If you can't get to a Bikram studio, you can do some postures in a sauna, just make sure you turn the heat down to it's lowest setting and crack the door every few minutes. I was living in a pretty disconnected area where this was my only option to practice at my gym, but I had to do it in off hours when noone else was using the space. It was really effective, especially in the coldest stretch of winter.
It is always best to be supervised though, but unfortunately, yoga isn't always affordable and studios are not always accessible depending on where you live.
I'm a vinyasa/hatha teacher. Most of my classes are taught in a room heated to 95 degrees F. I don't recommend practicing in a room lower than 85 degrees F. The temp is starting to drop here in Chicago, and I can feel that my muscles take much longer to warm up than in the summer, especially my hamstrings. I now integrate a cardio session (30-45 min) after my Sun B and some core work to ensure the places where I am working on deeper flexibility (my hips & upper spine) will be adequately prepped. Soon though, I will have to start heating my room with a space heater.
Be careful with your hamstrings, especially, if you are not very warm. NEVER practice deep openings like splits if you haven't had a good warm-up, and try to keep some props around in case you are particularly tight one day. It is always good to listen to your body and commit to you intention through your session. But it is also important to know what you need to strengthen before trying to open it up. Yoga Journal's website offers some good insight as to what postures are prep for deeper/more advanced postures, and from there, you can sort of work your way backwards into figuring out what postures your body needs to bring you to your peak posture.
I practice many forms of yoga because my body changes day to day. On days I am particularly tight or have been training a specific part of my body, I may go to hot yoga or a yin yoga class. When I'm looking for strength I'll go to vinyasa. I have found a few studios that offer acroyoga, and I'm very excited about that.
The asanas are just 1/8th of the Ashtanga path but it is often the place that most people start. Sri Pattabhi Jois was the founder of Ashtanga... there are many resources you can go to learn more about his philosophy and development of the Ashtanga series. One of his devoted students, Kino MacGregor, has amazing youtube videos with posture break-downs. She is just a really wonderful, amazing practitioner. She also has some podcasts on iTunes delving more into philosophy as a practitioner & teacher.
If the philosophy starts to intrigue you, find a copy of the Yoga Sutras and then you'll really be scratching your head. :) But it's great. There is an author, Darren Main, who wrote a nice book called Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic which sort of breaks down philosophy in a way that westerners can relate to.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to message me.
WOW! Thank you both for all of your amazing information! =)
Im definately turning to yoga not only for the fitness side and the want to create nice long muscles...but also to cleanse my body, rid it of unwanted toxins and clear my mind, therefore rekindling with my spirit.
Im just somewhat of a yoga noob i guess and a good friend of mine who is also a personal trainer suggested bikram as she has just started and cannot stop raving about it! =)
I guess one ive tried a few different types of yoga i will know what one suits me and my lifestyle best.
In terms of the heat issue..i was heading in the hot yoga direction as i thought it may help me get into a deeper stretch easier because of the warmth. But yes, access to a properly heated room (even a sauna) is going to be more travel and time that is already hard to find!
Im in the process of putting together a daily routine of warmup - stretches -cool down
just to get my going in the right direction. Any advice for stretches to do at home to improve flexibility?
my aim is to get my splits, im quite determined to get there! =)
Yoga seemed like a fun, cleansing and creative way to get there!
perhaps ill do more research on the different types there are out there and perhaps closer to me!
Hey Pixie have you started partaking in Bikram yet? If so I'd like to know what you think so far.
I take advantage of the free yoga/pilates classes offered at my work but wanted to take it a step further since it's only twice a week. I recently moved and there is a Bikram Yoga College of India within walking distance of my house that I pass by everyday that has sparked my interest. I went on hoopcity to check this group and you had already brought the subject up. Thanks!
p.s. how are those splits working out for you? I'm focusing on the same goal!
That sounds like a good idea. Although it says you dont need prior yoga experience it certainly couldnt hurt.
The money and time is kind of a deal with me too. The first trial month is only $29 then it goes up to $85. I guess my health is worth splurging on though. Plus I work two jobs so I would be going really early or late. I definitely plan on checking it out, at least for the trial month & let you know how I feel about it. :]
I dont know if I could be of much help sharing ideas but I'd love to know your technique. The only helpful tip i've received so far is to take a hot shower or bath before stretching to help loosen you up. Another reason why I looked into Bikram.