I’ve been very curious about Bikram (hot) yoga for a while.  I had even gone as far as looking into local studios and researching the benefits of Bikram yoga.  Living in Texas, I am very used to 100 degree plus temperatures.  But I can’t say that I intentionally sit in them or spend an extended amount of time in that temperature.  And I wasn’t quite sure why people would do that (and pay good money to do so).  Well, a studio was recently opened very near my house so I thought I would give it a shot.  After researching the studio, I discovered that it was $20 for a drop in class.  I was able to find a Groupon for 5 classes for $29 so I figured that I might as well do that and see what it was all about.

Here’s a little more about the practice and benefits of Bikram yoga:  Bikram yoga is sometimes known as hot yoga because the room is heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity of 40%.  Bikram is taught by teachers that have passed an intensive training and certification process.  Classes are usually 90 minutes in length and are a series of 26 postures.  The benefit of practicing yoga in this temperature is the toxins that are released through sweat.  It is believed that the increased temperature can lead to improved physical performance.  Many athletes practice Bikram to help improve their body’s ability to absorb oxygen.  Additionally, because blood vessels are dialated and blood flow improves, an overall sense of well-being is created.  Other benefits can include weight loss, enhanced strength, mental clarity, improved posture, regulated metabolism, and improved ability to concentrate.  It should be noted that while practicing Bikram, be sure to properly hydrate as the temperatures can be very dehydrating.  An electrolyte drink such as coconut water is also helpful.

Now on to my experience…  I really liked the studio.  I love the simplicity of a yoga studio.  They had mats and towels available for rental as well as drinks and different products available for sale.  Inside the studio, it was extremely warm but not miserably hot like I thought it would be.  Once class started though, I was almost immediately sweating buckets.  I was already familiar with the poses so I felt comfortable with each pose.  It was a completely different experience practicing in the heat.  Once we got to some of the standing poses, I started feeling a little light-headed and sat down.  With the long winter we’ve had, it’s been months since I sweat like that.  The instructor gave me some coconut water and I felt better almost immediately and was able to join back in.  I know about fueling during a run, but I had definitely underestimated how difficult this class would be.  Next time I will definitely properly fuel before and during class!

Overall, I really enjoyed the class and am looking forward to my next class.  Bikram is something I would like to add to my regular workout from time to time but I’m not sure that I would pay for a monthly membership because I wouldn’t use it enough to justify the cost.

Have you ever done Bikram yoga?  What do you think of it?

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