The Only Way is Bikram…

I never thought I would enjoy yoga, I always found it too gentle and it never seemed enough of a workout for me. However my thoughts were to change when I tried Bikram Yoga. 
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, practised in a room heated to 40 degrees at 40% humidity. I had heard and read a lot of reports on hot yoga before trying it out for myself, and must admit before my first class I panicked about how I would cope with the heat. 
On entering the studio, I was aware of the heat but I didn’t find it as unbearable as I had anticipated. The heat loosens the joints and improves the elasticity of muscles which allows for deeper stretching. Sweating is also said to flush toxins from the body. 
I was familiar with some poses from my previous attempts at yoga, and whilst the poses are not challenging on their own, they are made more intense by the heat. During the class my heart was pounding and it was not long before I was dripping in sweat.
I initially started Bikram Yoga in North London, but after hearing that a new studio was opening in Essex (owned by Billi Mucklow from The Only Way is Essex) I decided to take advantage of their 30 days for £35. The studio is beautifully decorated, with enough room for 90 participants in the hot room. 

Photo from www.bikramyogaessex.com

The instructors do not do the postures with the class, they talk through the moves and explain whilst walking around the room. They are a few rules such as you are not supposed to leave the room, no water is allowed until 25 minutes into the class, and beginners should set up at the back of the room (to watch more experienced yogis demonstrate the postures in the front). It is important to be well-hydrated before coming to a Bikram Yoga class and it is not advisable to eat a heavy meal within 2 hours of practice. 
The the end of the 90 minute class, I feel refreshed and energised. I quickly fell in love with this type of yoga, and have been practising as often as I can as I feel it really compliments my running. Bikram Yoga is much more demanding than I initially thought and each posture improves concentration, balance and alignment, it is a challenge to maintain eye-contact with myself in the mirror throughout the class and constantly focus on my breathing. 

Photo from www.bikramyogaessex.com 


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