Ashley Richards

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Bikram’s yoga

February 15th, 2008 Posted in yoga Tags:

So today I took the plunge and tried out a Bikram’s Yoga class. It totally kicked my ass. I’ve always thought it was a crazy concept and it goes against what yoga should be – relaxing and calming. And I was right – sorta. I mean you’re so exhausted afterward that you don’t want to do anything but collapse.  I tried to find some truthful reviews of it before going, but it was all too diplomatic. So I’ll try to be as truthful as possible.

So I got there and the receptionist is super nice but talks a mile a minute. So I tell her it’s my first time ever at Bikram’s and I feel like everyone by the desk turned immediately toward me. One girl even said, “Oh wow, never?” with a hint of a worried tone in her voice. Oh god, what am I getting myself into?

So I pay the $21 drop-in fee. (Ouch – that’s the reason prices aren’t on the website.) Then I get the whirlwind tour, told to grab a spot at the back of the room so I can follow everyone, and directed to the locker room. I strip down to what I think is bare-essentials – capri pants and a tank top – and I’m off to “the room”.

So I was expecting it to be hot – but it really was like a sauna in there. At 105F it doesn’t hurt to breathe, but I can feel the heat in my lungs. I’m beginning to wonder if my 1 towel is enough for the class. And other people have 2 or 3? So I take a regular’s lead and lie down to get used to the heat. Other people start trickling in and I feel completely over-dressed. Most of the women are wearing what is essentially boy-short underware  – there’s no way you’d get me in one of those outfits.  But there are two other ladies in the room that aren’t sticks and are wearing clothes. I’m not alone.

Turns out the girl that sounded worried that it was my first class is the instructor. She points out to the rest of the class that this is my first time and that I should lie down if I feel dizzy or nauseous. (great…now everyone’s looking at me and don’t feel any  more out of place.)

The class is like boot-camp yoga. The instructor fires out each move and how you should adjust your body…and reminds us that it should hurt a bit. (huh? I thought if you did that you wound up hurting yourself) Totally not the sing-song, meditative, all is right with the world instructions at other studios.  This definitely will take some getting used to.

I’m did okay for the first couple flows. (oh you’re not allowed to have water until after the third set. No idea why.) I found that as the poses got harder I needed to lie down more. But I wasn’t lying down for the entire class or even half of it. They repeat each flow twice, and I did at each flow at least once.  There was probably only two that I didn’t do. The poses lead up to triangle pose and then it gets slightly easier, and it’s much easier once the mat work starts. And the instructor was encouraging me throughout saying I was doing really well.

So it wasn’t that bad. The heat is definitely more than my body is accustomed to – my face was bright red for about a 1/2 hour afterward. And it didn’t help that I was sitting underneath the heat vent during the class. You might want to check that before you choose a spot.

I’m going back. I need my ass kicked. But if my stress level goes back up, then I’ll be searching for the old type of yoga.