I've always been curious about hot yoga. I know being flexible is a good thing. And I know I have grown extremely inflexible over the years. Seeing as I like the heat, I thought, 'hey, wouldn't it be great to feel the good ol' summer heat for 90 minutes, and do some stretching at the same time?' Ha ha. That quickly turned to, 'hey, wouldn't it be great to run outside half-naked and make snow angels in the parking lot?'
I will be honest. One class has not converted me. But the instructors at Bikram understand this. "After my first hot yoga class, I didn't go to another one for two years. And now I'm an instructor," admitted one. "The best thing you can do, is come to another class, tomorrow if possible," she advised.
Heather and I were among a handful of beginners in the class, but most of it was filled with regular clientele of various ages, sizes, and flexibility. The good thing, is that you are so focused on watching yourself in the mirror and listening to the instructor who guides you through 26 movements in 90 minutes, that you don't ever feel intimidated. You do what you can do, and progress at your own pace.
The instructor lets the beginners know that to feel dizzy and nauseous is normal, but to try and ride out the feeling and rest when you need to. I certainly felt nauseous. And I don't think I have ever sweat so much during a workout (indoor cycling is a close second!). Although I can't say I love hot yoga just yet, I am willing to take the journey.
Bikram is offering beginners one month of unlimited classes for $40.00. More information about this particular studio can be found at www.bikramyogabarrie.com. I'm going to give it a try. I will also do some research on other studios in the Simcoe County area for upcoming posts.
What I Learned During My First Hot Yoga Class
- You may not like it immediately. You may even hate it. But don't leave the room.
- Bring a big towel to cover your yoga mat. If you don't you will probably slip and slide all over the place in your own sweat. Not nice. (towels and mats are provided at Bikram for a small rental fee)
- The Bikram web site has a lot of helpful information on it for beginners. Give it a read before you go.
- All of the instructors at Bikram were trained under Bikram Choudhury, a world renowned yoga guru who lives in California.
- Dress for sweat. (And female shoppers especially take note: There is a small boutique in the front lobby at Bikram with some great yoga wear and accessories, so you can work out in style! Not necessary of course, but nice to have the option!)
- If you really do feel like running outside and making snow angels or sticking your head in the nearest freezer, resist. Just stay calm, breathe, and remember, "a warm body is a flexible body."
- Hot yoga reminds you how much your body needs water. Drink water daily and often. (I'm thinking of tattooing this on my forehead).
- Incorporating yoga into one's daily routine improves many aspects of one's life, including (joy!) running.
- Sometimes I couldn't hold a pose for very long, or not at all. That's okay. Improvement will come.
- Give a new class more than just one chance. (And if you have a friend who suggests trying something new, take her/him up on it! Thanks again, Heather.)