It has been a week since my gym friends and I started our month-long trial of Bikram Yoga at our local studio and I have three words for you. So. Much. Sweat. I genuinely do not think I have ever produced so much sweat in a single period of 90 minutes in my life.
The first day, I wandered into the studio like a child on their first day of school, not knowing anyone else who as there, where anything was, or what to do with myself. The staff, however, were so friendly I felt at home almost immediately. They gave me a mat and some towels, told me where I could get changed, and showed me where the chill out room was, where, after class, I could go and help myself to some herbal tea…*bonus!*
I stripped out of my regular gym clothes until I only had a sports bra and shorts on -as advised by the brilliant community that is the internet- and went into the room where the yoga was being held. I’m not going to lie, the heat was initially like a warm hug, especially contrasted to the horrid Scottish weather that was going on outside, but after less than a minute of Savasana, I could already feel the pores on my face beginning to leak. I am in no way shy about sweat- I go to the gym every day and being a regular at circuits classes at University for the past year and a half has helped me build up an indifference to sweating all over other people and having to deal with accidentally pressing my hands into a puddle of someone else’s effort. But this was on a whole other level. Having been told to take it easy as it was my first class, but completely unwilling to do that because I’m way too stubborn and wanted to be able to do all 26 poses on my first go, I threw myself into the class as hard as I could and probably lost half my weight in bodily fluids. That is an exaggeration of course, but it genuinely felt like I was showering in my own perspiration. This, if anything, made the whole process much more difficult to follow- even though the whole point of Bikram is to feel the benefits and extra stretch from the heated room and your body getting rid of toxins etc… but there were some poses (such as tree pose which require my foot to grip on the opposite thigh, or the standing head to knee pose in which a firm grip on the bottom of my foot was necessary) that I just couldn’t do… NOT because of lack of flexibility, but because I just couldn’t make my skin grip because of how slick it was!
To me, fitting a 90 minute round of yoga into my daily life seemed like it was going to be such a challenge, especially whist maintaining my usual gym and University routine, but, having gone to the 6:30am classes a couple of times, I can truthfully say I feel more awake for the rest of the day, and getting out of bed a couple of hours earlier than normal meant minimum disruption to my normal life. So far, I have gone to four classes – two by myself and two with a friend, though already, faces have begun to become familiar, and small talk in the changing room has already got less uncomfortable – I am all for talking to new people but being half naked talking to a stranger is something that I still need to work on!
In four classes, I have noticed slight changes in myself, but the main one is definitely how little water I used to drink! Losing so much water through sweating in these classes means a new mindfulness I’ve had to incorporate into my lifestyle to drink more fluids so I don’t pass out in class. In a week, I’ve gone from reluctantly sipping away at a bottle of water a day to drinking a 600ml water bottle four times through throughout the course of a day. In turn, I don’t feel as hungry or tempted for snacks as I did before (because I’m carrying a bellyful of water all the time!) and has definitely helped in trying to stay away from the chocolate!
Hopefully I’ll get my money’s worth this month and continue going to as many classes a week… my friend coming along gives me that extra boost of motivation (because letting people down makes me anxious and therefore I MUST turn up to class) so I would definitely recommend anyone new to any type of fitness or yoga class to join up with a pal!
Until next time,