Bikram Yoga– I Tried It!

One of my biggest priorities when moving to Dallas was to take the next 6 months and detox. I needed to take some time for “me”. As cliche as that sounds, mothers have a hard time doing this. In the never-ending saga of Need that is parenting, mothers know that when they are doing something for themselves, they aren’t doing something for someone else.

For the first couple of weeks here, it was hard to remember that I was supposed to slow down and take care of myself. I’ve been in a constant state of stress and transition for about 2 years, through all the moving, house buying and foster parenting, and it’s definitely taken a toll on me. Someday soon, I’ll work up enough courage to talk more about this and delve into some of the emotional ways in which I’m starting to heal, but for now, I’m going to talk about some of the external steps I’ve taken.

Along with eating 90% raw foods that are not pre-packaged or prepared in any way shape or form, I’ve also taken up yoga! (Spoiler alert– I don’t buy into all the Christian anti-yoga stuff. For the record, no one talked any meditation mumbo-jumbo, and the instructor sounded more like a fitness coach than a “yogi”. They read from a Bikram yoga script, so I don’t think my studio is any particular exception. I think being “mindful” of one’s body and how we are connected to it in a very real way is an enriching Christian principle).

Anyways, I found a fantastic one-month-unlimited deal for only $25, and, along with two friends, I decided to go for it.

The only catch was? This wasn’t just any yoga. It was BIKRAM YOGA.

As in, the room is 105 degrees when you walk in the room, before you’ve started the 90 minutes of intense stretches and poses (27 of them, to be exact).

Walking in the room, in fact, I actually likened the heat sensation to when I’ve stood RIGHT in front of a the hot coals of a sauna, only, that was the entire room. No cold pockets, no breeze. Just heat.  Bikram studios are also supposed to maintain 50% humidity.

And no music, either, turns out. This was no trip down a waterfall through a rainforest being serenaded by Enya. Just the instructor on her headset, clapping her hands for a rhythm or calling out specific instruction to specific people.

It helped that the instructor was there to greet people at the front desk when we walked in. She told me that because it was my first class, my ONLY goal was to actually stay in the room for the entire 90 minutes. Trying the poses was also a good thing, obviously, but completion without giving up is half the battle.

Oh, and the other thing about Bikram yoga? You sweat– a TON. In fact, before the opening breathing sequence was finished, I was already soaked completely, as though I’d just jumped into a pool. Suddenly, it made more sense why they suggest NO cotton clothing whatsoever, while wearing shorts and shirts very similar to bathing suits!

bikram yoga me

Me, preparing to die….

 

So, after the initial breathing exercise, we launched into the poses. The first 45 minutes are standing poses, the second 45 minutes are intense stretching/bending exercises on the mat.

bikram yoga pose sequence

 

Of course, you should just go ahead and assume I totally looked like all of those pictures, first try and everything.

In all seriousness though, I finished the first class without even having to stop throughout! Sure, I was flushed, super soaked, and out-of-my-mind thirsty, but after I started speaking coherent English again, I realized something.

I felt GREAT.

GRRRRRREAT.

A-FRICKIN-MAZING

I suddenly had energy like you wouldn’t believe! I felt like I was on top of the world. Sure, I had to drink about 4 gallons of water when I got home, just to replenish all the liquid I lost, but I know that this also meant I had just flushed TONS of toxins out of my system and replaced pretty much all the water in my body (what it felt like, anyways).

And so I did something crazy.

I went back the next day.

And, not only did it get easier, but afterwards, I felt even better than before! Seriously, you know that intense endorphin high you get after working out? As an athlete in high school and someone who’s always worked out pretty regularly, I’m used to that.

But I’ve now been running on some sort of yoga endorphin high for the last 4 days, and it’s just now starting to fade.

Which obviously means I need to keep this up as I continue to heal and restore my body after all it’s been through these past years. There are all sorts of studies that show that Bikram yoga not only burns close to 1,000 calories per session, but also can heal joint and tendon damage (the guy who started it had been told he’d never walk again, and he used Bikram yoga to completely restore his knee). The heat makes your muscles SO loose, you’re able to crazy amounts of stretching and detoxing.

I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this up once my Groupon expires, mainly because this studio charges around $150/month! But for now, I am going 3-4x/week, just to see how much it helps me. One could always use more endorphins when parenting, right?

For more reading, you can check out this girl’s 30 day before and after, along with this “what to expect” information article.

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