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800 Islington Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
phn: (603) 430-6222

FAQ   click on each question to see the answer

Why is it hot?

There are 9 major reasons for the heat:

  • The heat takes the trauma out of stretching.  Warm muscles are open to stretching and much less likely to pull or tear than cold muscles. 

  • Oxygen is more readily supplied to warm muscles because of vasodialation of the capillaries.  That translates into better circulation to muscles and other tissues, allowing for better delivery and removal of nutrients and wastes.

  • Sweating is an important form of cleansing for the body.  Toxins and metabolic wastes are released through your sweat glands.  This, in turn, takes the strain off of the internal organs responsible for the removal of toxins like your kidneys and liver. While the majority of waste management is done by the bladder and colon, the skin plays an important role, particularly when it comes to heavy metals.

  • Fats and glucose are broken down and used more readily by warm muscles.  That means you burn more calories and fat. 

  • The warmth helps to prevent the deposit of fatty acids on arterial walls.  Stress and intense exercise causes a deluge of fatty acids in the blood stream.  Warm muscles are better able to utilize these fatty acids.  Cold muscles are not as efficient and excess fatty acids are deposited throughout the body (eg. on your arterial walls).  While your internal temperature may not rise much during class (0.6 degrees on average), your skin and superficial muscles will.  The heat helps keep those muscles as warm as your chest and abdomen.

  • The heat improves coordination and balance.  Students practicing in a warm environment have an easier time with balancing postures and coordination of multi-step postures.

  • The warmth of the room helps to prevent heart irregularities associated with sudden exercise.

  • The human nervous system sends messages more readily when the body is warm.

  • Helps you to develop tremendous will power, concentration and determination to learn to focus on your yoga and your breath in the midst of the intensity of the room and the distraction of the sweat dripping off your body.

    Adapted from "Smart Exercise" by Covert Bailey.

What if I’m not flexible?

This is the most common misconception that prevents people from coming to a yoga class. Being inflexible is the exact reason you should come to yoga. Yoga is about moving your joints and stretching your body in all directions. As long as you listen carefully to your teachers, practice good alignment and you find your personal edge, you will get 100% of the benefit medically, bio-chemically, physiologically, and psychologically.

I've never done yoga. Is there a class for beginners?

Bikram Yoga is accessible for students of all levels and ages. A beginner’s series is not necessary with this style of yoga. The teacher will guide you through 26 postures step-by-step so you can follow along to your personal depth today. Each of our yoga classes has students of all levels of experience, fitness, and health, including beginners.

How should I prepare for class?

Choose a class time that works for you and arrive about 15 minutes before the class starts. Bring a water bottle for class or buy one at the studio.

It's best if you don't eat a heavy meal 1-3 hours before class.

Bring a yoga mat and a large beach towel, or you can rent from us.

Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to get your body fully hydrated. A good rule of thumb for water intake is half your body weight in ounces per day.

Am I allowed to take breaks during the class?

Absolutely. Keep in mind that your body will gradually acclimate over a number of classes. We don’t expect you to do everything on the first day. The most important thing you can do in your first class is listen carefully and breathe slowly through your nose. Everything else will come in time. The first class is always an experience - just take it as it comes, and see where it leads.

How often should I practice?

Practice as often as you can, especially in the beginning.  In a perfect world, we recommend that you practice six days a week for the first two months, unless you suffer from chronic condition.  Then, continue to practice six days a week until the condition is gone.

The length of your induction phase will depend on your state of health at initiation.  In fact, the harder this yoga is for you in the beginning, the more your body needs it.  That may sound like a big task to you as you begin your practice, but it will be worth every ounce of effort to put in.  This intensive practice period gives your body a jump start.  You will notice many changes in your body and health, and incredible improvements in your postures quickly.  Practice daily until you are performing 90% of the postures 90% correctly, especially the most challenging postures.

Practice your yoga sessions back to back.  Yoga is not like weight-lifting.  Your body does not want or need a day of rest in between classes.  If you wake up in the morning stiff or sore, get back to class that day.  Your body will feel much better for it.  The days that you least want to go to class are usually the days your body needs it the most.  Conversely, take your days off together, too.  If you are planning to practice five days a week, take your two days off together to give your muscles ample time to rest and heal.  You'll come back to class feeling like a million bucks.

