Bikram Hot Yoga

I signed up for my gym membership at True Fitness months ago but shamefully admittedly I have only been there once, a few days after signup to join one Dance Mania class.

As I had stopped dancing professionally over 5 years ago, my weight has been fluctuating. I ballooned to a chubby Winnie and accepted my size. Recently, I have dropped a lot of weight and would very much like to maintain this. As much as I enjoy the occasional dancing in a sweaty human filled clubbing at Mambo Jumbo @ Velvet Underground, I can’t stand the bad ventilation in the clubs where second hand smoke is unbearable and makes my eyes tear, even as a smoker myself.

I am on track to hopefully quit smoking soon and having attempted it before, I tend to binge on unhealthy snacks when I crave for a cigarette.

In my effort to start being more healthy, finally care for my sporadic back aches and start making use of the gym membership I have been paying monthly for, I decided to go for my first Bikram Yoga class. Brought in the country by True Fitness, I have heard alot about this Hot Yoga class.

Read about Bikram Hot Yoga on Wikipedia here.

Consisting of mainly 26 yoga poses performed in tremendous heat of 41 degrees Celcius added with some additional humidity in the room, this form of yoga is meant to improve your blood circulation to help you relax and work your muscles and release toxins through the extreme perspiration.

First when I entered the room, I cursed myself for taking up this form of Yoga. I have had unpleasant experiences in Yoga from previous gym memberships and I consider myself extremely impatient and unfocus to meditate or sit still or hold a pose in silence. I am more of a cardio, hyper, high impact exercise person. I enjoy dancing, moving around alot and especially my previous kick boxing classes taught me that I enjoy stress relievers like that.

Although the Dance Mania classes allowed me to perform choreography like I used to as a dancer, I also enjoy other classes like Body Combat where I punch and kick and release stress with cardio filled activities on techno music. Although, I have to admit I am afraid of trying spinning. Something to do with the neon lights, intense cycling and yelling instructor.

I was in the room 15 minutes before the class started to let my body adjust to the heat. At 41 degrees and having intense hot weather in KL of late, I wanted to chicken out before the class started. Then, the instructor loaned me a towel (that I idiotically forgot to bring) and he was introduced to me, I felt I need to at least give it a try. I was already turning tomato red and sweating profusely at this point.

I adjusted my hair and workout clothing to adjust to the heat. Silly me to wear a long sweat pants when everyone else in the room are in the skimpiest of workout outfits. Some of them, I would refer to almost as swimsuits. Majority of the ladies are in bicycle shorts and midriff workout tanks, while the guys were in… err… Speedos. 😛 Honestly, that’s how I would describe it. Speedos. Yes, banana hammocks!

I was instructed as a newbie to try to follow the class as much as I can without pushing myself too hard. I would most likely feel dizzy or nauseas. Which I should stop and take a break. I was given free pass to take as many breaks as I can, but advised to try to stay in the room throughout the whole 90 minutes workout session.

Honestly, I was just watching the clock on the wall the entire session. Counting the minutes until the class is over. I knew that there were 26 poses in a session, which was plastered across the top of one of the mirrored walls. So, every now and then, I would glance at it and try to work out which pose I would do and which I would most likely just skip. No guessing here – I indeed took a lot of breaks.

In the first 15 – 30 minutes, I skipped majority of the poses. Partly because I have not exercised in awhile and I don’t intend to push my body that hard, partly because the heat was so annoying that I was feeling nauseas. I followed the instructions of coming with an empty stomach and not eat for at least 2 hours before. In fact, in that 6.15pm class, my last meal was breakfast.

I was glancing across to other people in class. The class was almost evenly split equally by both genders. Which was amazing to me as I assumed that yoga was more of a female exercise – but I was wrong.

There were some really “professional” hot yoga students there. Some of them were flexing and balancing their poses to expertly that I imagined they were either yoga instructors themselves or some sort of gymnast in their day profession.

There were several guys who were sweating so much that the only vocabulary that I can use to describe them is a “leaky pipe”. Everytime in a specific pose, you can literally see drips of sweats dropping from their faces or body parts. It would’ve been rather icky under normal circumstances, but I was “leaking” myself. I see the utmost importance of 2 towels now. One full size one for the mats and one face towels for our body. At some points, I couldn’t hold on to my fingers or body parts to hold a pose due to the excessive sweats.

I was being very stingy with my water consumption. I was replenishing fluids so slowly from my water bottle refraining myself from pouring them all over my face like a commercial or gluggling it down in one go. Now, I also understand the warning to bring a BIG bottle of water and to hydrate well before and after classes.

I survived the class managing possibly only half of the 26 poses I am supposed to do.

I managed to have quick words with some of the students in the class. I learned more about the class and some advise on my next visits and how to concentrate and make the most of the class.

Honestly, I was still sweating through the night even after my long shower. However, I did have a great sleep that night – which was supposedly on of the many benefits of Bikram Yoga.

There’s even a 60-day Bikram Yoga challenge going on at True Fitness where Bikram Yoga fanatics can join. I can imagine the love of this but I can’t imagine subjecting my body, mind and soul to take on a challenge like this that I would likely compare to joining a marathon.

I do love the class. I was very wrong about hating Yoga in the past thinking that I can’t sit still on concentrate. The poses are not really that tough, it’s the heat and endurance that is tougher. I believe that with enough classes, I would be able to adjust myself to the condition and perform all the poses successfully and complete a full class.

I don’t want to think as far as getting myself to be an expert or “professional” like some of the girls are in the class (it’s not worth the competition yet) but my immediate short term goal is to be able to go through a class without constant time counting and screaming to leave the room (inside my head).

If you haven’t tried a class and enjoy yoga – Heck, even if you don’t enjoy yoga (like myself) but would like to give this a try to see if it’s your thing, contact True Fitness to find out about free passes to try a class before you signup for your full membership.

Now, time for me to go shopping for proper attire for my next class! Speedos, here I come! *snickers* Kidding! Kidding!

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