Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Benefits of Bikram Yoga - Just Finished my First Class!

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edtion)
Learn more about Bikram yoga
I went to my first Bikram yoga class having no expectations at all, other than the fact that yoga poses were done in a "hot" room, where the temperature was 105 degrees. I'd read about the benefits if Bikram yoga, including cleansing and flushing all systems of the body (which is great for the immune system) weightloss (up to 1000 calories burned in a session!), and increasing muscle tone. I got a good deal on one month's unlimited classes at a new studio nearby so thougth I'd give it a try.

I knew nothing about Bikram yoga before I went except that the room is kept at 105 degrees during the session. When I signed up, I was told my goal for that first class was just to stay in the room, without even worrying about doing the poses! I was also told that I might experience nausea or light headedness. What had I gotten myself into?

What is Bikram Yoga?

While most yoga classes vary the poses each time, Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses, which are never varied. There are also two 2 breathing exercises. Part of the series is done standing and part is done sitting or laying down. Another thing that makes this yoga practice different, besides the set routine of poses which lasts for 90 minutes, is the temperature of the room.

Other differences to someone who had done yoga before is that the instructor stands on a podium at the front of the class and calls out instructions. He or she doesn't do the poses with the class. It's good to hydrate the day before class and before going to class. I didn't do this, I just took water with me. I think I wouldn't have been so tired after that first class if I'd been more hydrated.

Once I went in to lay my mat down, I quickly went back out again and drank a half bottle of water! I'm not a person who loves heat - I hate Texas summers! - and this room was hot! You start dripping sweat the minute to you go into the room. I'd recommend taking two bottles of water with you too, so you can drink freely during class without worry you'll run out. This studio has a place to refill bottles outside by the front desk too.

Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class Vol. 1When I called to ask about the Bikram classes, I was told that all classes at this studio were beginning classes. I thought, since I'd been doing yoga at our local YMCA for a couple of years, I could handle it. Well, I would say most students in the class were more like the advanced students in the Y class. They could mostly all do Standing Bow Pose or the Balancing Stick Pose with only some wobbling. I did notice that pretty much everybody had to stop occasionally and sit or stand to take a break.

Since all the poses are the same each time you go, it is possible to get better at them in a short time. I know at my class at the Y, the poses vary each day, although the types of poses, balance poses, warrior poses, etc are pretty much the same. One thing I like about the Birkram yoga is they emphasize coming to practice daily, while at the Y, there is only a Monday, Wed and Saturday class and I can never make the Saturday class. Going to yoga practice twice a week really isn't enough if you want to get better.

Read more about the Benefits of Bikram Yoga

When that first class was finished, I was drenched in sweat from head to foot and totally drained. Drained but absolutely stress free. I also felt cleansed, as if every toxin in my body had flowed out with the gallons of sweat. And I slept like a rock that night too. I also felt a sense of accomplishment that I'd finished a class and not only that, I'd done all of the poses, at least to the level of my ability, without taking excessive breaks.

Am I going back to Bikram tomorrow? You bet! Stay tuned for updates.

1 comment:

Benefits of Hot Yoga said...

By sweating so much, your body can get rid of unwanted waste materials in your body organs. Therefore, practicing Bikram yoga can make your body organs function better. It also changes your food choices. Bikram yoga practice can reinvigorate the body’s natural processes to long for healthier food options. It helps you become completely attentive of what your body needs and requires.