Whoa, it’s hot in here.

Date: June 23, 2012

After hearing a few people tell me how much they like hot yoga, I decided to try it out myself.

A Bikram studio is near my house so I spent time reviewing the website and learned that the studio is heated to a toasty 105-degrees and each class consists of a series of twenty-six prescribed poses, always in the same order– an “asana series designed to scientifically warm and stretch muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the order in which they should be stretched.” (From the yoga studio’s website).

New students are advised to wear comfortable, cool clothing, and to bring a yoga mat, large towel, and water.

When I got to the studio, I was asked right away if I was new to Bikram. The fear in my eyes must have given me away. When I confirmed that this was, indeed, my first class, I was greeted warmly, assured that I would like it, and advised that my only goal was to “just stay in the room and don’t feel like you have to do all–or even any–of the poses.” I don’t think they had much faith in my abilities but they were nice nonetheless and I purchased an unlimited 10-day pass for only $20.00. (Individual class sessions are $15.00 so as long as I go at least one more time, that was money well spent).

After changing into running shorts and a tank, I was led to the studio. Yeah, warm. Very warm. After waiting patiently on my mat for five minutes prior to class, I was already sweating.

About twenty other people were also in the class, and our instructor walked into the room, turned up the lights and cheerfully explained each pose and coached us with our alignment and form. If you are interested in knowing what the poses are, they are listed on the website.

My previous experience with yoga and almost two months of Pilates classes have paid off. I felt fairly comfortable doing all but two of the poses–the fixed firm pose and the camel pose. Those are hard!

Nope, not me. Can’t do this one…yet.

All through the 90-minute class, I was surprised at how high my heart rate got and how much I sweated. I drenched the towel that I brought to cover my yoga mat and my hair was dripping wet by the time class was over. And, while that might sound horrible, I really liked it. I’ve been out of class for about an hour now and I feel incredibly relaxed. I also liked the profusely sweating part. It felt cleansing in some new age, zen-like way.

Namaste.

______________________

Update: After attending only six classes, I can do camel and my flexibility has already improved a lot. I’m also convinced that Pilates and Bikram classes were instrumental in helping me shave off almost twenty minutes from my half marathon time! I highly recommend both endeavors.

Update: I’ve now been attending classes twice per week for six weeks. Love how I’m feeling. Co-worker who has also been going has lost twenty pounds and has had blood pressure medicine reduced to half dose. This yoga stuff is amazing.

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