Hello everyone! What a wonderful day to be alive don’t you think?
I want to share with you an event I experienced the other day. An experience I honestly never thought I would go through. And yet I did. And I survived it.
As my title gives away, I went to my very first Bikram class.
What is Bikram yoga you might ask? Bikram Yoga is a yoga style created by Bikram Choudhury. It’s a 90 minute set sequence of 26 postures and two pranayama exercises all performed in a 105 degree room.
Because of my status as a yoga teacher, I am not allowed to give my opinions to students about other yoga styles and teachers. In addition, I personally do not want to be responsible for turning a student away from a potentially life altering class. “You have to try everything at least once” is my philosophy. It’s that mentality that got me jumping out of an air plane, scuba diving deep in the ocean, going on the fastest tallest roller coaster in the world, etc. It makes life… fun =) Despite that mentality, I’ve never been interested in taking a Bikram class. Something about the heat scares me. No, not something, EVERYTHING about the heat scares me. This Brasilian lady avoids heat and humidity whenever possible. Hence the East Coast living =) Plus it’s no secret Bikram Choudhury is a scandalous individual who has raised more than one eyebrow. Simply put, I rationalized my fear and locked away Bikram into the “never ever gonna do it” closet.
Anyway, I was invited to take a 6am Monday morning Bikram class and although I was filled with fear and apprehension (what if.. I DIED? Ok ok maybe not died.. but puked in front of everyone or some equally horrific situation?) I knew it was something I had to do.
So I called up a dear friend and Bikram lover who prepped me physically and mentally. A few tips she shared that I know made my experience much better was the following:
1) stay very hydrated the day before and before class. Chug water like you’ve never drank water before. If you can, eat cleanly the few days prior to class too. Bikram is all about DETOX! Whatever you put into your body will come out through your pores. The cleaner the inside the better.
2) A good night’s rest is important!
3) Clothing wise you can wear anything from skimpy shorts and sports bra, to caprese and a yoga top. Something that won’t flop around and weigh you down is preferable. I went in with yoga cropped pants and a tank and was fine.
4) Remember that water? Drink more.
5) Bring a towel. Although they do not recommend you wipe the sweat off your body during the practice, you’ll need to lay that towel over your mat in order to not soak your mat with sweat and it also keeps you from slipping.
6) If you wanna know what you’re getting yourself into, check out the official Bikram site to familiarize yourself with the sequence.
7) Eat something light 2-3 hours prior to class. Since my class was so early in the morning I drank half a Naked mango and was fine. Of course it depends on your body and how you function with food in your system. Trust your body!
The morning of the much anticipated class, I woke up filled with excitement. No going back now! I arrived at the studio, walked into the room and BOOM there was the wave of heat I was expecting. I was sweating in 5 minutes just sitting on my mat waiting for class to start. I took a deep breath and set an intention to not resist the heat. To fully open up to the experience. The teacher walked into class and so it began!
By the end of the 90 minutes and 10 buckets of sweat later I realized that Bikram is not really all that different from all other yoga styles. Sure the postures are variations of the hatha poses with different names and sure it’s a bit odd to lie in savasana between every lying down pose. But it’s still yoga. It’s still about the breath. About letting go of ego. About knowing your limit. About letting go of thoughts and being in the present moment.
I managed to get through all the poses without stopping for rest (a miracle if I may say so myself) and afterwards I felt like I lost 50lbs of water weight. Let me tell you, the cold scented towel they give you to put on your face at the end of class was hands down the best part LOL. That and the cool shower that followed it. Granted, I am glad I went through it and I can now tell people I have taken a Bikram class. But the real question is would I take it again? I am not sure. What can I say, I am a vinyasa flow girl through and through. However, I definitely don’t regret it. And I don’t think you will either. Let me tell you, after a Bikram class – I felt like I could take on the world! So if you are a scardy cat like I was – conquer your fear and go for it. If I made it through in one piece, you will too! And let me know how it went =)