My 30 day Bikram Hot Yoga Challenge was an eye opening experience. Held at Bikram True Yoga Pacific Plaza, this studio follows the traditional methods of a 90 minute Hot Yoga Bikram class. Equipped with a stage and microphones for the teacher; as well as carpeting on the floors, iconic to Bikram Yoga.
I have done the Bikram sequence several times, in Bikram studios and non-Bikram studios (where they follow the same sequence without the microphones and carpeting). Because I am one of those people who just don’t sweat much, I enjoy a hot class every now and then to get the blood flowing and sweat dripping.
The first week started off well, though not having done the sequence for a while, some poses were quite a challenge to hold. The heat doesn’t tend to bother me too much, though I did start sweating much quicker than other hot yoga studios. I think it’s because the humidity was higher. I must say I love the feeling after a class when you’ve cooled off, drank some water and had a shower!
Another great thing about this practice is that because it’s a set sequence and you do the same thing every time, you can really feel the difference in your body during each class. When you are feeling stronger, when you are feeling weaker, when your mind is preoccupied or when you feel light and free of thoughts. So ironically each class is like a new discovery, yet you are doing the same thing every time, but because you find out something new about yourself, that’s what makes it so diverse.
There are 5-6 regular Bikram Yoga Teachers at True Yoga. Their personalities really come through in their classes, despite it being a set sequence. They all have something unique and I think it’s about personal preference who you resonate with.
I loved the professionalism of the Teachers in class and was very impressed by the standard of students as well. They are all extremely serious about their practice and you can tell that they come by very regularly. I also love that there are classes every 2 hours throughout the day with additional slots in the evening, making it very easy to practice at any time that suits you.
By week two I felt a slump. Didn’t really feel like going and I ended up skipping a few days. Although week 3 was better and I actually did 2 classes some days just to catch up for the week. Week 4 was tough again because the heat was starting to take a toll on me – though I didn’t realise it at that time. Constant headaches, mouth ulcers, fatigue; it was just my body’s way of telling me it had enough. But I know some people who did the challenge without any side effects at all. Everyone is different, hence it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you.
All-in-all I love Bikram Yoga, I think it’s a great practice. Especially for beginners who like to get a good workout, but who perhaps are new to yoga or those who want to lose weight. The poses are very achievable, it’s just the heat that makes it challenging. However if you pace yourself, listen to what your body is telling you and make sure to take care of yourself after the class (i.e. Hydrate, take rest, eat well) you’ll feel great!
Although I’m not sure if doing it everyday for 30 days is the best way to jump into this practice. I am sure for the beginners perhaps building it up from 0 to 3-4 times per week first would be a better idea.