My first bikram yoga class

I went to bikram yoga for a little while last year. Hands up who’s been to bikram yoga? So you guys know exactly what I’m about to tell you. For those of you who don’t know what bikram yoga is, it’s like yoga on acid. The first few classes, it’s mental. It’s a yoga class in a heated room, something to do with relaxing the muscles so you can stretch further in the poses. I thought I’d share my first experience of bikram yoga to make you aware of exactly what is involved in this intriguing new exercise class.

All I knew on my first class was that it was yoga in a heated room. Sounds interesting, I thought. I’ll go along for a trial class. Little did I know.

I was in a t-shirt and leggings, suitable attire for a yoga lesson. I entered the room, found a space for my mat and sat down. I noticed everyone else was dressed in barely anything. All the men were just wearing swim shorts, no t-shirts. The women were wearing little crop tops and tiny shorts. It was like being at a swimwear photo shoot.

I was wearing more clothes than anyone else in the room and suddenly was like, ‘What is wrong with these people? This isn’t a fashion parade. Why are they showing off their bodies? Have these people got no discretion?!’

And then the class started. The teacher entered and turned up the heat and for the next hour and a half, I was a complete mess. If you’d have asked me my name, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you it. My thoughts during the class went something like this….

OMYGOODNESS I’M GOING TO PASS OUT! What is she asking me to do with my leg? I think I’ll fall into a heap and disintegrate if I attempt that. Just keep control of yourself, keep control. I might have to sit down. Water! Water! Ok, let’s get involved again, whoops, stood up too quickly! Head rush. Sit down again. TOO HOT! I wish I hadn’t worn so many clothes now. O no, I think that tickling on my elbow is a bead of sweat which has run all the way down there from my armpit. Ugh, there is a sweat patch on my mat where I’ve been sitting. Ok, get up. Doing some kind of twisting leg and arm thing. Try to concentrate on one spot and keep my balance, the teacher is saying. How can I concentrate?! How can I concentrate when I’m melting? I THINK I’M GOING TO DIE! Can you die of too much heat? If no-one has before, I’ll be the first. I feel like I’ve been in here forever. How long has it been? Omygoodness, only 15 minutes. 1 hour 15 minutes to go still. I can feel delirium setting in. I think my brain is actually sweating. I’m starting to fear FOR MY LIFE. I’m being asked to balance on one leg and hold my hands in prayer position. I can barely concentrate on standing up, balancing is asking a bit much, don’t you think? Maybe I’ll just stand here, not fainting, and that will be my main achievement for my first class. Nope, not standing, sitting. I’ve never been this warm in my entire life….

After the class, I left the room, went into the corridor and leant on a window sill, trying to remember who I was. When I eventually stumbled into the changing rooms, I got into the shower, ran it on the coldest setting and stood there with trembling legs, holding onto the wall, trying to regain my composure.

My next two or three classes were similar to this but a little less messy each time. I eventually got to a point where I could go to a class without having to stop and sit down at all and I could still remember my name when I left the room.

For those of you who are thinking of trying a bikram yoga class anytime soon, let this post serve as a warning to you. Be prepared…!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. I am about to try tai chi, a less traumatic activity – I hope.

    Reply

  2. I’ve heard that called hot yoga but have never been. Around here, we could just go outside to get the same effect. Being out in that heat leaves me exhausted and I figure hot yoga would too.

    Reply

  3. […] have been doing yoga on and off for about ten years now, sometimes at home from a DVD, sometimes at classes, sometimes just from a book. So I’m familiar with the yoga ‘scene.’ My friend […]

    Reply

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