Bikram Yoga is Hot

by - Tuesday, February 01, 2011

After a busy day at the office yesterday, dealing with meetings, computer problems, a massive paper jam in the printer and some other chaos, I was really looking forward trying Bikram yoga for the first time with Erin.

I was nervous, but also kind of excited. I wasn't sure how I would hold up in the 105 degree heat for 90 minutes, but I had spent the day chugging water to make sure I was hydrated.

Walking in to the heated room felt nice after being out in the cold winter air, but as we were sitting there waiting for class to start I was getting warmer and warmer.

For those unfamiliar with Bikram yoga, it's a series of 26 poses repeated twice. It's the same exact thing ever week and it's done in a heated room with the lights on. It's not set to music or soothing like you would think of a traditional yoga class. And it doesn't flow gently from one pose to another. You do one pose, then do it again and then move to a new pose. It's extremely rigorous.

That was really different for me. The school of yoga I am trained in is flow-style yoga. I'm used to poses moving from one to the next seamlessly and being a little more zen.

But last night I was working so hard to do the poses and not let sweat drip in my eyes, that I couldn't really focus on the lack of flow.

The 90-minute class actually went by fairly quickly and the heat only felt really overwhelming a few times. The most challenging part was dealing with the buckets of sweat. Every time I had to hold my foot in my hand it would slip. Or sweat would drip in my eyes or I would get distracted by the little sweat balls running down my back.

I don't think I've ever sweat that much even on my hottest, most humid summertime runs. Or maybe I have, but on the runs, the sweat evaporates. In Bikram it just sits on your skin.

But despite the heat and the totally new style of yoga, I left the class feeling surprisingly relaxed and calm, like I would leaving any good yoga class.

Unfortunately my zen was completely shattered when I got to the parking lot and realized someone had parked me in. And unfortunately the owner of said car was not in least bit nice about it and yelled at me for parking in "her spot." It was a open lot with no signs, but she yelled anyway and made me wait a long time until she moved it. I finally had to tell her I was going to call a tow truck if she didn't move her car. That got her quite cranky but finally made her move it.

Much thanks to Erin for waiting in the cold with me and helping me deal with the wacko.

So needless to say, the whole night was an experience. In fact that whole day was a experience, and I'm quite happy Monday is over and Tuesday is here.

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