Bikram Yoga = Surface-of-the-Sun HOT!!!

 

Do you watch ‘The Office’? Do you remember the episode where Michael comes back from his Jamaican vacation, steel drum in tow, and spends the entire episode singing  ‘feeling hot hot hot’ again and again? Ummm, yeah. That is all I could think of last night at my first Bikram class. Nothing, not even living in Texas and spending hours walking in the heat, can prepare you for what it feels like in that room. The heat is just stifling.  I am pretty sure that it felt even hotter for me because I have a thick layer of insulation (re:fat) around my body comparable to a bear getting ready for hibernation 😉 I am sure you already knew that the heat would have been the hardest part of the class – I mean the room is kept at 105 degrees and a balmy 40% humidity level which in and of itself is crazy. Then add to that 90 minutes of yoga and it makes for one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Ever. In my entire life. No joking.

They say that if you can just make it through the entire 90 minute class without leaving the room you should consider it a success and now I understand why. It is hard to handle physical activity in that environment and the thought of running out that door into the A/C definitely crossed my mind a few times. They repeatedly tell you that if you feel dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous to lay down and it is ok if you need to sit out on a posture, which I did. There were times where I felt light-headed from coming out of a position too quickly so I would lay down and there were times were I couldn’t complete the pose so I would lay down and there were times where I felt overwhelmed from the heat so I would lay down. Overall I probably laid down somewhere between 4-6 times and I am ok with that. There was about a quarter of the class that was also laying down so I didn’t feel awkward or embarrassed that I needed to take breaks.

On days that you take a class you are encouraged to stay hydrated. They recommend you drink 1-2 liters of water throughout the day as well as making sure you have water for the class. I drank a ton of water yesterday, easily doubled the recommended amount, and then brought with me a 2.2 liter water bottle of which I drank close to 2/3 of during the class. I proceeded to finish the rest of the 2.2 liters immediately after and then drank 3 – 16 oz. glasses of water with dinner. Holy thirstiness, Batman! After the class all I wanted to do was drink water; Paul wanted to eat. He came out of the class starving and I couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating and what ended up happening was me eating dinner at 8p. Not really a great time to be eating however I still didn’t have much of an appetite so it wasn’t a big meal. The Bikram studio encourages you to take your second class within 24 hours of the first so Paul and I decided we should probably get back there today for class number 2. So, again I am drinking, drinking, drinking as much as I can to help prepare. I don’t think I would have lasted the whole time if I hadn’t.

So, you probably would like to hear about the actual yoga part too, right? Well the class is set up like this; warm-up breathing exercises, yoga routine consisting of 26 poses each done twice (check out images of each here: Bikram Yoga Postures) , and a cool-down breathing routine. I was seriously exhausted after just the warm-up routine and questioned if I would be able to make it through but I took it one pose at a time, with breaks as needed, and when our instructor said ‘let’s give a hand to all the first-timers’ I nearly cried I was so happy to have made it through.  Most of the poses were difficult for me for many reasons. Some of them I couldn’t do because I don’t have the balance to sustain the pose, some my fat belly prohibited me from bending further,  and some I struggled with because I was so sweaty I kept losing my grip. Although I did take breaks I was still able to attempt each individual pose since we do them twice. If I missed the first sequence I would just jump back in for the second. It seemed to me that the order of the poses is set up in a way that the more difficult ones were in the first half so towards the end I was having an easier time maintaining the poses. Paul and I were separated and it was really hard to look at anyone other than the instructor and myself and still keep up but there were a few times where I was able to sneak a glance and saw he was dong quite well with the poses. Bastard! 😉

The whole idea of doing Bikram yoga was intimidating and to make matters worse they recommend you wear as little clothing as possible so not only did I have to battle my anxiety of not being able to physically endure this class I had to battle my insecurities of how I looked wearing teeny, tiny shorts in class. I, of course, was the heaviest person in class by far which is something I have accepted as the norm wherever I go; boxing, Nia, Hoopdance, etc, but this was even more noticeable since we were all pretty much half-naked.  The good thing about Bikram though is that it is so intense you really can’t focus on anyone other than yourself so I never felt nervous that someone was watching me. Even though I am getting better at pushing my fears and anxiety aside I still find that the first time I try anything new I get a little nervous. Now that I have finished the first class all that fear and anxiety is gone and I will go in there, head held high and I will proudly be the fat girl drenched in sweat doing yoga.

Speaking of sweat, have I mentioned how sweaty I was? I realized late last night I should have had Paul take a picture of me so you could see just how sweaty I was.  Maybe today I will remember and if I do I will post it for you to see. I was pretty gross. Everything was drenched with sweat. Everything. When we were walking to the car on our way home it felt like I had just jumped into a pool with all of my clothes on that’s how sweaty I was. You use a yoga mat and you bring a large towel to put over it and that was also soaked with sweat. The instructor told us prior to the class starting that we would sweat a lot but to just let it be, try to get used to having sweat running down your face and body because the minute you wipe it away you are sweating again. I think I did a good job at not wiping the sweat away except for this one time we were on our backs and I had sweat running into my ear and it tickled. I couldn’t handle it- that was pure torture so I had to wipe out my ear a few times.  When we got home Paul weighed himself and he had lost 3 pounds.  That is crazy! When I woke up this morning I had lost 4.6 pounds just overnight. I am sure it was from sweating so much and now that I am rehydrating again I will be back to normal weight soon but still, how crazy is it that we lost so much weight from just one class!

