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How I survived Bikram Yoga !

August 1, 2012

It had been in news for sometime now. Everyone had been raving about it and I wanted to try it for a long time now. Bikram Yoga or as some people call it ‘The Hot Yoga’ is a form of Yoga practised at high temperatures, which involves 26 postures selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. Though I have attended classes that conform to other forms of Yoga, I never got a chance to try Bikram Yoga. So I decided to give it a shot before I move out of this small town and begin my travelling phase yet again.

Armed with my towel, yoga mat, water bottles and yoga clothes I reached the centre well in advance on a lazy Sunday evening. The instructor was kind enough to give me some tips like “lie down whenever needed because it is your first class, you can come out of the heated room if needed, stretch as much as you can but don’t overdo it and most importantly come back again. The ability to sustain in that heat gets better with time”. Other students knowing that it is my first class provided some more insight in the ladies locker room. Everyone kept saying it gets better with time.

Taking in with all this wisdom, I stepped into the heated room with all the paraphernalia – mat, towel and water. The three most important ingredients of the whole process. I was a bit nervous but at the same time excited that I was going to try something totally new. The class started with a few breathing exercises and instructor had mentioned earlier that no water should be consumed in the first 20 minutes of the class. It is the time required for the body to warm up and refrain some drinking any fluid at that time. The class proceeded from breathing exercises to yoga poses and I could feel and hear my heart pounding it my chest. There were several moments when I felt I will pass out and was very tempted to go out of the room. But I persisted, lied down in between some of the poses, huffed and puffed and made it through the entire 90 minutes of the class.

Some of the lessons I learnt in my first class that I feel would be helpful for anyone who want to try  Bikram Yoga are:

Consumption of the Food:  A regular meal is advisable only a few hours before the class. In case you need to have a snack before going to the class, have it one hour before the class and it should be something small like a piece of fruit, a slice of toast, etc. Refrain from heavy eating a few hours before the class. You don’t want something heavy in your stomach and then the whole energy going into digesting it.

Hydrate: You will be losing a lot of water from your body and it is necessary that your body is well hydrated before the class. The ideal way to do it is keeping hydrating it over a period of time instead of drinking eight glasses just before the class. If you plan to do the class in the evening, ensure that you hydrate over the course of the day. Also, take a restroom break right before the class to get rid of the excess water in the stomach. Again, you don’t want water sitting heavily in your stomach. Ensure that you have a bottle or two with you to hydrate yourself copiously throughout the class. Keep sipping on the water and hydrate consistently.

Perspire: You are going to sweat a lot. A lot ! Even for someone like me who doesn’t sweat much in higher temperatures, I was dripping in sweat in no time. With sweat comes out several salts from your body, hence hydrating the body with an electrolyte solution rather than just water will be appropriate. I plan to take my favorite coconut water for the next class.

Attire: Make sure you wear fitting clothes. Otherwise, you would be concentrating more on adjusting your clothes than achieving zen. Well, I went in my usual capris and t-shirts, but everyone else came in shots and smaller tops, which makes sense considering the amount you sweat. Attire comfortably.

Persist: Stay put. When you feel that you are going to pass out, lie down for sometime. When you want to run out of the room, convince yourself to stay for 10 more minutes, then another 10 and so on. 20 minutes into the class, I wanted to run out of there. But I somehow convinced myself that I can do it after one hour. I kept telling myself that I should stay for atleast one hour and I kept extending it until I completed the entire 90 minutes.

Glow, Glow baby: Watch out for that amazing glow on your face after the class. You will feel rejuvenated and calmer. I am also told that the skin becomes much softer after a few classes. I am waiting for it 🙂

That sums up my learnings from my first Bikram Yoga class. I got a special mention from my instructor for staying inside the room for 90 minutes when even the regular students went out after half an hour. I am glad I tried Bikram Yoga and is definitely going for more classes. The fact that I have to drive 40 miles to get to the class, well it is not much of a pain considering the glow on my face and mind afterwards 🙂

Have you tried Bikram Yoga? Your opinions? Or any new workout that you have tried recently?

  1. this looks so interesting and tempted to try it ! I’ve myself just started with Aerobics and i can say it simply rocks…am enjoying every bit of it ! cheers !

    • Starting a new exercise regime is so refreshing, right? Glad to know you are enjoying it. You should totally try Bikram Yoga if possible ! You will like it !

  2. how is it different from other Yoga ? Any special poses or sequences unique to it ?
    In Delhi in this season, and with power grid collapses , steaminess is an unavoidable part of the picture ..

    • The main difference is the high temperatures and levels of humidity in which it is performed. Some of the 26 postures are different from other forms of Yoga.

      I know, power grid collapses must have been a difficult time for all the people in Delhi. With our hot summers, I believe people in India would have a natural tendency to sustain that high heat.

      Do you practise Yoga?

  3. I am more into kettlebells and lifting but some recovery periods are indeed full of Yoga..

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