My good friend and I had a lot of catching up to do as we haven’t seen each other for a long time. When I finally met her last Christmas, the first thing she told me she was already three months pregnant. It was surely a great news and I am happy for her!
And because of this, in her elation, she gave away “as a gift” her Bikram Yoga package to me … and the catch is … for me to finish the sessions. “Yoga? Really?” These are the questions that played in my mind after hearing it. Not because I did not like it nor did not want to, but because I was skeptical to do this kind of exercise considering I’m not as flexible as I used to. All I knew about yoga is that you need to twist, stretch and distort your body. Nevertheless, I felt so blessed by my friend’s generosity.
I find stretching exercises really challenging. Coaches John and Jesse are aware of my somewhat resistance to it. Well, they just don’t know that my imagination is already running wild, seeing some of my bones snapping. Stretching workouts are essential after a rigorous physical training. And, this is the very reason why I tried this yoga thing.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, Bikram Yoga is basically the practice of a set of series of 26 postures done twice each over a 90-minute period in a hot room around 40°C. The heated room is supposed to facilitate safe stretching and help detoxify the body systems through sweat.
I went to my first ever Bikram Yoga session one night early in January this year. When I walked into the studio, I found myself in a waiting area with quite a number of people inside. Most of the participants are ladies though there were also a handful of gentlemen present. Shoes, slippers, sandals, etc. are not allowed so you need to leave them on the rack provided by the studio. It is encouraged to wear comfortable clothes or as little clothing as possible since Bikram Yoga makes you sweat a lot. That’s why it was no surprise at all to see most of the participants wearing something like they’re going for a swim—ladies mostly in bikinis and the men wore only shorts and were shirtless. As for me, I wore sports attire that can either be used for any sport training or running.
I proceeded to the reception area to register. When I told the receptionist I was new, the instructor was made aware of this. After sometime, I, together with other new comers, was given a quick briefing of what Bikram Yoga is and what to expect. One of the few important things I remembered is this: we are not required to do all the poses since we are still new and if ever we feel nauseous or dizzy during the exercise, we only need to relax, focus on our breathing, or, rest for a while then resume whenever we feel ready.
The session started on time. The instructor’s job is to ensure experienced participants are in the front row so that those who are new can follow each pose while she roamed and kept giving instructions the whole 90 minutes. I attempted to do every pose, but of the 26 postures, four postures I found physically tough plus the extra weight I gained specifically in the abdomen area at times, impeded me to perform the right pose. When I started to feel dizzy and nauseous, all I could think of was to quit and not finish the remaining poses, but that never happened. I managed to finish the whole session feeling spent yet cleansed at the same time. I anticipated my body to feel sore the next day, but surprisingly it did not.
In general, I like Bikram Yoga because of its benefits—promotes weight loss, builds flexibility, strengthens muscles, detoxifies the body, relieves back pains, develops good posture, reduces stress, and la la la.
In as much as tried to enjoy or have fun, I didn’t. May be because I find the exercise difficult. It was more of a physical challenge than mental. I find it boring being confined in a room doing the same repetitive exercise. May be I am more of an outdoor person. The good thing about it though, after attending three or four sessions, I noticed great improvement in terms of muscle strength and flexibility. Tip: Make sure your body is well rested and hydrated before attempting to do each session. Otherwise, you might end up feeling dizzy and exhausted while doing this intense exercise.
I still recommend you to try Bikram Yoga.