A lot of you may be skeptical about the yoga craze. We know what I’m talking about: the numerous instagram posts and youtube videos about the life changing experience of starting yoga and guess what? I decided to test it out for myself and I thought I should share my experience with you.
So for starters I decided to buy myself a beginners yoga pass to see how it goes. I always think you need to stick to an activity for a good 20-30 days before you can properly decide whether you like it or not so, for Christmas I decided to purchase a 30-day unlimited yoga pass to a local yoga centre. Yes, I actually did it.
As you all know, yoga isn’t just one thing, there are actually many forms of yoga from hot (Bikram) yoga to kundalini. So when signing up to a yoga class make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
So, yesterday I had my first class of Bikram yoga and I’d just like to say it was HARD. I would consider myself physically fit but Bikram got to me. If you think yoga is going to be a walk in the park, think again. I actually felt nauseous and at times felt very faint. For those of you who don’t know what Bikram is, it is a form of yoga whereby you perform a 90-minute class of 26 poses which are performed twice, sandwiched between two sessions of breath work. Bikram yoga is performed in a room that is heated to usually about 40 degrees Celcius and a 40 percent humidity level. Even being from a country in South-East Asia, these were hard conditions to work in.
Day 1 of Bikram Yoga
When I first got to the yoga studio I had to fill out a form where there were a series of questions about my health which is necessary given conditions in which Bikram is done. One that was done, I got to talk to one of the yoga teachers who gave me a rundown about what Bikram was about etc and then I got a tour of the studio. I would this really helpful because I felt a lot more comfortable as everyone seemed very easy going. I quickly got changed and entered the yoga studio.
The yoga studio was already heated when I got in but it wasn’t as humid as I thought it would be. I put out my mat and did the usual yoga hoodoo before class. If you’ve never done any sort of yoga before, make as little noise as possible once you enter the studio. Everyone will be trying to get into their zen and if you start trying to chat during class it might distract them. Don’t be afraid of following someone else. It doesn’t make you look dumb so don’t worry. Once the class started, the yoga teacher called out the new comers and welcomed us to our first session (which I thought was super cute).
We first started with breathing work which was quite strangely calming. Quick note, in the studio where I was at and it might be the same at others, after the breathing work you aren’t allowed to drink any water for the next 25ish minutes so do take this into account. Anyways, so after the breathing work we went into a series of standing yoga poses which really worked a lot of muscles in my body. When you try out these poses make sure you don’t push yourself too hard. You should push yourself but do remember that the session is an hour and a half and you need to survive the whole thing. After the standing yoga poses, we went into sitting yoga poses which was when I started getting really dizzy. This is the point where I knew I had to just sit down and just rest for a bit and catch my breath. By this point, I was drenched in sweat and I honestly wished I was wearing just my sports bra and shorts. Yes, it was that hot. The session ended breathing work.
Overall, I’d have to say that Bikram yoga is definitely a good way to workout and to clear the mind. I’ll keep you up to date with the progress that I am making.
I’d like to end with some tips if you ever feel like starting Bikram yoga.
1. Make sure you have all necessary equipment. You will need:
- a yoga mat (obviously)
- a grip-towel or a beach towel to fit over your yoga mat (trust me)
- water bottle (you’ll be sweating a lot)
- face-towel (you will get sweaty)
- light clothing, when I say light I mean shorts and a sports bra, it is really hot (you don’t want to overheat)
- a drink that contains electrolytes like coconut water
2. Don’t be afraid to take a break. I for one find this very hard. I like to keep up with everyone else but honestly it’s no big deal if you can’t. I took as many breaks as I needed to because it is hot in there. The main thing is that you stay in the room. I cannot stress this enough. If possible remain in the room for the entire session. The first step to bikram yoga is to get used to the heat and humidity. If you feel dizzy or nauseous, stop what you’re doing and just sit back and take a break.
3. Hydrate. You have to hydrate yourself throughout the day and not just before your class. You’ll be sweating buckets so make sure you’re well hydrated throughout the day.
4. Get to class early. If you’re a beginner trust me on this one. I was so glad one of my friends gave me a heads up. You need to get to class early because firstly, if it’s your first time you may need to fill out a form etc and you’ll need extra time for this. Secondly, if you’re there early you get to pick out your spot for the class. If it’s your first time this is essential because you want to be at the back. This is so that you can observe people in the front when everyone goes through the poses. The yoga teacher doesn’t demonstrate the poses and so if you’re not familiar with yoga poses definitely stick to the back.
5. Don’t eat 2-3 hours before class. It’s hot and humid and the poses you do aren’t something you would have done before. If you do yoga on a full stomach you may experience cramps, nausea or vomiting especially on certain poses. I did warn you.
Anyways I hope you found this post helpful. If you decide to start yoga I wish you all the best and I hope you enjoy it