Stretch and Sweat: Bikram Yoga

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all been having a lovely Valentine’s Day. I thought today I’d bring you a chocolate-less post but then I remembered that I ate this Strawberry Lava Fudge cupcake Saturday night from Georgetown Cupcake (Will got Red Velvet):

Fudge in the middle and the frosting tasted like Breyer’s strawberry ice cream on top. In. Sane.

OK, so this is an almost chocolate-less post (it is Valentine’s Day).

As I mentioned about a month ago, I bought a 30 day Bikram yoga pass and that pass just ended and I lived to tell the tale! I kid. But really, you do need to be prepared for Bikram. Before I go into my re-cap of the classes, let me disclose that everything I am saying is fully based on my own opinion. Also keep in mind that I’ve only taken Bikram at one studio.

So, what is Bikram? Simply put, Bikram yoga is a 90 minute class with a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises. You might have heard people call it ‘hot yoga’ and that’s because it takes place in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees.

In order to have a successful class you should drink plenty of water beforehand and bring a large water bottle to the class filled with ice (if there’s no ice in your water it will get really warm!). You should also mentally prepare yourself to be in a hot environment for an extended period of time; your body will get used to it but tell yourself that you might be uncomfortable until it does.

Other than a water bottle, you’ll need to bring a yoga mat and a towel to lay on top of your mat. You can buy a special towel for your mat but they’re expensive, so I just use a regular towel. In terms of clothing, cotton bottoms are the enemy! You’re going to sweat… a lot, so you can imagine how uncomfortable cotton pants would be clinging to your legs. I like to wear polyester and spandex knee-length capris with a spandex tank top or cami. The studio where I went this past month had a changing room and showers so that people could quick-change after class.

My favorite part about practicing Bikram is the feeling you get about an hour after the class once you’re showered and changed. I always felt extremely calm and relaxed afterward and my body felt great after all of the strength postures and stretching. What I don’t like about Bikram is that the class itself is not very calm but instead requires intense endurance (not that this is bad, just not relaxing) while the teacher is calling out poses and speaking at you throughout. At the same time, I found that I had built up much more endurance toward the end of the 30 days and have definitely carried that attitude over to my other workouts.

Another thing that I like about Bikram is that you are encouraged to think in the present moment. All of the teachers I had would remind the class that the last pose was over, so if you messed up you shouldn’t carry that frustration into the present pose. This is another attitude that I’ve tried to take out of the studio; it’s hard!

Does anyone else have tips for a successful Bikram class? Overall I enjoyed my 30 day pass and might take some more classes in the spring.

On another fitness note, I am officially teaching my own Zumba class at the American University fitness center! Since I got my certification I have been subbing at the fitness center and teaching sororities. The class starts in two weeks and I can’t wait!

-M

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2 Responses to Stretch and Sweat: Bikram Yoga

  1. A Fan says:

    In case you were wondering, why yes I do have several assignments due tomorrow that I haven’t started yet

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