Earlier this year, I tried yoga classes for the first time, but Bikram yoga (or hot yoga) has been on my to do list as well.
If you haven’t heard of Bikram, it isn’t doing a bunch of random yoga poses thrown together in a really hot room. It is a series of 26 specific postures practiced in a room heated to 105ºF with a humidity of 40%. According to Bikram, the postures are designed to systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to 100% of your body, to each organ and fiber, restoring all systems to health.
My boyfriend and I had plans to run a half marathon on Sunday and were looking to fill our schedule for Saturday. A Bikram studio opened “near” me (nothing is near me since I live in the middle of nowhere), and since it has also been on his to do list, we decided to get it done.
It just so happens that this studio was also offering a Groupon last week. Normally, a drop-in class is $18. The deal they were offering was $27 for 3 classes. I also had a Groupon coupon (hehe) for $10 off… sooooo if you did the math already you know that I got 3 classes for $17! That’s THREE classes for $1 less than ONE drop-in class. Sweeeeeetness.
Saturday morning, we woke at 6:30 to put some food in our bellies. It’s not recommended to eat within 3 hours of class. I just ate a banana, because that’s normally what I have in the morning. For clothing, I selected my shortest shorts and lightest tank top to wear to class. By the time we walked into the yoga studio, I was feeling a little overwhelmed after reading and re-reading the “How to Prepare for Class” section of their website a dozen times. I was ready with a 1 liter bottle of water, yoga mat and my phone with the Groupon app for redemption.
First of all, I can’t remember the instructors name… I feel like a douche. Forgive me. Let’s call her “Wendy.” Anyway, “Wendy” greeted us. I told her about my Groupon and pulled up the app to redeem it. We filled out some newbie forms, then “Wendy” went through some tips for beginners. Things like what we do if we feel dizzy, that it’s normal to possibly feel sick, etc. She also said they recommend you come to 5-10 classes before deciding if this yoga is “for you.” It takes time to acclimate.
There was a small locker room to store your bags during class. The front door of the studio is locked while class is in session. Everyone inside is in the hot room, so I didn’t worry about locking up my things. Then I snapped a picture before heading into the 90 minute class.
When I entered the room, my immediate thoughts were, “whoa, it’s hot.” Um, duh. And “wow, I’m thirsty.”
“Wendy” (still feeling like a douche for not remembering her name) asked us to set up our mats near the center of the room so she could more easily keep track of us. There were maybe 10-12 other people there.
The first thing we did was a breathing exercise. It was very awkward and uncomfortable. It’s easier to show than to describe so here you go…
I hated it. It hurt my neck. She counted slowly for us to breathe in and the same to breathe out. I couldn’t hold on as long as she was counting… I felt like I already wanted to quit. I noticed sweat rolling down my legs already.
Luckily, this didn’t last long. We moved into some standing postures.
Here is a chart of all the postures we did…
Some were easy, some very difficult. I’ll just do a recap of memorable ones…
4. Was difficult to get my arms to wrap around each other.
5. My legs are too long to easily grab the bottoms of my feet. My boyfriend and I have the same torso and arm length, but my legs are 3-4 inches longer. Seriously. He said he saw me struggling and wondered how I would be able to do it with my long legs!
11. My leg kept sliding off the other leg from all the sweat. I wasn’t strong enough to be able to hold my bent leg up without putting it again the other.
12. I don’t think anyone went down that low.
16. My legs barely got off the ground. Ha.
21. Trying to tilt my head backward made me really dizzy.
25. I love the spine twist.
“Wendy” left us in Savasana (#13) at the end. She said many like to take up to 15 minutes after class to reflect in this posture. I was just ready to be out of that room, but resisted the urge to run to the door.
Pictures can’t do justice to how saturated my clothes and skin were. My clothes actually left a damp spot on the floor.
There were three showers, I didn’t have to wait too long to clean up.
Enjoyed the detoxifying sweat. I always liked how yoga made me feel, even if I’m not particularly flexible or graceful at it. The instructor was knowledgeable and helpful in adjusting postures. She also made alternate posture suggestions to a woman in the class with an injury, so that was nice to hear. It would definitely take more time for me to be comfortable in that room. I have two more sessions to use before November, so I have a couple more chances to do that.
If you live in the greater Lansing, Michigan area, I certainly recommend Bikram Yoga Capital Area. It was 45 minutes from where I live, so it’ll be a treat to go, not something in my regular routine. The classes are designed for those with no yoga experience, but seem to be challenging for experienced yogis as well (increasing flexibility, stability, etc.).