I have never been into yoga - I did it several years ago but felt it to be a big old waste of time as it did not do anything to help with weight loss (my nirvana) - at the end of the session when we did "shavasana" and were meant to be opening our minds, I was always thinking about what's for dinner!
However Bikram yoga is a type of yoga that is performed in a room heated to 40 degrees. There are many many benefits such as....
- Detoxifies the body and removes harmful toxins. Bikram Yoga causes profuse sweating which converts the toxins in to water soluble products. This ensures the easy removal of the toxins in the form of sweat.
- The heat increases the metabolism and speeds up the breakdown of glucose and fatty acids. It also helps to increase the heart rate and burn calories effectively thereby promoting weight loss (yee - haa)!
- The heat helps to loosen up the muscles producing less strain on them. This reduces the chances of injury. It also strengthens the spine and provides relief from back pain.
- Stretching your muscles in heated conditions encourages the effective flow of blood to different parts of the body, hence increasing the blood circulation and improving the functioning of the circulatory system. Improved blood circulation helps to increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the several parts of the body.
- Improves the functioning of the lymphatic system that is responsible for flushing out the toxins from the body. It also improves the functioning of the heart, lungs, nervous & endocrine system.
- Helps to reshape your body by the lengthening, strengthening and toning of the muscles which also helps to reduce the risk of sport-related injuries. It improves the balance and coordination of the body and strengthens the bones and muscles and increases the flexibility of the muscles.
- Strengthens the body’s immune system and reduces the risks of infection.
- Helps the mind to be calm and relaxed thereby offering great relief from stress, anxiety and tension. It helps you sleep better (hallelujah)!!
- Increases the flexibility and lubrication of the joints, tendons and ligaments.
- Improves focus, concentration and discipline and it cleanses the body.
- Boosts the energy level of the body and increases the strength and stamina of the body.
Hello - what is not to like about all of that?!
So Pascal & I decided to bite the bullet and try out a class. Both were incredibly nervous - could we stand the heat? I am super inflexible. Pascal is claustrophobic. Will it be full of yoga professionals? What do I wear? I hate trying new things....but hey, I must practise what I preach and try new classes.We went down to our local Bikram studio and luckily everyone was extremely nice and helpful and we easily joined a class. Like with my body attack classes everyone was different shapes and sizes and had different abilities. Plus there were a couple of other newbies like us.
It was tough, my heart was pounding at times and sometimes the heat was suffocating, however I have to admit I did not find it as hard as I thought - my biggest problem was knowing my left and right. The heat is overpowering but no more than my spin class and you work against you own strength, it doesn't matter what everyone else does, you are all about you (heaven)! I don't speak "yoga" and so found some bits slightly hard to understand but you are encouraged to copy the pros in the front row which makes it easier (I was always good at copying at school)!
Each class is 90 minutes long and includes a series of 26 yoga poses and 2 breathing exercises.
I actually really enjoyed it, I felt I had worked extremely hard and so will definitely be going again - when I walked out I had sweated so much I felt I had had a facial - my skin felt fantastic, I also slept better that night and didn't feel hungry all day which is a miracle. It was also good for Pascal as he normally just runs which leaves him in all sorts of pain whereas in yoga, he sweated and worked even harder but could still walk properly afterwards.
All in all I would recommend giving it a go - the only downside is that it is not cheap but as I said to Pascal it is the price equivalent of going to the cinema or out for a couple of double g&ts - but it is WAY more beneficial. Just about to head for class number 2 now!!