For those of you who don't know what Bikram Yoga is, it's a type of yoga that lasts for 90 minutes and consists of a set of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. It is practiced in a room heated to 105 degrees with a humidity level of 40% (picture doing yoga in a sauna). You would think living in Texas I'd be used to that kind of intense heat. However, that wasn't quite the case. I have never sweat so much in my life.
I found a Bikram Yoga studio close to my house and decided to pay the $20 and give it a go. I read quite a few reviews online beforehand and everyone I talked to on Facebook and Twitter said they loved it. But I was still nervous going into the class because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to complete the session without getting dizzy or passing out from the heat and humidity. I can also be a little shy when I'm new to a class and feel like everyone else knows what they're doing except for me (anyone else feel this way?). I took everyone's advice and made sure to drink plenty of water before and after class (2 bottles of water before, a gatorade during, and an iced green tea from Starbucks after).
I ended up going to the noon class because I figured it'd be the least crowded and intimidating. Even though I don't have another session to compare it to, I think I was right. There were only about 12 people in my class and they were all middle-aged women (I was by far the youngest one in there...so if they can do it, so can I). When I first walked into the room, I was immediately engulfed in thick, hot air. It was difficult for me to breathe just sitting there waiting for class to start, but I knew I needed to give myself a few minutes to adjust before freaking out.
Before class started, I was already dripping with sweat. The first 45 minutes consisted of upright or standing poses and stretches, which were by far harder than the last 45 minutes, which were seated poses and stretches. Luckily, I never felt like I was going to pass out or felt the need to lie down (which they tell you beforehand is perfectly normal and fine to do at any point during the 90 minutes).
I was also surprised by the mood and tone of the instructor. If you're looking for a relaxed, peaceful setting, Bikram is not be for you. There was no calming, tranquil music and the instructor was more of a drill sergeant type. She didn't even do the poses with us. She stood at the front of the class watching us and gave us scripted instructions on how to accomplish the poses and stretches. That part was surprising for me, because I'm used to a more personal, friendly instructor (like my Aunt Tamie when she teaches Body Pump). But after reading more reviews, I suppose that's common across all teachers in Bikram and just the way it's structured. Very intense, though.
After the 90 minutes passed, my hair looked as if I had just washed it (lovely image, right?) and my tank top had gone from light grey to dark grey, drenched with sweat. I LOVED it. If I know I'm going into something that will be hot and miserable, and expect to sweat, I don't mind it one bit. And that's the whole point of Bikram. I felt so refreshed and rejuvenated afterwards. Just thinking of all of the toxins I released is an awesome feeling....and that's how I felt BEFORE I even showered! After a nice cold shower, my feelings intensified.
I was curious if I would lose any water weight during this experience. I weighed myself this morning and after the class, but seeing as how I had drank almost a gallon of liquid throughout the allotted time, the scale didn't budge. Oh well! It was still a killer workout and great for my back. I feel like my posture is better already.
I would love to be able to do Bikram more often, but at $20 a pop (or $150 for an unlimited month), I'm not quite sure I can afford it.
Have any of you done Bikram before and if so, what was your experience like?
3/6/2013: Miles run - 172.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 827.5 of 1000