Hot yoga. Sweaty yoga. Half-naked hot, sweaty yoga (seriously though, I feel like most females wear just some athletic booty shorts and a sports bra). Whatever reference you prefer.
My first time was on Sunday. I went again Monday evening (today, yesterday, depending on how you look at it – whatever) because they advised that you should take your second class within 24 hours to maximize the benefits derived from Bikram yoga. I don’t really know if this is the truth or if it’s just a marketing technique to get you to pay and take more classes. Maybe it’s a little bit of both. But anyway, how do I feel about it? Well, I like it and I dislike it, I don’t love or hate it.
Sometimes, I really dislike it, especially in the middle of class. Some of the poses can be really intense in the 105-degree heated room, particularly when you’re doing poses for 90 minutes. I’ve felt light-headed and faint on several occasions in just one class. I took breaks and breathed deeply when I needed to though, so I survived both times without knocking myself out – thank goodness! And not to mention, sweat is literally dripping from every body in the room – from the elbows, the chin, the legs, everywhere, literally. It’s like the towel on top of everyone’s yoga mat is wet and squishy by the end of class. You kind of really stink afterwards, too.
Other times, I really like it. Like when I finish the class, I feel light (albeit still faint, weary, and exhausted) and refreshed. I mean, you sweat puddles! The toxins have all been pushed out of your pores. And after you take a cool shower, you feel even better! You get a sensation like the runner’s high – except it should be more appropriately referred to as the yogi’s high (there’s a bit of a difference anyway). People have claimed that Bikram yoga has done great things to them such as inspiring a better diet, a quitting of a bad habit like drinking or smoking, and weight loss. Obviously, however, none of these results are immediate (aside from the immediate water weight loss). But I feel like Bikram yoga – like other types of yoga, too – encourages you to lead a better life; it makes you want to live for yourself and to take proper care of your body. It’s so wonderful in that sense.
As for the Pure Bikram Yoga studio itself (not that I’ve been to any other Bikram yoga studio), it was pretty great. I went to their downtown location on Pressler Street near 6th and Lamar. The staff is incredibly friendly; I mean, they are a bunch of yogis. I was cutting it real close on time for my first-ever class. I had only arrived three minutes prior to the start of class and still had to go through the registration process but they were really patient and even encouraging that I’ll still make it for the class. That was TERRIFIC – love them for that. It’s also really great because the instructors really push you but not enough to make you feel like you’re breaking your body; they understand that everyone is at different levels and are completely okay with the fact that you need to do a less intense version of a pose or if you need a break. And if you need water (whew, losing all that body water from sweat!), they get it for you and tell you to keep doing what you’re doing. How nice!
And by the way, in case you’re wondering, there were quite a handful of men in there, too. Some of them really good at Bikram yoga – and others, not so much. There are also women, of course, who aren’t great at it. But hey, that’s the point, Bikram yoga is about acceptance, especially of your own body and taking proper care of it. You should give it a try – there were men and women of all ages (I’d say anywhere from 18-70 years old).
I’ve gotten a really great deal for five classes at Pure Bikram Yoga through Groupon and will continue to use them until I run out. I’ll see if I want to continue after I use them all up – I think I would. As with all things, I don’t believe in the magical “immediate results” hype regarding Bikram yoga but I do believe in the long-term benefits.
Three cheers to spoiling myself this summer: Hip! Hip! Hooray!
Also featured on my other blog, A Socialite Summer.