Bikram yoga challenge

Earlier this week I was in a waiting room and saw a flyer I already had at home, for a trial week pass at Bikram Yoga. I’d been meaning to go there for many months now so I took that coincidence as a sign and an impulse to finally do it!

Some background on what is bikram / hot yoga: it’s the practice of a set number and type of yoga poses in a room heated at 38Β°-40Β°C. There’s a really good description incl. illustrations on the studio website.

So I found myself joining the Sunday 12pm class led by Gina. Nothing like a good sweat to detoxify after the night before… πŸ˜‰

The studio room has a pretty different vibe to normal yoga studios: there’s background noise from the ventilation, it’s got mirrors like in a gym, and the floor is of a plastic texture – see some pics below. The teacher doesn’t demonstrate, but is rather a motivator – wears a headset (remember background noise) and speaks constantly to give guidance and pointers.

Also, the informal “hot yoga” description doesn’t disappoint: 10 seconds in the room – before practice! – and I was dripping πŸ™‚

We started and ended with breathing exercises, i.e. pranayama which I must say felt pretty challenging, even more than the poses. Each of the 26 poses is done twice, in the second half also with brief breaks in between.

Personally I didn’t find the poses difficult (also as I generally enjoy heat, and would rather toast in the sun than freeze in the snow), so the trick is rather to hang in there and bear the heat. I did however find it amazing how easily I could go deeper into some poses, especially the second rounds! I’m sure most yogis would appreciate that.

Well, I now have a certificate after my first bikram yoga class and a 7-day pass, so CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! πŸ™‚ I’m committing to maximize my practice in the coming 6 days, and check for myself the claimed benefits of bikram yoga!

I will be adding to this post to reflect impressions from every day of my week-long challenge, so stay tuned!

DAY 1 – Sunday: Loved the 12pm class, really welcomed the sweat, and indeed felt “detoxed” after the 90 minutes. On the less positive side, I never walked slower up the stairs to my place – I was (happily) drained by the time I got home!

DAY 2 – Monday: Went to Beat’s bilingual 6pm class, felt a bit bloated after the work day but bikram fixed me. I’m starting to get the hang of it, as the poses are always the same. Loved the red light in the room before class and then the blue relaxation light during savasana.

DAY 3 – Tuesday: Managed to join Tatiana’s bilingual 12pm class. It required a long lunch break so that was a bit of a stress factor. Also, I’m starting to feel sore in my hips and arms and lower back… yeah, almost everywhere =)) It was a tough class, I won’t lie, but I still managed all the poses and my 2pm meeting, so win-win I guess.

DAY 4 –Β Wednesday: Did again a lunchtime session, and met again Gina, who recognized me from Sunday. Bragged about my 4-day streak =)) I was sore like crazy before class but performance was much better than yesterday. Maybe I’m in THE ZONE? Hehe whatever it is, I do feel quite energetic and productive these days, although daily yoga practice is a significant time investment. Let’s see how long I can / want to keep it up…

DAY 5 –Β Thursday: Rushed for a lunchtime session (this is becoming a habit now!), led again by Tatiana. It was probably my best class yet – yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m in THE ZONE! Got a lot of alignment today to perfect some of my weaker poses and it felt awesome. It’s quite a challenge, squeezing those >2h out of the day to make it to practice but it’s time well spent as I am getting so much energy back. Not sure if I can do another day, due to time constraints, but I’ll certainly be back here soon! β™₯

DAY 6 – Friday: Surprise!!! I made it yet another day! Practiced again with Gina at 12pm, great class in terms of my flexibility but balance was better yesterday. Well, I’ll just blame it on the moon, as usual =) I like how excited Gina and the others were about my 6-day streak and I like the community character of the studio. Now that I know the drill in class, I found myself reflecting on the last few days… see my full review in the next post! πŸ˜‰

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