Bikram Yoga for Newbies

Happy Monday lovelies.  Hope everyone had a fabulously fit weekend.  I spent my first weekend without my hubby since we got married so decided to pass the time meeting as many friends as possible and throwing myself into a new fitness adventure.

I signed up for a newbies introductory offer of 10 consecutive days at my local Bikram Yoga studio. Bikram yoga is a style of yoga carried out in a heated room (105°F / 40.6°C) over a 90 minute class.  It was developed from Hatha Yoga by Bikram Choudhury and it is said that the 26 postures you go through in the class will work every part of your body, giving it everything it needs to sustain ‘optimum health and maximum function’.

I headed to my first class bright and early on Saturday morning with an open mind (albeit a scared one).  I met my friend and we headed inside hand in hand.  We were greeted by a friendly instructor who helped to put us at ease and made sure we had everything we needed to complete the class.  Within a few minutes of stepping into the heated studio the first bead of sweat started to form on my forehead and I instantly knew I was in for a tough 90 minutes.  The class starts off with a standing deep breathing exercise (Pranayama), which sounds simple right? Wrong!  After my first inhale/exhale I felt like I was struggling for air.  At first I put it down to the heat but after more consideration I decided it was due to being out of practice breathing.  It may sound silly, of course we have to breathe to stay alive, but do we really pay attention to it when it is such a natural thing?  No, but we should, especially when deep breathing not only helps increase our lung capacity but it is also such a great, all natural, stress reliever.

After the first of the 2 breathing exercises we were on to our first pose…

…90 minutes and 26 poses later and I had considered puking, fainting, crying and running for the hills…

…however, I had also considered how flexible I actually was, how I had worked hard to try and hold every single pose and every single set and how finally, I am not a quitter and would without a doubt be back the very next morning.  And I was!  Feeling all the more energised and motivated for it.

 

My handy hints for your Bikram class!

  1. Hydrate For obvious reasons make sure you drink enough leading up to your class, either during the day of or if you go in the morning the night before.  Additionally, the more you hydrate before the class the less water you will need during, meaning you will have more time to concentrate on the poses.
  2. Eat 2-3 hours before.  Don’t eat a heavy meal before class as it may make you feel nauseous.
  3. Sip your water.  If you gulp or drink too much water it may also make you feel sick (plus you don’t want to have to relieve yourself during)
  4.  Get there early.  You will need to sign some forms if you are new but also allow yourself time to ensure you are fully ‘in the room’, relaxed and ready to start.
  5. Go in with an open mind – you may think that the deep breathing exercises are boring or the poses are easy, but believe me they aren’t and every single one serves a purpose.
  6. Take breaks.  If you feel light headed or unable to carry on make sure you are breathing properly and sit on your mat facing the instructor so they can see that you are okay.
  7. Don’t walk out. Stay in the room, you will feel better for it and it will get easier next time.

Afterwards…

  1. Rehydrate. Make sure you put all the water you have lost back into your body.
  2. Eat.  Have a healthy, balanced meal.  It is likely you haven’t eaten for a fair few hours and you need to refuel.
  3. Go back within 48 hours.  Your body needs time to adjust to this new thing it’s doing, so the sooner and more often you go back; the more opportunity it will have to do this.

I have to say the classes are quite expensive but they are well worth it.  After my 10 days I will definitely be keeping up with the yoga at my gym & even continuing with Bikram when I am feeling flush.  For me not only will it be a great stress reliever but it will also help increase my flexibility making weightlifting (particularly getting low in those squats) one hell of a lot easier.

If you decide to try good luck and remember if you have any pre-existing medical problems be sure to consult a doctor before you start…

…most of all – HAVE FUN!

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