Those of you who have been following this blog for a while, will know I’ve never really liked yoga. I’ve tried various styles, studios, teachers and even went out and purchased highly recommended Lu Lu Lemon short shorts to drum up some motivation and look ‘hawt’ at the same time. But while my intention is great for the first week or so, and my short shorts loud and bright – I quickly seem to lose interest. I get bored and eventually fall back into my usual gym/sport/cardio cycle. Stretching optional.
Recently however, I’ve had a breakthrough! Namaste bitches! My determination to touch my toes has led me to the door of my local bikram yoga studio.
Bikram yoga. 26 moves, 90 minutes, 40 degree heated room. Extreme sweating that drips from every nook and cranny. It sounds like hell, and it kind of is. But that’s why I like it.
It’s a total mind and body challenge that takes every single inch of concentration. There’s no way you’re thinking about that work project that’s due, your boss or boyfriend when you’re standing on one leg, heart thumping and foot slipping precariously from where it should be. All you can think about is locking your goddam leg (when all it wants to do is wobble), stretching your spine and reaching your toes – all without passing out or curling up into the foetal position on your towel in protest. So in essence, it is 90 minutes of focusing your mind.
Apart from the mental benefits, I’m also starting to see physical ones. I feel stronger, more toned and flexible at the same time. My friends who are embarking on the bikram journey with me have mentioned smoother skin and more energy. In my last class I also snuck in a heart rate monitor, and was pretty flabbergasted to see I’d burned about the same amount of energy as a long run. Winning!
I’m beginning a 4-session-a-week challenge this September, and I’m about 2 sessions in so far. I’ll try to keep you up to date on my progress and how many loads of washing I partake in. (I predict many). It will be a huge struggle, but I’m excited to see how far I can push myself.
Bikram yoga is definitely not for everyone. It’s an intense and tough workout – but one that seems to get me coming back for more. And for someone trying to stick to a regular yoga practice, that’s what matters!
A few hot tips (mind the pun) for first timers.
1. Get to class early and give yourself time to sign up and settle in. There’s nothing worse than being frazzled before you even step foot in the room. DRINK LOTS OF WATER.
2. Don’t be shy – bare some flesh! There is no judging in the bikram studio, and you’ll see all shapes and sizes. Shorts and sports bra are standard for gals, and shorts/speedos for guys.
3. The teachers will memorise your name when you sign up for class, so don’t be startled if they call you out in front of everyone. As a first timer you’ll often get a round of applause for surviving your first session, and a few words of correction/help along the way.
4. Prepare yourself for triangle pose, it’s the worst. Trust me on this one.
Here’s 9 other things you should know about bikram yoga before you take your first class.
Photo from ohmybikram.wordpress.com