Fit Chic NYC’s Blog

Winter Sweat
February 16, 2009, 6:00 PM
Filed under: Fitness, Yoga | Tags: , , , ,

As a native South Floridian, I’ve developed a healthy appreciation for the sun and more importantly, air conditioning. While used to breaking a sweat, I’ve never been one to willingly endure prolonged sauna-like sessions.

I’ve always been a big fan of yoga and Pilates but the thought of practicing in a heated room of about 100 degrees sounded, well, exhausting. But for some inexplicable reason, since moving to New York City I’ve had a desire to practice Bikram Yoga. So after about two months of staring at the schedule of Bikram Yoga Lower East Side on my computer, I finally decided to get myself to one of their classes.

My first Bikram experience was, interesting to say the least. For those of your unfamiliar with Bikram Yoga, it is a precisely designed yoga series that involves a strict regime of 26 postures performed in a heated room, and according to Bikram Yoga Lower East Side, “it works by something called the tourniquet effect: stretching, balancing, and creating pressure all at the same time to restrict blood flow to certain parts of the body.” The purpose of practicing in a heated room is supposed to help protect muscles, detoxify the body and stimulate heart rate.

After 90 minutes of trying not to drown in my own puddle of sweat, I have to admit that my concentration and form lacked significantly. Between thoughts of running out of the studio screaming and stripping outside in the 30 degree weather, I somehow managed the composure to make it through class. Nevermind the fact that the humidity in the room left me gasping for air, and I ran out of water 45 minutes into the practice, I was also dressed in black capris and a black shirt… big mistake. Each class begins with a specific breathing exercise, which upon first observing, made me feel like I walked into the sacrificial room of a cult. But as the class continued, I noticed this unspoken bond between everyone (or rather a mutual insanity) and it was instantaneously something I desperately wanted to be a part of, and Bikram Yoga became the new skill I wanted to master. The effects of my first class lingered with me the rest of the night as I downed water bottle after water bottle and awoke the next morning to a little present from dehydration – a nice headache.

But that didn’t stop me from waking up early and dragging myself out of bed the next morning to make another class – trust me, it was a true testament to my willpower and for the entire bus ride, I was questioning my own sanity. But it was worth it. I came more prepared today – two water bottles instead of one, and despite my overbearing self-conscious thoughts about my body, I stripped down to a tight tank top and spandex shorts, because of my stronger fear of passing out. Moving through the posses, contorting and twisting my body and embracing the dripping sweat (rather than trying to daintily prevent it) felt incredible and easier than the first time. The last half hour didn’t drag on like before and while my form still needs some work, I found myself in some weird state of nirvana as I left the class thinking to myself “I made it, I really just did that.”

I’ve heard that surviving your first Bikram Yoga class goes down as one of those memorable moments, you know, like your first kiss or graduation. You’ll just never forget where you were, what you wore, how you felt etc. If anyone else has practiced Bikram Yoga I’d love to hear your first experience with the class!


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

It sounds insane !!!!! So besides gaining flexibility, meditation and sweating your butt off, how would you compare this to other yoga classes you have taken?

Comment by lynne

What other formal workouts do you do?

Comment by john

Hi Lynne,
Great question. Check out my response on my next post.

Comment by fitchicnyc

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