John started going to Bikram yoga this summer. I thought he was insane. I mean, it’s 105 degrees in there. It’s really hot. You get really sweaty. John came home from his first day and told me he didn’t vomit. To me, “not throwing up” should be a given, not an upside. Everyone I told about John doing hot yoga said he was crazy. My dad said John could save some money and just sit in his car with the engine off and windows rolled up. I said John could just practice yoga in our attic – it’s pretty much the same temperature.
John kept going and he really liked it. He also kept bugging me to come with him. I was very hesitant. Bikram yoga is expensive, as expensive as most gym memberships, except all they have is yoga. There are only two studios in San Antonio. Yoga classes are 90 minutes each, which is a long time to spend sweating your ass off.
But I finally relented. He had a pass for a free class, it was a Saturday, we didn’t have anything else to do.
The class itself is hard, but doesn’t seem as hard. They do the poses in a certain order to increase your flexibility and build up to the next pose. And yes, it was hot. But I work out a lot and run outside, and it was no hotter than running outside. Maybe not as hot, because the sun isn’t shining right on your face and making you want to die. I had to stop during a couple of the poses, because I started feeling dizzy. But I drank a lot of water, so I wasn’t feeling too shabby afterwards.
They recommend you come back the next day for another class. And they offer an intro package of 10 days for $20. Drop in days are $14, so this is a pretty good deal, and a good way to figure out if you like it. So I went back a handful of times during the intro period.
Here’s what I like about Bikram yoga:
- It’s the same 26 poses every class. They even have a script they say every time, so you know exactly what’s coming. I’m sure this will get on my nerves after awhile, but for now, it’s reassuring to know what’s going to happen, every class.
- It’s 90 minutes. It’s a long time, but it’s nice to know that as long as you go to class, you’re going to work out for 90 minutes.
- It clears my mind. I’ve done aerobics, yoga, running, dancing, weights, etc. I’ve never really done any kind of exercise where you really do focus deeply on what you’re doing. Or rather, I really focus on what I’m doing. If I’m running, I tend to zone out and think about my day, or dinner, or what I have to do when I get home. Ditto for aerobics, ellipticals, etc. With Bikram yoga, it’s so hot and the instructor’s talking to you the whole time and you’re sweating and trying to lock your damn knee, and there’s really no time to think about anything else. Even at the end of class, I’m usually just thinking about things like how sweaty I am, and how much better I feel.
- I’m more flexible now. Not as flexible as John, who is crazy flexible, but more so.
- The instructors are reassuring. They tell me that I’m doing well, they tell everyone how well they’re doing. They tell you how to modify the posture if you can’t do it. They remember your name.
- It puts things in perspective. Sometimes, when I’m having a particularly bad day, I tell myself, “Well, at least you can do a backbend and Camel.” Even if I can’t do anything else the rest of my day, I can do Camel. I couldn’t when I started, and now I can, and that is not nothing. That is definitely something. Some days, it is the biggest thing I’ve accomplished all day.
And now, John and I have a year membership. So we’re those people you see wearing very little clothes, sweating our way to our cars after yoga class. If you see us, please give us a Gatorade. We’ll need it.