Lifestyle weight loss

Exhausted, Famished and Convinced That I Can Do Anything (Part 2)

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.

This is the first thing I noticed when I walked in...

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.)

About 20 minutes after the class, my hair was dripping and every part of my clothes (shirt and pants) were soaked!

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?

 

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Deb
    February 10, 2012 at 2:48 am

    Its one type of yoga I’ve never wanted to try, quite simply because when the temp gets to about 80*, I start getting migraines. Add in that anything over 10% humidity is unheard of here unless its actually pouring down rain… Well, I can’t stand that horrible skin-crawling, itchy sensation humidity brings. That’s what happens when you live in a desert for most of your life. You forget how to handle real weather!

    Yoga in a normal temp environment I love and can go on about the mental and physical benefits forever. I used to do it several time a week, but its been a while now. Planning on going to a class Saturday afternoon though at my gym.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it so much, and wish it was more of an option for you to pursue from how you described your experience!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      February 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      Yoga in a regular temp is something I’ll explore more now too..definitely.

  • Reply
    Cathy
    February 10, 2012 at 6:48 am

    Not Bikram, but another kind of hot yoga class. I loved it! The room was hot, but not quite so hot as Bikram. The room was dark and incensed. It was a great experience, just hard to fit in with my other workouts, plus work, and family responsibilitites.

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      February 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm

      I don’t care for incense, but I learned something new. And I like that. I didn’t even know that kind of practice existed…

  • Reply
    Tammy
    February 10, 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! Definitely not for me, though. We call 105 degrees and 40% humidity (probably even more humid!) – June, July, and August! And that is why God invented central air conditioning, IMHO!

    I hope it works out that you can go back on a regular basis!

    • Reply
      Tammy
      February 10, 2012 at 7:06 am

      I forgot to say that one of the directors in my department goes to the only Bikram studio in Memphis 3 or 4 times a week. She says that she isn’t in a good place, if she misses the classes. She called them an addiction!

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      February 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Yes Tammy…I know that kind of heat very well which (I think) made it easier for me to stay in the room. It also makes summers everywhere else feel awesome.

  • Reply
    Grace @ Healthy Dreaming
    February 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I’ve always wanted to try Bikram yoga! What a great recap 🙂

  • Reply
    Half Chinked
    February 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I’ve never tried it but it certainly sounds interesting!

  • Reply
    Carbaholic Mama
    February 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I’ve never tried it but I’m so glad you had a great experience!

  • Reply
    Vicki
    February 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I only go to Bikram once or twice a fortnight if I’m lucky and I am still getting benefits from it. So just try to fit it into your schedule if and when you can.
    So glad you had a fantastic experience 🙂

    • Reply
      Kenlie
      February 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      I will definitely fit it in from time to time. Definitely..

  • Reply
    Tammy
    February 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Your enthusiasm is exciting. Glad you had a great time. I’ve never tried any type of yoga but hope to in the future. At 371 lbs, I am very inflexible and can’t balance as well as I used to. I need to start working on this though.

  • Reply
    Valerie (seattlerunnergirl)
    February 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I’m so glad you liked it, it sounds like as much as I do! And reading about your experience made me decide to find a studio near work or home and see if I can fit in 1-2 classes/week. I just wish it were less expensive!

  • Reply
    Deborah (Schmiet)
    February 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I haven’t tried it Kenlie. I did some yoga years ago, but didn’t get that much out of it I must admit….

    I guess I should try Bikram at some stage.

    Deb

  • Reply
    Tabby
    February 10, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I haven’t tried Bikram and have some concerns about hot yoga in general because the body is easily damaged when it is worked in a hot environment for a long time, or repetitively, but I’m glad you tried it and liked it. Definitely consider trying out the yoga classes offered through your gym if they have them. Practice with different teachers until you find one you like, but vary occasionally because they all have different strengths and styles. I usually do what is billed as “gentle” yoga, but is sometimes anything but. It is taught by a woman who was trained by Ana Forrest; a teacher who came from great physical adversity to her yoga teachings. Now and then I’ll go into one of the other gym classes and do some “yin” yoga which is holding individual poses as deeply as possible for longer pauses, and then moves into vinyasa flow yoga with a lot of sun salutations. If you can do it in a class until you feel more confident, which is good, but you can also get a copy of Yoga Journal and learn how to do a standard Sun Salutation and do it at home every day. It’s a work out if you do several cycles (3, 6, 9, 12 times through each pose), and it’s a good devotional practice to get into.

    I have a lot more weight to lose (I have lost about 40 with more than a hundred to go), but I find yoga very very helpful in building my core strength, balance and general feeling for my body’s strengths and limitations. I’m always happy to read about someone else discovering the joys it can bring!

  • Reply
    PlumPetals
    February 10, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    So very cool!!! I’ve always wanted to try it, but they don’t have Bikram yoga classes here unfortunately! Well done on completing the class — good to hear you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    zmw
    February 11, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Kenlie, I have been reading for awhile but have never posted…until now. I just wanted to say that Bikrams changed my life. I got relief from every health/body issue I had experienced up to the point I started doing it at age 32: a bad back, bad skin, bad posture, extra weight, a feeling of discomfort in my own skin, an absolute loathing for my body – all cured by Bikrams! I have been going for 4 years now, and my entire life and attitude have been transformed by it.

  • Reply
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not
    February 11, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I haven’t tried it but this post totally makes me want to! I’ve done regular yoga but for some reason this just seems so much more intense and I get it in my head that I can’t handle it. Your write up has definitely made me think twice…I’m going to start looking for a studio!

  • Reply
    Bella
    February 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad you liked it as much as I hoped you would! I feel the same way about Bikram. I love it! I can’t afford to go regularly either, but I am planning on buying an unlimited month pass ($165 at my studio) in July, when I know I can go almost every day. Until then, I drop in when I can. Some studios have packages to lower the drop in rate, so I try to take advantage of that when I can, too. Maybe Yoga 108 offers something like that?

  • Reply
    Nina Patricia
    February 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I would love to try it. My friend has tried and swears by it. I would definitely love to disconnect once in a while.

  • Reply
    Carina
    February 13, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Love it! I started a 30 day challenge at the end of Dec., and finished at the end of Jan. I missed a total of 2 days out of the 30, but I did a double once. I saw the comment above about it being addictive and I couldn’t agree more. There is a standing separate leg stretching pose where you choke your throat. It’s a weird sensation and when I was in the middle of my challenge, I’d almost crave it sometimes. I also was completely drenched after class. I’m taking a little break now and am thinking about checking out another kind of yoga next, only 85* but I think I’m always going to love Bikram most. Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts
    February 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I just did my first Bikram class last Thursday and I loved it!!! I loved it so much I went back on Saturday for a second go-round. It is awesome! I love sweating that much, it makes me feel like I am doing something really good for my body. And I definitely noticed a difference in my flexibility between class one and two. This is definitely going to be a weekly thing for me. Glad you loved it too!

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