Not too long ago I tried two different things for the very first time. I Grouponed, and I tried hot yoga. And they were related. I was one of the many people that bought the Groupon for Bikram Yoga Seattle in Fremont, at 1054 N 34th Street. The purchase was nice and easy, I’ll Groupon again. The hot yoga part, well, not as easy.
I should preface this with a few things – firstly, I have never tried regular yoga. Which I am told is a good lead-in for hot yoga, under the concept of “get used to the poses first before adding the deathly heat.” Secondly, I am not trying yoga for fun – I found out this summer that the increasingly bad back pain I feel all the time is due to scoliosis, and yoga was recommended as something that would increase my back muscles to support my spine better.
So what did someone that knows nothing about yoga learn on day one at Bikram? Well, the heat is no joke. The room feels sweltering as soon as you walk in, it’s kept at a toasty 105 degrees. They tell you to bring a towel and lay the towel over your mat – until I went, I didn’t realize why. Now I do – the towel is to keep your sweat mopped up so you don’t slide all over the place. And the towel gets soaked, too. (Gross).
Bikram Yoga is 90 minutes of poses, and if you start to feel ill or dizzy, you are welcome to lie down flat on your back at any time until you feel better. I was actually quite proud of myself that I only had to do that once, and not for very long. The poses aren’t easy – I expected this very meditative, relaxing posture we’d all be in, but its near impossible for most of the participants to perfectly execute any of the poses. You could tell there were just two or three people in the room that were really well-practiced.
The instructors at Bikram were really nice and walked around helping people that were struggling. I admit I was really nervous going into it – I’m out of shape and didn’t want to be a total screw up. But most people in there were regular joe’s, or jane’s, like me and we were all in it together.
I went back a few times and really hope to keep it up. According to Bikram’s Web site, a participant loses betweeen 650 and 1200 calories in a 90-minute session (which is why you should stay very hydrated all day long before you go). The trouble for me is the timing – because the class is 90-minutes, its hard to squeeze it in on a work day or plan it into your daily schedule.
Despite my awkwardness with the poses, sweaty disgusting feeling throughout doing it, and trouble with the timing, I was really proud of myself for completing the sessions. Its a small accomplishment but one that makes you feel great for the rest of the day (after you’ve showered)!