Friday, June 18, 2010

Reigniting the love for Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga, commonly known as hot yoga is a system of yoga that was developed from traditional yoga techniques . Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class runs approximately 90 minutes, incorporates a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, and is practiced in a room heated to 40 - 42°C.

Bikram yoga aims toward general wellness and claims the heated studio facilitates deeper stretching, injury prevention, and stress and tension relief. Bikram yoga is claimed to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joint, and organ of the body.

I used to do bikram back in wellington but its been 2 years since I last practiced a class. Perth is sometimes in the 40s outside and I haven't been that keen to do hot yoga to date. However, this evening I was talked into doing a class in the newly opened Scarborough Beach studio. I REALLY enjoyed it but it made me realise how weak my body has got over the last two months without proper training. Time to get back on track I think!!!

Here are the 26 poses practiced in Bikram...I am good at poses 3, 4, 20 and 25. I really need to work on poses 8, 22 and 24. The rest I am ok at.

Now, rather than going into a long spiel about my experience with Bikram, I'm going to list a few first-hand pointers for those of you who are curious and may be interested in exploring Bikram.

1. Bikram is HOT. I mean really hot. As soon as you open the door to the studio, your face will slam into a wall of hot air. Get to the studio early so your body can adjust to the temperature.

2. You SWEAT a whole lot. Be prepared to sweat a lot. Bikram says that you shouldn't wipe it away either, you need to be disciplined to let the sweat keep dripping.

3. Bikram STINKS. Bikram requires that all studios use carpeting - no wood flooring. Why? Because it's the only flooring approved by Bikram... and because they're crazy. Sweat soaks into the carpet and the smell builds over time. The studio I visited tonight was brand new, so it did not smell.

4. HYDRATION. Drink lots of water before and after your session, but not during. Too much water during upsets your stomach and makes the remainder of the class uncomfortable.

5. Bring a LARGE TOWEL. Lay the towel over your yoga mat, aligning the top of the towel with the top of your mat. This is so it catches your marvelous yoga sweat.

6. Wear VERY LITTLE CLOTHING. Clothes get in the way with Bikram. No large shirts or long pants. They'll be a soaking mess five minutes in. Keep it light.

7. DO NOT EAT for a couple of hours before class. At least nothing heavy. You'll be twisting, turning and flexing those stomach muscles. If you're storing too much food in there, it may want to make an exit.

8. TAKE A BREAK when needed. Seriously, if at any moment you feel dizzy, faint, weak or like you're about to hurl, just sit down on your mat.

9. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. After you're done, relax. Take it slow. Drink a lot of water. Take a shower. Eat something. Go to bed. Sleep.

After today's session, I felt completely wiped out. I also felt like I have removed a layer of residue and toxins from my body. Time for me to start looking after myself a little more again, I miss being really fit and strong.

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