From what I have found so far, you either love Bikram or you loathe it. I first tried Bikram yoga about 4 years ago with my husband when it was relatively ‘new’ and was the latest and greatest fitness fad. I have to admit, it was a struggle. It was really hot, smelly, and hard work. We both walked out of there completely exhausted after spending the last 20 mins of class just lying there meditating in our dripping sweat! I didn’t know if I would return. But last Winter it was so cold in Melbourne that I could not coax myself to exercise outdoors and the idea of being ‘too hot’ in a yoga studio seemed like heaven.
Initially I agreed with a few of my peers and thought that 90 minutes was too long. I spoke to a few people who all wished “if only they did a 60min bikram express”…and at first I tended to agree. Bikram is a big commitment as it is, with travel time, at least two hours out of your day. And for most of us who are time poor, 2 hours is a rather large chunk of our already hectic day (and that’s before we even shower and wash our hair!). However, the 90 minutes you spend in the studio is (once you get into it!) actually quite fantastic. Bikram Yoga is a set routine of various stretching, compression and breathing poses and because of this it means you can pick up a class anywhere in the world. Perfect for travellers like me. (I picked up a class in New York when I was there earlier this year.) It is done in a 38 degree heated room and is designed as a rejuvenating exercise to strengthen your entire body from head to toe. But, as well as that it is a great detox. You literally feel as though you have shed unwanted toxins and excess flab from your body when you walk out. I am sure that a lot of that is water (you are told to be very well hydrated before class and to continue to drink purified water well after class) but there is something addictive and magical about bikram…it’s tough…both mentally and physically as you internally get cross with yourself for not being able to hold your pose for the 30 second count…but each time you go to a class, one seems to be able to stretch that little bit further. As you finish up you find yourself reminding you that it’s not so bad you are already planning your week around your next session.
Have you tried bikram? What do you think?
(Image thanks to http://bellydancingdiva.com)