On the drive home we discussed the class and how we felt afterwards. I want to take more classes before I tell you my opinion on Bikram and whether or not it will be something I continue doing as I do not think my first experience will be enough to form an opinion off of. It is also hard for me being at a different yoga studio with different instructors but I think in time I will acclimate to this new studio. I will say this though; we both felt the class was aggressive, for lack of a better word. Our instructor was like a tiny yoga dictator barking at us to push further, harder and that it should hurt (really, it should hurt? That doesn’t seem right) and although I don’t think she meant to be this way, she was quite intimidating- in class. Outside of class she was very friendly and supportive and walked Paul and I through how it would work and how we should expect to feel which was comforting and put me at ease. Oh, and another drawback for me was that there were no modified pose options given, like for beginners, so for me I had to try to complete the advanced poses, not do anything, or figure out somewhere in between on my own because no other ways were shown to us. I am not sure if all Bikram is this way or if it was just this class or studio but I will find out and let you know.

I wanted to share with you some tips, taken from the Bikram Yoga San Antonio website (the studio I am taking classes at), in case you are interested in taking a Bikram Yoga class:

  • Make sure you are fully hydrated before taking a class
  • Dress in cool, comfortable clothes (like you are going to the beach)
  • Lay down if you need to but try to stay in the room the whole time
  • Take your second class within 24 hours of your first class
  • Bring a yoga mat, large towel, and water
  • Do not practice on a full stomach. It is recommended you not eat 2-3 hours prior although if you need something  fruits and veggies are your safest bet

I hope this post doesn’t discourage you from going out there and trying Bikram on your own. It is hard, don’t get me wrong, but it is worth it. I said earlier how this was the most difficult thing I have done to date but yet I feel great today. Normally after a tough workout or long walk I am sore and stiff the next day but this morning I woke up and felt better than I usually do which was pretty amazing. I had thought I would have woken up and not even been able to get out of bed.  There must be some merit to the healing power of yoga.  Overall I am so happy to have tried Bikram; I always get an intense level of satisfaction from accomplishing something well outside my comfort zone and yesterday this was how I felt. Trust me; if I can do it so can you!

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Yes, that is a real pin. I received it last night after completing my first class. It’s my badge of honor! 😉

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July 7, 2011. Tags: , , , . Yoga.

14 Comments

  1. Simply Sidney replied:

    Wow, so very interesting. There is something to the power of yoga and the power of sweat too 🙂
    Looking forward to what you have to say after today’s class. You should be dang proud of yourself. Not many people could get through a class like that.

    • Dacia replied:

      They say that even if you sit in the room and don’t do the yoga you still get the cleansing benefits of the heat. It felt good but yes, it is a slow adjustment. Can’t wait to see how tonight’s class goes. Will definitely keep you posted!

  2. jakennicksmomma replied:

    I love when you try out new classes. I always enjoy hearing all about them. I also have a tinge of jealousy that you can go out and try all these new things. You are inspiring! I think I will call the babysitter and see what we can work out. 😀

    • Dacia replied:

      I am glad it inspires you! Keep your eyes open for good deals on groupon or living social- I think that is a great way to try out new things on the cheap. Then paying a babysitter won’t seem too bad 😉

  3. Latina Barbi replied:

    Totally inspiring! I have yet to get the courage to try! Okay after reading yoru post…MAYBE I will try! MUAH!

    • Dacia replied:

      Not maybe! Definitely! You should give it a try! I KNOW you can do it!!!

  4. amysjourneytohealth replied:

    Girl, I know just how you were feeling! LOL It’s wonderful and horrible and sticky and sweaty and exhilerating and exhausting all at the same time! 🙂 You EARNED that pin for sure! 🙂

    • Dacia replied:

      Did the class you went to show you modified poses?

  5. yerttle replied:

    Wow! That certainly sounds like an adventure…and how COOL is it that Paul got to go with you? I love it when the Hubby and I get to do things like that. …even if its borderline torture…

    Also, I think you’ve got a great attitude. I’ve been the “big girl” in classes before, it sucks, and I know for a fact that I didn’t have your positive attitude. You’re working hard, you showed up, and that’s all that matters. You GO, girl!

    (also, terribly ironic: I read this post while under the forced hydration program of my PA hubby. I over-did it today, didn’t pee for 9! hours and he was standing over me with his aid bag and IV supplies…reading about your surface of the sun hot did not help me cool down. ) 🙂

    • Dacia replied:

      Thanks! I am glad Paul comes with me to stuff now. He joined my boxing gym too and is going to join the synergy studio soon, probably after our ten Bikram classes. It will be good for us to do things together but we won’t be going to the same classes everyday. He’ll be doing more boxing than me and I will be doing more stuff at synergy than him.

      Yerttle, you need to stay hydrated and don’t over do it! You can be fearless but don’t be reckless! Do you have a camelback?

  6. Tamara replied:

    I pass by a Hot Yoga place on my way to and from work each day. Here in Korea, they (yoga places in general) are pretty common. The last time I was in my hometown, I saw a Bikram place near my house. Maybe I will check it out finally when I get home next month. Way to kick the “hotter-than-the-sun” yoga’s butt! 🙂

    • Dacia replied:

      Thanks! Where is home? Will you be back permanently or just visiting? I highly recommend Bikram, or hot yoga, because the heat is therapeutic. The first class will suck, the second will be a million times better!

      • Tamara replied:

        Albuquerque, NM is home. Yup, we’re moving back for good! I will check it out! If it’s still there, that is… or find somewhere else.

      • Dacia replied:

        Cool. Good luck with the move. I hope to visit NM sometime before I leave TX. Who knows if I will ever be so close to it again.

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