As I mentioned in my last post, I tend to write my posts at night. I do a lot of things at night like writing, exercising, studying, reading, etc. But last night I tried something new, Bikram Yoga, and I slept like a stone. My first Bikram experience left me feeling like I could accomplish anything, and I knew after only a few minutes in that this would be the first of many Bikram classes.
If you’re not familiar with Bikram (hot) Yoga, here are a few of the basics…There are 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, and the room is heated to at least 105 degrees with at least 40% humidity. I went to Yoga 108 in New Orleans, and I’m guessing by the name that their studio is a little hotter than average though I forgot to ask.
I wasn’t sure what to expect so I called before going. I wanted to hear “Yes, you can definitely do it so come try” which is almost precisely what Suzanne, the studio owner, told me. When I arrived (before the studio officially opened) I was warmly greeted by Suzanne, and I immediately felt at ease. And as others came in, I quickly realized that I wasn’t being judged by anyone! Everyone – the owner, the staff, Suki, Felix and everyone else in the studio made me feel safe and welcome.
My goal was to stay in the room for the duration of the 90 minutes, and I did. Though I felt almost nauseated twice, I never considered leaving the room. I took breaks when I needed to and kept going, and I finished strong. I couldn’t do every posture, but Suki (the guide) made it easy (and okay) for me to do what I could do. I did an extra set of tree poses, and I was okay with that.
The coolest thing about my experience, by far, is the way I felt once the class started. For 90 minutes, I didn’t think about the outside world. I didn’t think about dinner or guys or Facebook or the time or even the people around me. I concentrated on breathing and holding my postures. I left everything outside of the warm studio for an hour and a half, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I unplugged from everything like that.
I left (after sitting for about 20 minutes) feeling confident, accomplished and relaxed. Every part of my body was sweating…My clothes were drenched. (I’m not exaggerating when I say that I looked like I had just stepped out of the shower with my clothes on.) I was tired and a little sore (a bit more so today) and ready to try it again (after rest, of course.)
Here’s the thing. Bikram Yoga is incredible, and I would guess that if I could do it regularly, I’d benefit greatly. The studio isn’t close so I could only go twice a week most weeks, and it’s expensive. I already pay for a gym membership and a Weight Watchers membership (over $100 a month,) and a month at the studio would cost more than those combined. If it were next door or just down the street, I’d try to do it, but the cost combined with my frequent travels make it unlikely that I’ll be able to join now.
Over the last few days since I mentioned that I was going to try it, I’ve gotten e-mails, Facebook messages, tweets and comments about whether or not I liked Bikram yoga, and the answer is yes.
I enjoyed my first experience so much! I love the way it made me feel. It challenged me in a way that nothing else ever has, and I can’t imagine how incredible it would be to add it to my fitness routine at least twice a week. I felt like I could fly in that studio! So while I can’t justify going regularly now, I hope to do it at some point. And I hope to do it at Yoga 108. The environment and the people were magnificent, and I can’t wait to drop in for another visit.
Have you tried Bikram Yoga? If so, what are your thoughts on it?