We begin every class with pranayama, standing deep breathing. Bikram teaches that pranayama helps prevent respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema and shortness of breath. It also wakens the body, prepares you for your practice and the rest of your day, and helps clarify the mind.
This is one element of Bikram that you may find helpful to incorporate in other parts of your life. For example, if you do other sports a couple of sets of pranayama will warm up your lungs, boost your circulation and help ease you into your workout or competition. It is also helpful if you have trouble getting up in the morning — simply starting your day with some deep breaths can clear your head and give you a caffeine-free boost.
Just remember the proper posture: keep your spine straight, shoulders and arms relaxed, and don’t do anything that causes discomfort.