Bikram yoga is where you're doing yoga stretches, breathing and poses in a room heated to 38°C (100F). There's also a light scent... lavendar? cinnamon? sage? tea tree oil? or some floral scent with a grassy/herbal scent.
The yoga, itself, is no more strenuous than other types of yoga. You don't do Sun Salutations, but you do plenty of other poses that you would normally find in a Hatha yoga session, for example. Tree pose, Warrior pose, Cobra pose, etc.
But 90 minutes of that and it feels like a really gruelling workout. I heard that people either really like Bikram yoga or they really hate it. For days beforehand, I was hoping that I could handle it and it wouldn't make me throw up. I really like yoga to begin with, but the heated aspect of it sounded like exactly the type of thing I needed.
I did make it all the way through. And I have never sweat that much in my life. I was completely drenched and everything was soaked through. Yeah, I'm normally a Lazy Slug Princess Supreme, so this was absolutely fantastic.
The instructor almost never stops talking through the whole thing. Like a drill sergeant, only much kinder and gentler, but she still pushed me right up to my limits. It was my first time, so she said that dizziness is normal. If I couldn't keep up or if I got dizzy or nauseous, just lay on my back in the corpse pose. And it was okay to stay that way for the whole time. The measure of success is to make it through the whole session without having to leave the room, regardless of how much or how little I do in the room. As long as you're even in the heated room sweating, I think you would have gotten something out of it.
For an 1800h session, I had a vegetarian sandwich with extra avocado at about 1330h and had lots of water during the day. And I brought a huge 1L bottle of water with me. I sipped on it during the class, but I didn't feel too well after each sip, so I stopped.
I was a bit hungry afterwards and slightly headachy. I finished the rest of my water on the way home, had more plain water at home and I feel better now.
- No jewellery on yoga nights.
- Either just wear flip-flops to work or go barefoot when I get there. Having to futz with shoes and flip-flops is too much.
- I only needed one towel, plus my small face towel.
- Fill my water bottle about ¾ full and stick it in the freezer the night before.
- Wear less clothes. I was wearing altogether way too much clothing... even though I already thought I was nearly naked. Must get actual yoga clothes this weekend.
- Get a yoga mat strap.
- Optionally get a better gym bag.