Last night I tried Bikram Yoga for the first time and honestly, I loved it. I didn’t know what to expect, but based on some of the reviews I read online (where people mentioned feeling faint the whole class or getting sick after class) I was really nervous. This, combined with the fact that I strongly dislike normal yoga (and find it incredibly boring) left me questioning whether or not this would be the right class for me.
Bikram Yoga is different from traditional yoga, and other hot yoga classes, in that everything is done according to preset specifications. By this, I mean that no matter what Bikram class you go to, anywhere in the world, the room temperature, number and kind of poses, and length that each pose is held for will be the same. Bikram Yoga instructors are all certified through the same program, which ensures that each class maintains consistencies, though different teachers may teach differently.
You can read more about it here, but my experience last night was actually very enjoyable and I plan on going again tomorrow night.
I walked in, registered (my studio has a great special that is $30 for the first 30 days, unlimited), and after putting my things in the locker room, the instructor walked me into the room. I was not surprised by how hot it was; I actually expected it to be a little hotter but the temperature obviously increased when the class started and all of us were moving around. The lights were off and there was soft music playing, and people were meditating or just relaxing before class.
When class started, the instructor turned on the lights, turned off the music, and began taking us through the various poses. The first twelve poses were standing up and the rest of them involved laying, sitting, or kneeling on the mat.
The class was full of all skill levels; there were other people who were at their first class, there were people who had been there only a couple times, and there were others who were experts. Either way, there was no pressure to do certain poses if you weren’t able to or weren’t feeling well. The girl to my left spent a lot of time laying down because she appeared to feel lightheaded, and the woman to my left sat out of several poses due to difficulty. It was a very welcoming and comfortable environment, which is something I normally feel nervous about when it comes to group exercise classes.
I left the class soaked in sweat, but feeling challenged, cleansed, and rewarded. I honestly don’t usually feel this way about a lot of new classes/exercises (for example, I stare at the clock during spinning and actually don’t enjoy it at all), but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’m really excited for the next class. I actually thought about going today but I was sore from it so I figured I’d take it easy today. That was another thing: I was sore when I woke up this morning and I still am, proving what an incredible workout it is if you’re willing to push yourself.
With that, the amount of calories it supposedly burns doesn’t hurt either. I’ve read that it can burn anywhere from 500-1000+ calories a class. My class was 90 minutes and an online calculator told me I burned 1000 calories. While I don’t believe it was quite that many, I do believe that it gave me a solid workout, which is something I didn’t necessarily think was achievable with yoga.
Anyway, I guess that’s about it. It’s definitely something to think about and consider if you’re looking for a new workout or challenge and are willing to shell out the money for it. It’s worth it to do some research before you go in; I knew about the first month deal that I signed up for my looking at the studio’s website and found other studios in the area that offer the same deal.