Have you tried Bikram Yoga?
A few weeks ago I tried my hand at Bikram Hot Yoga for the very first time. For the first 15 minutes of standing and breathing exercises, I felt rather skeptical and had a lot of “what did I get myself into” thoughts float through my head. For the next 30-45 minutes of standing/moving yoga poses, I actually enjoyed myself–despite the fact that my sweat was making my hands prune. The last 30 minutes of class bordered on torture–good God it was so freakin’ HOT! But overall, after walking away feeling 10 pounds lighter, cleaner, and refreshed, I’d do it again, in a heartbeat. In fact, I could totally see working Bikram into my crazy schedule. It burns over 600 calories per hour. 600?!?!! Who couldn’t handle that? I know I could!
So I thought.
Just last week, I went back again. OH. MY. GOD. Seriously, I have NO idea how or why, but my second visit to Bikram left me on my ass. To put it to you this way: the first time I went, even though I struggled physically with some of poses, I participated the entire 90 minutes. There wasn’t a thing that I didn’t at least attempt to do. This last time, however, I pretty much sat on the floor for the last 30 minutes guzzling my friend’s water. I felt dizzy every time I moved. I was light-headed. My shoulders ached. My fingers tingled. (And pruned–it only took 45 minutes before they were completely pruned over.) At one point, I just laid on the floor with my head tilted towards the really awkward guy next to me who kept falling with every balance pose, and I just thought to myself, “This must be what it’s like to die.” If I weren’t scared that the instructor would yell at me for disrupting class, I would have walked out. And when I finally was able to walk out, my towel and yoga mat were so heavy from my own sweat that I almost couldn’t grab them. I actually reached for them three times before I could pick them up. Yes,I felt that weak. I dizzily walked to the changing area and sat down. It took about 20 minutes or more of just plain ol’ sitting until my body cooled off enough so that I could actually drive home without fear of fainting.
Why was it so much harder the second time around?
I have a feeling a number of things probably played into my Bikram fail. I wasn’t very hydrated at all. In fact, I probably had 16 oz of water the entire day. I drank coffee all day long instead, and even did a crossfit workout immediately before yoga. Granted, the first time I attended Bikram I also did a crazy workout a few hours beforehand; however, I did rest in between the two and drank LOTS of water and coconut water pre-yoga.
I also think outside factors played a part. Both my friends went with me again and they too struggled much more the second time around. A fourth friend–who goes much more frequently than I do–reported back to me that quite often the evening classes tend to be harder than the morning ones. Apparently the temperature in the room can fluctuate throughout the day as well. So maybe it was hotter?
But if I’ve learned anything from my two very different Bikram experiences, it’s that A) it’s HOT, and B) I’m screwed if not hydrated.
My complaining aside, there’s actually quite a lot of good found in a Bikram class. According to Bikram Yoga Memphis, there are 13 Extraordinary Benefits that anyone can gain through Bikram:
- weight loss
- arthritis relief
- lowered blood pressure
- back pain relief
- skin and beauty health
- decreased blood sugar levels/lowered diabetes symptoms
- stress and anxiety management
- eases depression
- breathing relief (fewer allergy, asthma, respiratory problems)
- balanced emotions
- lower cholesterol
- regulates thyroid
- assists anti-aging/acts as preventative medicine
I know that yoga is good for you and that I should TOTALLY do more of it, but after reading this list, I may have to seriously commit. In the “skin and beauty healh” bullet, BYM actually said that some people may never even need deodorant again. Part of me wants to really test this theory but I assume those close to me wouldn’t like that very much. Who knows?!
Fit & Me also lists 11 positives you should know about Bikram yoga, including the benefits of strength, cardio, and stress relief and happiness–a key factor in what we believe leads to ultimate health and wellness. Get all the tips by visiting the article HERE!
Here are the top 10 things I learned from trying Bikram Hot Yoga:
No time for Bikram in your busy schedule? Check out this awesome infographic from Greatest.com of the best yoga poses to relieve stress! Boy do I need to start studying this one!
Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com