I completed my month of Bikram Yoga a little over a week ago. I think I’m actually going through withdrawals, so much so that I’m considering getting a membership at a studio in the future. Those rates can be pricey, but I really did enjoy those 90 minutes of hot, humid, sweatiness. My friend accompanied me to many classes and I must say that it was great to have a buddy to struggle along in the class with you. Here’s what four weeks of Bikram helped me realize and the benefits I took away:
- Stop being so self-conscious: In Bikram, you’re in a 105 degree room with a ridiculous amount of humidity in the company of many people. That humidity + temperature + body heat emanating from all of those people….you can only imagine if you haven’t tried a class. The first day, I wore light legging workout pants and my regular gym tank. I noticed that many people were in sports bras with shorts or half tanks, variations of speedos etc. Session by session, I started to strip away those layers. Normally, I would be more conservative but I realized that 1) It’s ridiculously hot and 2) Who cares? Bikram helped me let go and embrace whatever bodily imperfections that I have in my own mind. I started to feel so comfortable in my own skin, and with each pose, I started to see my body in a different light. I was proud of what I have been able to morph my figure into with years of dedication. By the last week, I was rocking my sports bra with light pants/shorts. Sometimes you need a reminder that all eyes are not on you! And even if they are, there’s a beauty in focusing on yourself and tuning the rest out.
BE GHOST; Don’t be afraid to go off the grid: How attached are we all to our phones, lap tops, iPads etc.? I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous and I’m guilty as charged. I didn’t realize how at peace I would feel when I left my phone tucked away in my car for the whole 90 minute session. No tweeting. No Facebook. No Instagram. Just me, all me. It’s a unique thing to get the opportunity to be completely alone with no distractions. I was really able to get more in-tune with myself. During Shavasana, I was able to focus and release whatever issues have been troubling me. I implore you all to carve out some time for yourself each day, away from everything. Whether it’s through a devotional in the morning or some type of meditation. Just give yourself the chance to just be.
- More Flexibility: Since Bikram has ended, I’ve noticed that stretching post workout has been a breeze. I definitely think my range of motion has increased. I’ve started back in my regular yoga class so that I don’t lose that progress.
- Feeling Goooood : I felt amazing. I had the best endorphin highs after Bikram. My stress level felt lower and I loved it. Also, I feel like my skin looked great because of all of the water I was taking in. And, I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination, but my arms look a teeny bit more taut, this also could be due to my overall diet/routine. I did Bikram 3x’s a week in conjunction with my regular workouts.
Thinking about trying Bikram? Here are my tips in a nutshell:
Drink plenty of water in preparation for Bikram because you will be losing a ton of water from your body and you have to stay hydrated. Arrive at your class 15-20 minutes early if time permits so that you are able to select the space in which you want to practice yoga for those 90 minutes and so that you have time to acclimate yourself to the heat. Also, really try and focus on yourself and not so much the heat. This is difficult at first, but it gets easier. Put effort into each pose, even if you feel like you aren’t doing it right. Yoga requires patience and no one is a master in the beginning. And lastly, the instructors always urged the students to never leave the room! Their logic was that during the first sessions, you really are just trying to survive in that 105 degree temperate for the entire 90 minutes so that your body will adjust in future classes. And lastly, bring water and a towel or two! It’s best to bring frozen water because it will melt very quickly and that cold water in that room is heavenly. If you bring regular room temperature water, it’s pretty much boiling by the time you leave. And bring a towel for your mat. Mind you, this towel will be very wet by the end of class so you might want to have a spare for your trip back home. Hope this helps!