Five Required Poses for Bikram Yoga Competitors

Late last year I was invited to take Advanced Bikram at my current studio. I never, ever, ever thought I would think of being a competitor, but I have been overwhelmed with inspiration as there are many students at my studio that are preparing for the Arizona state regional championships this weekend.

Last year I attended my first yoga regional championship in Los Angeles and was completely in awe of what people can do. I didn’t know they had yoga competitions. While I was in awe of many of the competitors, I was not intimidated. I was just like, okay, cool, so that’s how you do it.

Lately I’ve been wondering what makes somebody qualified to participate in a championship. I used to think championships were just for sports to measure points, speed, or distance. In yoga competitions, they measure focus, shaking, strength, depth, and whether or not you can stay in a pose. It’s not always about how deep you can go. People at my studio in Arizona do the five basic postures to the best of their ability, but they are not fully expressed. After I saw that these people were competing in the stages they were in, I thought, hey, I could do it too.

There are five basic poses you are required to do:

Standing head to knee

Standing Bow

Floor Bow


and Stretching

After you do these five required poses, you can then choose to do any two poses.

So in class lately, I’ve been really trying to focus on the five required poses. I can see now why they are required. These poses are the ones that require strength, focus, and an opened up body at the basic level.

I’m grateful for one of my favorite Los Angeles instructors who emphasizes sucking in the stomach in nearly every posture. It’s ESSENTIAL to do Standing Head to knee, Rabbit, and Stretching. Bow and Standing Bow are really about the kicking.

I trip out in Standing Bow. One of my hips is tighter than the other so I don’t go very deep because I’m always trying to keep my body straight and my knees no more than six inches apart. I want to do the postures correctly.
“Form over depth,” they always say.

So I’m excited and motivated to push myself to do these poses in their full expression. For the longest time, I was just trying to keep my knee locked or suck in my stomach. Now, I’m getting to the point where I know the form, I always work on the form, now I can pour on the depth.
I got my hands full with these five poses. The one I look the best in is Standing Bow, but the rest need work and plenty of practice. Here we go 🙂


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