To sweat or not to sweat, that is the question...

Have any of you heard of Bikram yoga? It is a form of hot yoga, consisting of 26 hatha yoga postures, which takes place in a room at a temperature of 105 degrees fahrenheit (or more!) and lasts 90 minutes. The founder of this very modern form of torture is called Bikram Choudhury (check out his Wiki page). I have been aware of Bikram yoga for many many years, I'm pretty sure certain celebrities love it. 

Well chaps and chapettes, last night i found myself at Bikram Yoga Paris, paying 35 Euros for a pass of 10 days (within this period, you are loaned a mat for free at each session). A colleague had convinced me to join her, so i was not partaking in this craziness alone, i had company and boy did i appreciate that in the class : ) Thanks Ineke! If you looked at us on paper, i'm not sure you would consider us ideal yoga candidates. "Calm" is not how you would describe our general state of mind. And it's not that neither of us is not flexible, but you could say there is room for improvement. For example, Ineke had never done yoga before attempting a Bikram session. Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is how hardcore this lady is! She will never just say "Namaste", expect a "bitches" or some other energetic word to be added! Which i love! I love this energy!!! I personally have 3 disastrous yoga classes behind me: my first one is fuzzy as i tried it at university and never went back, another attempt was at Club Med gym which was rubbish and involved a lot of time in relaxation pose so i never went back to that either, and finally one which was hardcore and made me vow to never attempt it again until i was a skinny minnie, so as you can guess i haven't been back! For me, the challenge of this first class was to just stay in the room for the whole 90 minutes...

AND I DID! The first half i managed with the heat and the poses ok. But perhaps i should have paced myself better and not been so gung ho from the very beginning. As we got to the floor exercises, i threw Ineke a couple of death glares and also tried to communicate so much with my eyes: that i wanted to be sick, that i thought i was going to die, how long was left, why do people do this to themselves, she was more flexible than she realised... All whilst being the colour of a tomato. Unfortunately, my eye communication failed and we ended up talking, which we got into trouble for (sorry Ineke). You are not allowed to speak during the session at all. Anyway, i stuck it out and just didn't do some of the floor poses.

We are going to go back for more of the torture (there has even been talk of getting a membership). This time the class will be in English, so i am looking forward to checking out the vibe of that one. My aim for this next class is to work on controlling my breathing, because i feel it is essential in coping with the extreme heat, as well as allowing you to master the poses. Last night, whenever i was in relaxation pose, i was aware of my rapid heart beat and could not control my breathing and find my inner state of peace. Although I have to say that Tuesday was quite an emotionally charged day for me, so i found that when the class was over and we were in relaxation pose, i actually shed a few tears because i think i was so emotionally stressed by recent events.

Here are some of my personal thoughts and tips in regards to Bikram yoga:

- it is expensive. I think now that Mr. Bikram Yoga has amassed such a huge fortune out of his concept he could afford to try and make it accessible to a wider social demographic. I don't believe it is the same in Amurica, but here at least in Paris, yoga seems to be the "in" exercise. (That's a general statement of course.)
- make sure you are well hydrated going into a class, and always have a 1 litre bottle of water for the class.
- don't push yourself too hard at the beginning. We can't do it all! Set yourself a reasonable target to achieve each session.
- invest in a few pairs of shorts!
- always have 3 towels on you: one for the session, and two for the shower after (boy will you need it).
- invest in an exfoliating scrub: you sweat so much during a session and plenty of toxins leave your body.
- make sure you also hydrate after the class.

I can't wait for Saturday's session : ) for any of you out there who are interested in trying, check out your local centre and have a chat with the staff there. There is plenty of literature about Bikram yoga on the internet, some of which you can probably take with a pinch of salt, but it's always good to have a second or third opinion i think.

Namaste readers X 

How i think i look at Bikram yoga
What i actually look like - a mess