Trying Bikram Yoga is one of the new additions to my Living List. It might seem more of an ‘everyday’ activity than something that is bucket-list worthy, but I’ve discovered that sometimes you need to elevate an act in order to give it attention or priority. This is what happened in this instance. A Bikram Yoga studio has been open in my neighbourhood for a while and despite being curious, and even collecting a brochure, I never joined a class.
I have a few friends who adore Bikram Yoga, but I know a few other people who, after trying it once, vowed never to go again: a pretty polarising experience! I was curious to see what my reaction would be, especially when I started to do a little research. The studio I attended has a ‘beginners’ section on their website and after reading that they discourage people leaving a class once it began, I was worried what I would do if felt dizzy/nauseous/claustrophobic.
On the plus side, I know that my body likes heat; I grew up in warmer, humid weather; I’m a summer lover. I know I keep going back to it but, in spite of all my complications in the lead up, the surprising heat of the day on which I ran the marathon wasn’t really a bother, apart from making me thirstier.
So when I first walked into the hot room, which looks quite similar to the Flickr photograph I used above, and that first blast hit me, I thought ‘Mmm… toasty. This is going to fine‘.
Several poses later, when the sweat began to bead and drip to my towel, it was less novelty and more work. And then at the halfway point, when I had to stop and rest, fighting off a wave of nausea, I began to question the whole thing. That was the point when it was hard to grip my feet or legs – I was so coated in sweat, my hands kept slipping off. There were a few of us first timers, and it was nice to receive a word of encouragement (“You’re doing really well”) from the instructor to keep up confidence. I needed it for 90min.
That was another surprise – 90min! I walked in thinking it would be 60min. That extra 30min made a psychological difference. Not only was I now worried I would fart in front of other people (a constant dread in group exercise classes), but if I had enough essentials, like a full enough water bottle.
I enjoyed it a lot, but I have to say the words, “We only have three poses to go” were magic. Time went fast, and might go even faster the next class now I know what to expect. The following day, I was sorer than I expected to be, especially in the neck for some reason. But the feeling of fresh air once you step out of that room, and the feelings of attunement and accomplishment were terrific. Will I go again? You bet.
By the way – only two people farted. I was one. But, cool, whatever. It happens. See how mellow I am! Thanks, hot yoga!
Red-cheeked from class. And the cold walk home.
Image source: weeklydig