When I asked people who had done bikram before what I should expect going into my first class they all said something along the lines of sweat, sweat, sweat and more sweat, and I rolled my eyes. Quite honestly, I thought I wouldn’t. I knew it was meant to be hot and all, but I’m just not a sweaty person and even when I push myself really hard at the gym I tend to stay pretty dry (I know you were all dying to know that). But I knew my pre-emptive smugness was wrong the second I walked into that room. The heat shocked me, hitting like a tonne of bricks. Also shocking was the quantity of almost-nude people (a lot).
I did my class at Britomart Yoga Bikram and they had a rather good deal, $20 for your first three sessions (to be used in a week). The boy came with me (surprisingly I didn’t even have to twist his arm), and we started with a breathing exercise, then worked our way through a serious of 26 poses, and ended with another (this time rather vigorous) breathing exercise. The teacher said that for your first class the challenge should be to simply stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes. And boy was she right – it was a challenge. But not only did I do it, I also made attempts at every single pose (although quite a few of them were failed attempts).
I hated it. For the first 70 minutes. I just sat there getting angry at myself. Angry for not being good at the poses, or not being flexible, or having the sheer idiotic idea of staying in a room that was so bloody hot (40.6 degrees to be precise). But, just as we were drawing to a close, I started to find my stride. I ‘m glad (and think it was well thought out) they give people a few classes for one price, as each time I returned it got better (and I wore less). I have now completed all 3 of my sessions and I’m eager to head back for another asap.
The temperature seemed to vary a little bit from class to class (probably relating to where you are in the room and how many people show for the class). And the last class I attended felt the hottest of them all. I came away feeling completely drained, but I had a huge sense of achievement and a great sore feeling the following day (you know, the one where it actually feels like you did something good for your body).
I would highly recommend giving it a go – and sticking with it for at least a few sessions. I’m a little concerned that it could get a dull, with bikram being the same set of poses every class. But in saying that, I do love the idea of clearly being able to see progress.
I will keep going, and I think the boy might even keep coming too. People who poo-poo it as being not real exercise should just give it a go. And I will laugh at you as you struggle to put your head between your knees as you kneel on the ground pulling your feet towards you with hands so sweaty holding onto your feet is like keeping a grasp on your soup in the shower, whilst trying stop yourself from passing out in a room hotter than a Las Vegas heat wave.
Someone should have definitely have laughed at me. Maybe someone was!