Squish.

I shouldn’t have been surprised that it basically took a crane to get me into my last Bikram class. It was one of those days where I didn’t have much going on and the structure of my day was based on this class. So of course I messed up my timing and almost missed the class. As I was walking to the studio I realized I only had 5 min. before the class started. I could keep walking and go home, or pick up the pace and make the class.

I saw a girl ahead of me dart into the studio, and I soon followed. As I entered the class it was packed. Full. Mat to mat. Squish. My back-of-the-class spot was taken and the only spot left was in the front next to all the instructors. Well, I guess there was no better time to show my skills like the last class.

I set up my mat, laid down my towels and began. I was immediately proud of myself for making this commitment and coming to class. Because the class was so packed there was limited room around each mat. I was glad this wasn’t my first class or I might feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed. The guy next to me was either an instructor or seasoned professional because he seemed to know everyone in the class. I have found that it is mentally better for me to have someone of experience next to me. It makes me push myself harder and stay more focused.

As the class was coming to an end, I realized my growth in just 3 weeks. I attended 13 classes and was able to increase my flexibility, be more aware of my body and reach outside of my comfort zone. I highly recommend including yoga (in some format) into your workout routine. It will strengthen your body in different ways and constantly keep your muscles guessing.

As for me, I will continue to incorporate yoga in my weekly workouts. Whether it’s Bikram, well… I guess you’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Namaste.

Bikram. Day 21.

So today is my last day in my 3 week quest to do Bikram yoga. I realize I need more time to see results and changes, but I honestly feel like it has molded me in some ways. Physically, I feel more flexible. In yesterdays class I was able to almost touch my forehead to knee in “standing head to knee pose”. This is huge since I barely felt comfortable locking out my standing knee 21 days ago. I recognize the heat no longer bothers me. Obviously I notice the warmth when I enter the room and the continuous streams of sweat coming off my body; but I am no longer uncomfortable.

I am mentally more sounds during the class. I try to leave all my problems and stresses at the door and enter with a clear head. I found I can be alone, remote and disconnected for 90min a day and that it’s ok. I discovered that it is important to allow myself that time of reflection. I know, I know. This sounds deep and spiritual coming from a non-yogi. But I truly believe it is important to give yourself time each day to focus on nothing but yourself. Whether that is meditation, exercise, or even creating art, you should be able to give yourself that time for you and only you.

I could have never predicted that I would enjoy spending an hour and a half in a 100* room with up to 40 other people. But I love it. I am hooked. The thought of this being my final day saddens me. I am thinking about continuing on with this (less frequently of course) and purchasing a membership. Although it is expensive, I feel it is important to not stop now. I think this is just the beginning and I have much to gain from this practice.

So… passing trend? Do I recommend it? Will you like it? Yes, yes, and yes. I believe this is a trend that will have its dedicated followers as well as those who think that in one class they will lose 10 lbs and do a split. I highly recommend trying it even if you have doubts! This is a unique experience that absolutely will take you out of your comfort zone and allow you to self reflect.

And who knows, maybe your inner yogi is ready and waiting to be revealed. So put the phone on silent, grab a mat, water and towel and allow yourself the 90min a day you deserve; disconnect and discover.

My inner yogi.

Let me begin by saying I am not flexible, spiritually centered, coordinated or graceful. I am used to getting down and dirty in a Spin studio and running long distances. Therefore when I began this project I made it my mission to reach out of my comfort zone and try new things. Bikram yoga was just the trend that would allow me to increase my flexibility, strength and willpower. And I thought I sweat in Spin…
Walking into my first “hot yoga” class I thought I was prepared; water bottle, yoga mat, and towel. Going through my head were thoughts like, “You went to school in Florida, you LOVE the heat”, “You can run 13mi, you can do this”, and “You sweat in Spin, no biggie.” Sure I sweat in Spin, a few beads run down my face every few minutes and my arms and chest become damp and glistening. After 90 minutes in Bikram, someone could have mistaken me for just getting out of the shower. 
When I decided to include yoga in my new ventures, I wanted to go full throttle and really immerse myself in the practice. For three weeks, I have gone anywhere from 4-6 times a week. By no means was this easy! Dedicating 90 minutes of your day (which is really more like 2-3hrs if you include commute and showering) is no simple task. For me, it was also very hard to motivate myself to go. Once I was there I was fine, and after the class I was extremely satisfied with my commitment to the program.    
The first class was miserable. I was dehydrated, tired, nauseous, dizzy and lightheaded. I had to come down to my mat about 6 times just so I didn’t pass out. This didn’t deter me from coming back though. They say to make it back within 24hrs of completing your first class; this is exactly what I did. And let me tell you, my body was ready for round 2.