Friday, April 1, 2011

Some Like It Hot

On Wednesday night I finally tried Bikram! I've been talking about going for a while and was finally able to. There's a Bikram studio in Nashua just a couple miles away from my apartment, which is really convenient. Gina and I went to the class (it was my first time and her third time).

I didn't really know what to expect aside from the temperature (105 degrees) and length of class (90 minutes). I love the heat, so I figured I'd be fine. I brought two water bottles full of ice water, but only ended up drinking about half of one (since you're only supposed to take small sips a few times throughout class). At my friend Jess' suggestion, I wore capri leggings - she explained that you get so sweaty that your arms and legs are slippery and its hard to hold some of the poses unless you have some fabric for traction. When I got there I told the instructor that it was my first class. He said I only needed to do one thing: stay in the room and keep breathing. (I guess that's two things). That put me at ease because I've never done any yoga before and didn't know how I'd be. 

I ended up doing every position, and although I didn't look exactly like the most experienced yogis, I think I did pretty well for a beginner. It was really hot, but not unbearable. I can tell you this though - I've never sweat more in my entire life. Sweat dripped from every pore in my body and I was drenched.  A couple times I felt tired and wanted it to be over, but never so much that I would have considered leaving. We did 26 positions (twice each) so you don't stay on one position so long that its unbearable...if its hard just suck it up for a couple minutes and move on!

Here's a display of my sweatiness:

Bikram sweat is totally different from running sweat. After a hard run I've very sweaty, sticky, and salty (you can taste it when you shower and the salt runs off your face). After yoga I'm also very sweaty, but not sticky or at all salty. Its a totally different feeling.

After the class I was exhausted and starving. Even though my body and mind was peaceful and I felt like the toxins had been flushed out, all I wanted was a cheeseburger and fries (not exactly meditation food). But I was far too tired to consider stopping for food, so instead I had this:

Mashed potatoes, a "ficken" patty with bbq sauce, and half of the hugest, juiciest grapefruit I've ever tasted. A little while later I had a couple rice cakes with peanut butter. And then I had the best night sleep I've had for as long as I can remember. I woke up feeling refreshed and energized for the day.

The Nashua Bikram Yoga studio has a deal for newcomers - pay $10 for your first class and come back as many times as you want in the next ten days for free (I'm pretty sure most studios have this same deal, at least those in New England). Since I loved the class on Wednesday, I went to another on Thursday after work. I wore another pair of capris and a tank top - both of which were soaked again. There was a different instructor which I liked because they had different styles of leading the class and told us about different benefits of Bikram. The first instructor told us about his life pre-yoga when he smoked and drank and had terrible back and hip problems - after coming to yoga for 1 1/2 years he'd quit smoking, quit drinking coffee, quit heavy drinking of alcohol, has no back or hip problems, is full of energy, and in the process improved his golf game by 10 strokes! The second instructor told us more about the positions we were in and how they improved different functions of our bodies and minds. She also told us that when we start coming to Bikram we may feel tired afterwards (which I definitely did on Wednesday) but that once our bodies have adjusted to it we will leave feeling refreshed and full of energy. There was a noticeable difference in how I felt after my second class - I still had that calm feeling, but I wasn't nearly as tired. And I felt amazing. I don't know if this is possible after just two classes, but I think I'm hooked.

Last night after yoga I made myself a broccoli, homemade meat sauce and mozzarella calzone.

This was good! Lately I've been obsessed with topping my steamed broccoli with marinara sauce and cheese, so this just took that one step further. I think I would have preferred it with plain marinara instead of meat sauce, but it was still good. Pat thinks I'm crazy to have my broccoli with sauce and cheese, and so he opted for a spaghetti, meat sauce and mozzarella calzone.

If I don't hit any traffic I'll be able to make it home for the 4:30 Bikram class this afternoon. I think I'm obsessed! Here are my tips for first-timers:

  • Drink lots of water all day before class, and continue drinking lots after class (I usually drink 12-16 cups of water a day, so this isn't a problem for me)
  • Don't eat anything heavy for a few hours before class, and its recommended not to eat anything at all for 2 hours before class.
  • Bring either a frozen water bottle or a water bottle with lots of ice in it to class (you'll be happy to sip something cold instead of warm when you're in 105 degrees!)
  • Stock your freezer with frozen fruit or all fruit popsicles to enjoy after class - its the most satisfying snack!

Have you done Bikram before? Or other types of yoga? What do you like the most?


  1. We have a Bikram yoga class here in Cayman and you are not exaggerating the amount of sweat a person pumps out during those classes! I literally had a puddle at my feet. It felt incredible tho. It's an amazing anaerobic workout...almost like lifting weights that complimented my spinning regime nicely. Well done and keep at it!

  2. I've taken a few yoga classes before and loved them, but never Bikram. I'll have to keep an eye out for a class to try! Yoga seems to pair really well with running for me.

  3. Bikram is TOUGH!! It makes me super hungry too! I usually just do the hot yoga vinyasa flow now. Its an hour and the heat is between 96-100F.
    Your hard core, woohoo!

  4. I just talked to Whit and she 1) told me about this blog of yours (It's now saved as a favorite!) and 2) that you were trying Bikram yoga! I've been doing it for a few years (though VERY inconsistently!) but it really is the best! You will definitely get hooked. It will be a great compliant to all the running you do. Anyway, I hope to see you soon but for now, I will be following your blog :)

  5. My sister in law loves Bikram. Your review makes me want to try it, but I am still concerned about the heat. I am very sensitive to temperature and am afraid that I would get sick.

  6. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bikram! You most definitely have to be heat tolerant and hydrated!! It helps get the toxins out for a better run too!

  7. I've been wanting so bad to try Bikram but I'm such a wimp when it comes to working out in the heat!! You're a rock star, girl!