students check in to a serene front desk, toting mats, towels and water bottles with them, step into a toasty studio room and begin to stretch out on the warm floor right before beginning the ninety minute session. Glancing from left to right around your mat, you’ll find yogis of every age, gender and expertise level.

For my first class at Bikram Elements, I chose an early evening time slot. I’d obviously overlooked how incredibly popular Bikram was already, especially for the after-work crowd, so I was surprised to discover upon entering the room that there was barely room left for my mat alone. Business executives, stay-at-home moms, tech programmers, college students and retirees all flooded into the room around and settled in for the difficult, intense and liberating experience that is Bikram yoga.

Having completed plenty of yoga and fitness classes before, as well as sat through long Sauna sessions… I felt perfectly prepared to begin this class. What separates Bikram from other yoga and fitness classes however, is the way that it is organized. Every class runs on a nearly identical schedule- running through all twenty six of Choudury’s postures and breathing exercises. The set of postures is specifically designed to work every single part of the body, improving upon the functionality and health of all internal organs, veins, ligaments and muscles.

While Bikram is meant to improve health, if done incorrectly or without proper rest and hydration beforehand, it can be dangerous to your wellbeing. When you register for a Bikram program in the Northwest, the studio will typically contact you right before your first class with instructions on proper hydration, attire, rest, mats and preparation to ensure that you don’t get too light headed from the heat or become ill from dehydration during the class. I left my first class exhausted, drenched in sweat and grasping for a water bottle.

The Northwest is known for its competitive health culture and trendy communities… for those who can take the heat, Bikram yoga could just be the perfect fusion of these two.


Some Bikram studios in Seattle and Portland…


Bikram Yoga Seattle- Fremont and West Seattle Locations

Sweatbox Yoga- Capitol Hill and Shoreline Locations

Bikram Yoga Fremont Street- Northeast Portland

Bikram Yoga PDX- Portland and Beaverton Locations


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