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Lock your knees! Lock your knees!

Bikram Yoga

Several times a week I join 30 people crammed into a swelteringly hot room, trying to pull and stretch our bodies whilst sweating bucket loads and at the same time trying not to pass out! Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this, I hear you ask? This exactly what I was thinking after only 10 mins of my first Bikram yoga class...but now I'm hooked!

Bikram yoga is a Hatha yoga practice made up of 26 postures that are carried out over 90 mins in a room heated to 40 degrees! When Dan and I went to our first class we naively thought that the heat wouldnt make that much difference. After all we had first tried out yoga in Bali when it was about 35 degrees so whats a few extra degrees gonna do! ALOT is the answer. Within minutes of starting the class you are already sweating from every pore and feeling the affects of the heat.

As a beginner your aim is to stay in the room for the full class and not leave, however much you might want to. I have been known to faint on cramped hot trains and a few times in class have experienced that same type of feeling and needed to take a break sitting on my mat. The more I go to Bikram though the more I am learning that it is as much about the discipline of the mind to as it is about the ability of your body. I often find once I am in the pose I feel fine but it is the standing in between when I feel weird and here is when I am learning to focus rather than succumbing to that feeling. It also helps if you breathe and keep your feet and legs tight together when standing too!

The bikram script took some getting used too. The teacher stands at the front leading the class by speaking instructions at a rapid pace. In each class the same words and phrases are used, such as "touch your exactly head to your exactly knee", "there should be no space like a japanese ham sandwich", "like a T in terrific and not a broken umbrella". This annoyed me to begin with but now it becomes a bit of a mantra and helps you to switch off and go into the poses, the teachers mind directing the students body.

After an initial intro of 10 days doing bikram we decided we were missing the moves and style of class that you get in other yoga...but when we went to another studio and got back into doing Vinyasa we actually realised we missed Bikram!

Its not a cheap hobby to have so when I found another studio closer to my work I was able to use their intro offer to get some discounts to continue on. I've been going to bikram for a couple of months now and have noticed a big change in my flexibility and can already get further into postures that I could hardly do in the beginning. No class is easy, sometimes you re in a good place but other times it can be a real challenge, but as long as you try you get benefit.

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I highly recommend the Hot Bikram Studio in Fitzroy which is run by Michael and Susan. Its a really friendly studio and the teachers are happy to offer additional advice and tips on getting into the postures other than the script. The teachers join the classes to practice as well when they are not teaching...so practicing what they preach. They also highlight how everyone is doing their own practice, have their own bodies which allow them to do poses differently. Everyone is welcome and the class is full of varying ages, sizes and abilities but as everyone is so focused on what they are doing you don't feel self conscious and so its a great unjudging space to be in.

I really hope I can keep this up when go back to the UK. Its a great way to wind down after work, makes me consciously drink more water, helps me sleep better and seems to be having an affect on the waistline (although this could also be due to not having any battenburg cake for over a year!!)

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Definitely try it!

Sxx

Posted by doyledan 14:01 Archived in Australia

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