Monday, November 23, 2009

A Little Different, A Lot New - Bikram Yoga Review

This is late and I apologize for the delay. Last Wednesday (11/18/09) I attended my very first Bikram Yoga class at Hot Yoga in Albuquerque. The studio is on Central, just a little bit west of I25. I'd noticed it because the side of the building facing Central is nothing but windows, so you can see inside as you drive by, but I didn't realize it was a Bikram studio until I was doing some research on yoga studios in the ABQ area about a month ago. While I've done hatha yoga before - and absolutely loved it - I'd always been intrigued by Bikram, even though I generally (okay, always) hate the heat. For those of you that don't know, Bikram is done in a room that is heated to about 105 degrees and consists of 26 poses done over the course of 90 minutes. Under normal circumstances, that doesn't sound like fun to me, but I'd like to think I can keep an open mind about things and I've been wanting to try this for a few years now.

I got to the studio about 20 minutes early because I wanted to make sure I understood what to expect and how and where to set up my stuff. Luckily, I was able to meet the instructor before class began and she gave me a high-level overview of what to expect and made it very clear that I could leave the room if I felt uncomfortable at any time. Yes, the point of the class is to push your limits, but it shouldn't make you sick or anything like that...after reading some pretty negative reviews on other studios around the country where students weren't allowed to leave the class once it began, I was relieved to hear this.

The room is hot and humid - you'll sweat a ton doing this - but it's not unbearable. It wasn't the relaxing yoga that I was hoping for...instead, I got a serious workout from it, but I really enjoyed it and felt my muscles working. I can understand how people can hurt themselves though if they don't know their limits...it's very easy to stretch too hard in that kind of heat and I can see how you may pull something. We only did a handful (3-4) familiar poses, but I still got a great stretch. I'd gone in with some upper back pain that'd been around for a couple of weeks and my left hip had been screaming at me since my run the night before...it was gone when I walked out.

If you decided to go, a few tips:
- Wear as little as possible. I wore spandex shorts and a running singlet.
- Bring a towel to throw over your mat...you'll need it and it'll reduce your chance of slipping on your sweat-soaked mat.
- Bring a bottle of water and hydrate well before, during and after the class.
- Know your limits before the class. You'll feel like you can twist yourself up like a pretzel, but if you normally can't, don't try it now. It's an injury waiting to happen.
- Go in with an open mind. It may not be for you, but give it a shot and make the decision after the class is over.

This is something that I think I'm going to stick with. I'm not sure I'm going to dive into a monthly membership just yet, but I think I'll go here and there when I have the time. It was fun and definitely not your every day thing.

4 comments:

Angie Eats Peace said...

Good to hear! I definitely want to give it a try.

destinationathlete said...

How cool! This is something that interests me too...haven't heard of any places in our area offering it (darn it) but I'm still interested nonetheless.

TriRunner said...

Sounds interesting. Do they have a website?

Valerie said...

Terie - In the second line, where "Hot Yoga" is green, that's a link to their site.