Bikram classes require bare feet for safety and cleanliness.
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Bikram yoga emphasizes the completion of 26 postures in a particular order in a heated room. According to Bikram philosophy, the heated room allows yogis to stretch more fully because the warmth and humidity relaxes the body's muscles. Because of the heat, you'll want to wear relatively form-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe. Leave your shoes outside the studio; you don't wear shoes during Bikram yoga classes.
Given the intense heat in a Bikram class, bare feet makes more sense than wearing shoes when it comes to safety and comfort. Wearing shoes or socks during a sweaty Bikram class could create slips or falls for students. Additionally, students could become uncomfortable wearing shoes and socks. Bikram yoga's embrasure of the bare foot makes sense from a physiological standpoint. According to Michael Nirenberg, DPM, of America's Podiatrist, wearing shoes too often can be a problem. When the foot is enclosed in a dark, confined space, such as a shoe, sweat generates more freely but has nowhere to go. Old sweat creates bacteria and unwelcome odor. Sweating excessively can lead to athlete's foot, blisters, irritation or infections.
Although many yoga studios feature wood floors, Bikram yoga studios often contain carpeted floors, according to Bikram Yoga Grass Valley/Nevada City. Having carpeted floors can make transitions more efficient, since the carpet's extra padding means students don't have to move their mats around to complete poses from different angles. Rather than move their mats, students can just step on the carpet when necessary. Bikram studios regularly clean their carpets, but it helps that students are barefoot. Wearing shoes during a Bikram yoga class would introduce outdoor bacteria on the carpeted space.
Some yoga classes emphasize flow and movement, but Bikram classes traditionally place great value on alignment. Proper alignment can help strengthen the body and keep it safer. Bikram teachers sometimes use verbal cues associated with the feet to give directions, according to Happy Belly Studio. For example, a teacher might say, вЂњMake sure the heel of your left foot is aligned with the instep of your right footвЂќ in a Warrior II pose. Individuals wearing shoes would not be able to make correct adjustments.
Bikram yoga emphasizes bare feet as part of its larger philosophy, too. Leaving your shoes outside or in a lobby cubby is a metaphor for leaving problems associated with the physical world aside in order to complete a yoga class. It's a philosophical equalizer, democratizing students as they leave their material identities off the mat and explore yoga in a playful, more childlike state.