After the induction phase, a daily practice can continue or relax into a regimen of several times a week, as long as you are supplementing with other forms of exercise.  Remember, the Surgeon General recommends 60 minutes of exercise every single day to maintain your current state of health and 90 minutes each day to improve it.  This yoga is thorough enough to be your sole form of exercise.

With that said, we know that not everyone has the time or finances to make it to class every day.  Not to worry.  You will find yourself creating time to get to yoga.  The more you can come, the faster your progress will happen.  As much as you can fit yoga into your life, do it.  Whether it is once a month or once a day, get yourself into a class.  It is like putting money in the bank for your retirement.  How much do you want to retire with?

If you are still wondering at the health benefits of yoga, just look at someone who has been practicing for twenty or thirty years.  They have no age, they have become timeless.

Can I do Bikram Yoga if I am pregnant?

A resounding yes! A regular yoga practice has been reported to help pregnant women throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery, and helps speed recovery.  There are some important notes to consider before starting or continuing your practice.

Women who practiced Bikram Yoga during pregnancy have reported feeling better during pregnancy, experienced fewer complications, had greater ease and less duration of delivery and calm, happy babies.  You can learn to breathe, cope with stress and stay comfortable in your body through all of the changes pregnancy has to offer.

If you are currently a practitioner of Bikram Yoga, feel free to continue your practice as long as possible, under the advice of your doctor or midwife.  Many women have practiced right up until delivery.  Once you complete your 13th week, your teacher can instruct you in the modifications for pregnant women. To see photographs and descriptions, ask at the front desk.  You may notice that the practice is very challenging in the first trimester as you are adjusting to changing hormones and increasing blood volume.

If you have never done Bikram Yoga before, wait until you have entered your second trimester before beginning classes.  From the beginning, you will practice the pregnancy modifications.

Many women may feel intimidated by the heat of the room.  Doctors often caution women from saunas and jacuzzis.  Unlike a jacuzzi or a sauna, the body temperature rises minimally during a Bikram Yoga class, on average 0.6 degrees, because of all of the sweating and liberal use of fans.  You have nothing to worry about.  Do the best that you can.  You may even want to bring a thermometer to class to prove to yourself that you and your baby are okay.

Important notes for pregnant women:

  • Practice at about 50% of your capacity and never to exhaustion.

  • Be sure to stay well-hydrated.
  • Feel free to bring a sports drink or snack into class if you find you are light-headed or hungry during class.

  • Practice in a cooler area of the room or by the door.  Feel free to leave class anytime to cool down.

  • From the second trimester on, practice standing postures with your feet six inches apart for stability.

  • Do not push your hips forward in the backward bends.  The cartilage in your hips is preparing for birth by loosening and is less stable than it was before you were pregnant.

  • No forward compressions or belly-down postures after the first trimester.  Ask your teacher for modifications.

  • Enjoy yourself.  You are preparing for the SuperBowl of your life!

Can I do yoga if I am injured?

Bikram Yoga is a therapeutic yoga series, not an athletic series. It was designed by Bikram Choudhury after rehabilitating himself with yoga following a debilitating knee injury, from which his doctors said he would never walk again. It is suitable rehabilitation for any injury.

Your responsibility is to tell your teachers of any current or chronic injuries so they can help guide you in your practice. Listen carefully to the cues given to you by your teachers and listen carefully to the messages you get in class from your body. These two tools will help you find what your body can do therapeutically today.

What if I am out of shape? And too old for this?

Count your lucky stars you found us!  In fact, the older and more out of shape you are, the more you need this yoga.

Old age does not have to mean pain and medications.  No matter what your age or experience with exercise, you can begin right now to make a difference in your own health.  Not only will you trim your tummy, you'll give your pancreas a squeeze in the process.  You will improve your cardivascular health and the function of your colon.  Yoga works to improve the health and conditioning of the body as a whole.

All you need to do in there is your personal best on each given day.  Without fail, if you apply yourself, listen carefully to your limits, and keep it up, the series will get easier for you over time.  Be patient with yourself.  It may have been a long time since you've tried something completely new at which you aren't very good.  Give yourself a break and remember: nobody is looking at you.  They are all struggling with their own class.

