Disciplines to Obtain for an optimal practice
Apart from the first and last breathing exercises, breathe in and out through the nose. Breathe calmly, smoothly and continually - never holding your breath.
Think about the breath at all times, including when you go into and out of the postures and during the rest in between. This sounds easier than it is - especially during your first few classes, when you are learning the basic mechanics of the postures.
In time your breath control will improve enabling a stronger and deeper practice.
If you focus purely on how far you can go into a posture, you will most likely lose the proper alignment of the posture. Initially, you will look at others in the room and wish you could achieve the same expression of a posture as them. You have to lose these thoughts. As you focus more on the proper alignment of the posture, you may find you cannot seemingly go into the posture as far as you previously did. Don't despair. By doing it correctly, the body will open quicker and you will gain the full benefits of the yoga - it is your yoga, not anybody else's.
When coming out of a posture, bring yourself to a total stillness, with a calm and smooth breath. Don't fidget, move around, or wipe sweat. Fidgeting not only distracts others, it stimulates your sympathetic nervous system, promoting a 'fight or flight' response. This is great when on the rugby pitch or sprinting for the finishing line - but not wanted here. Stillness is the key to gaining a calm and focused mind, your ability to listen to your body and your ability to push yourself to your edge.
A focussed mind is an important part of Bikram Yoga. Though everyone is focused purely on their own yoga, the effect of everyone working together provides an amazing group energy that benefits everyone. Leaving the room is very distracting to others and has a negative effect on this group energy. The more experienced student is better able to be unaffected by such distractions, remaining focused and energised. A less experienced student, who may be having a challenging class, can be easily distracted. For this reason please ensure you visit the toilet prior to class. If you really feel you must leave, then please do so only in between postures. Similarly when you return, please return to your mat in between postures - not during a posture.
Do not come to class on a full stomach. Come to class hydrated - drink about 1.5 litres of water during the day prior to class. You will sweat a lot during class so being hydrated is very important.
If you have any medical conditions or injuries please advise the teacher before class..
Never push yourself into any pain - pain is your body saying 'ease off'. Bikram Yoga is remarkable at fixing injuries provided you listen to your body.