When my friend, Brandi, asked me to join her at Bikram Yoga my first thought was “Yikes! I’d probably pass out!” But I’ve decided this year that I’m going to put myself out there. I want to try new things and challenge myself in ways I never would have before. So instead of running away, I said yes. Even if I go and absolutely hate it, then I can say I tried and move on to the next thing. But really, you never know what you’re going to love if you don’t even try, right? As if it was fate, shortly after Brandi suggested it, I found a Groupon for 5 sessions at a Bikram yoga studio in Calgary and decided now was a pretty good time to give it a shot.
If you’ve been reading my blog you might remember that I get slightly nervous before trying new things. (Check out Pre Race Freak Out Time!) So my next panicked thought was “what do I wear?!?!” (Because you know, that really is the most important question in whatever you are doing.) Since Bikram yoga is done in a room heated to 40.5 degrees C, you know it’s going to be HOT! And you’re going to want to wear minimal clothing. I was told to wear shorts, but me in shorts while working out with other people…well, I’m just not there yet. So I opted for the capris and tank.
They told us to drink plenty of water the day of class. So I nervously downed about 5L. I think that’s the most I’ve ever peed in one day. I kind of felt like I was pregnant again with all those trips to the bathroom. But man was I hydrated! 🙂
When we got to the yoga studio the first thing we noticed were the front doors dripping in condensation. Hmmm, a lovely sign of what was to come. The friendly staff directed us where to go but after seeing that door I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the voice in my head saying “What the heck did I get myself into?!” Good thing Brandi was listening.
We opened the sliding doors and walked in. Immediately I was hit with the heat wave. What I wasn’t expecting was a dark room where everyone was laying down quietly on their mats not making a sound. Not going to lie, I felt a little awkward and out-of-place. It looked like I walked into nap time at the yoga studio. I probably would have turned around and walked out had I not been with Brandi, but she seemed to know what she was doing so I just followed her lead.
We laid down on our mats in the dark and the heat for what seemed like an eternity. Again, not knowing what to expect I was very unsure of how long we were supposed to be laying there. I kept telling myself that I was on a beach in Mexico and tried to just enjoy the heat and relax. But I was still feeling pretty awkward and wasn’t sure when everything really got started.
Finally, the instructor walked in and turned on the lights. We soon found out that the front row spots we scored were not the place for first timers and were promptly asked to move. Whoops! We ended up right behind an old guy which midway through the class I nicknamed “Sir Fartsalot”. Mental note: next time, pick spot carefully and away from gassy old man in spandex.
Once we got started I was surprised to find out that the instructor just calls out the poses and talks the entire class but does not actually demonstrate the moves. I got used to that and then just started watching the people in the front row because obviously those people aren’t first timers. 😉 It wasn’t too long before I was sweating more than a dog in a Chinese restaurant. Like dripping, puddles of sweat. I had been told you should just sweat away and not worry about wiping as it would help you to stay cooler. I was able to do that thanks to my trusty Lululemon headband which kept the sweat from dripping into my eyes. But the worst part was when we were supposed to grab our feet in certain poses and I just could not hold on because everything was so slippery!
I really wasn’t sure what to think through most of the class and couldn’t decide if I liked it or hated it. But kept reminding myself that it was my first class and the first time in any class is always pretty difficult. Towards the end I was actually starting to enjoy it though and was loving the good stretches I was getting. I sweated, slipped, fell from poses and was pretty confused most of the time. But I did manage to last the whole 90 minutes in the room. And really, as a first timer I’m told that is your goal. So I would consider that a success! I’m looking forward to going for the rest of our sessions and who knows, maybe I’ll become a yogi after all. 🙂
Tell me, what’s your experience with hot yoga? Do you stay away or are you hooked?