Try not to get too frustrated with yourself in the beginning if you don't think you can do the postures like other people you see in class.  Your teachers know bodies.  We watch and help people for a living.  We know what to expect from you and are privileged to be able to share this journey with you.

Go slow in the beginning.  Trying too hard will only discourage you.  A good rule of thumb is if you cannot breathe, you are working too hard.  Any time you are holding your breath, panting or gasping, you have been working beyond your personal edge.  Without the breath, there is no yoga.  It is just sweaty calisthenics in a hot room.  It can be hard to learn in the beginning, but is an invaluable lesson in life.

Stay positive, you can do this.  Well into her eighties, Emmy Cleaves is the principal teacher at the Bikram Yoga Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA.  "Live juicy," she tells her students.  "If you're not moving, you're not living."

Will yoga help my athletic performance?

Yoga has many benefits for runners like increased VO2 max., increased flexibility and reduction in incidence of injury.

Running is a sport both loved and suffered by many. Overtime, the constant impact and imperfections in stride will inevitably lead to compression of the spine, tightening of muscles and fascia and common knee, hip and ankle injuries. To extend the life of your career as a runner, yoga is a fantastic complement.

Even runners who stretch devotedly before and after a jog commonly stretch for 5-10 minutes. This does not allow for proper lengthening of the target muscle or time to target each muscle group throughout the body. As the body ages, this tightening will only get worse.

The Bikram Yoga series works every muscle, joint, ligament, tendon, nerve, blood vessel and organ in the body. Chronic problems like imperfection in striking of the foot can be solved by realigning and maintaining flexibility in the hip. Runners, in particular, tend to be very tight. That leads to reduction in the range of motion in the joints. As we age, immobility can lead to painful conditions like arthritis, gout, back pain, knee pain, varicose veins and more. Yoga can help prevent onset of these conditions and allow you to run for many more years to come. Think of your yoga practice as your insurance policy for your golden years.

We have worked with many Ironmen, Ironwomen and marathon runners in the past who have credited yoga with improving their performance, extending their careers and reducing the amount of time lost to injury.

Many commonly reported benefits of yoga include: increased lung capacity, increased flexibility and strength, decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increased VO2 maximum, improved ability to cope with stress, better sleep habits, weight loss, freedom from depression and decreases in pain.

Are your teachers certified?

All Certified Bikram Yoga studios hire only Certified Bikram Yoga teachers.  All of our teachers have a minimum of 500 certification hours.  All teachers are certified at Bikram's Yoga College of India International Headquarters.

To attend the teacher's training, all students must practice for a minimum of six months under a certified teacher.  Upon acceptance to the teacher's training program, trainees attend a nine-week, 500-hour training at the International Headquarters.  The curriculum includes hatha yoga principals, yoga philosophy, yogic systems, yoga therapy, anatomy, physiology, nutrition, pathology, quantam physics and more.  Upon graduation, teacher-trainees must complete a minimum six month internship under a Senior Teacher.

Bikram Yoga teachers are some of the most rigorously trained teachers in the U.S.  We maintain our education with mandatory re-training every three years. At Bikram Yoga Portsmouth, our teachers receive continuing education training every three months.


Commit to 90
Overhaul Your Life
Are you ready to make a change?
Sat, Sept 9th at Noon

with Booie Young
Sat, Sept 16 @11 am
26 with a Twist to Music Register now!

Music Class
Best of 2002
Sat, Sept 30th, 4:30 pm
Monthly Music Party Class.
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Stay and help us celebrate 15 years of hot, sweaty yoga. Food, drinks, yoga pose-off to follow!


Studio is open to the public 30 minutes before and after all scheduled classes, except the early birds. Studio opens 15 minutes before 6:30 am classes.


" I have a cervical fusion and nerve damage between L4-L5. Having tried just about everything for pain relief, I gave Bikram a try. I was amazed that on the days I practiced my pain was significantly decreased. I would not have believed it could happen, but it has..."
~ Denise Age: 58


" If you think you never want to go again, go again. You will find yourself enjoying the class more and more."
~ Monica Age: 17


"I have lost weight and gained muscle. I am a happier person. I used to feel extremely anxious and lacked energy to do the activities I used to love. Not anymore!"
~ Ila Age: 36

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