yesterday I went to my first ever Bikram Yoga class. I've been doing plenty of other types of yoga for years, but I had never dared to enter a 105* room with a bunch of near naked strangers before. I had a Groupon for 10 classes for $40, and I figured that it would be a good idea to go when I wasn't hungover. since I stayed in and worked on a paper while all of my friends got shit-tastic at an ugly sweater party, I was able to wake up at 7 am and make my way to the Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh studio in the Strip District.
90 minutes later, I was slick with sweat, thirsty as hell, and feeling pretty good (at least better than my morning-drunk friends).
- the preparation: I had my bag packed and ready to go the night before, and while they recommend not eating for 2 hours before class, I woke up and ate a piece of toast with peanut butter just an hour before class. I'm really glad I did. I'm the kind of person who NEEDS a hearty breakfast as soon as I wake up, and I found myself getting hungry in the middle of the class.
- the studio: I did like this particular studio. they made a point of remembering that it was my first time doing Bikram and constantly commented on how I was doing and if I needed to make any adjustments. the 8 am Saturday morning class was pretty popular, too, and I'm not sure if it would've been any better with a little more room to move around.
- the heat: I actually found the heat really manageable. maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am the coldest person alive with really bad circulation, but other than all of the sweat, I liked being in such a hot and humid room. plus, going outside into the 20* morning felt AMAZING.
- the poses: while Bikram is very similar to other types of yoga, it has 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. I'm not sure if I like this. I could see it becoming really routine and boring after a few classes. or maybe not. maybe you'd just get really good at the poses and move to a higher state of mental being. or something.
- the mental bit: in my yoga practice, I have really started to appreciate the mental break and inspirational thinking that often takes place during a class. I love it when a teacher starts class with a meditation on some wonderful topic and it really takes my yoga high to another level. this was completely lacking in Bikram, and while we all gave a big fat Namaste at the end, I found all I was thinking about was how slippery my feet were. maybe that's a good thing, but I didn't leave feeling like my soul was any more nourished than it had been when I arrived.
- overall: I liked it. it was a good phyiscal workout without feeling too intense. I was starving by the time I got home, too, and not eating a normal breakfast really threw off my whole day. I feel like I ate 6 meals, but I was probably more dehydrated than starving. sweating that much felt wonderful, and I feel like I've gotten all of the beer and cheap wine from the last month completely out of my system.
would I go back?
have you ever tried Bikram yoga? what are your thoughts on the matter?