I recently tried my first yoga class ever and … it happened to be Bikram! This form of yoga is derived from the traditional Hatha yoga and is composed of a series of 26 postures. A typical class will last 90 minutes in a 40°C room with 40% humidity (so VERY hot). It is known to improve your strength, flexibility, burn calories and help weight lost. The heat helps to stretch your muscles. The fact that you sweat a lot is supposed to help you get rid of toxins, but that claim seems to be false since toxins are mainly evacuated via the digestive tract. In this kind of intense practice, it is important to listen to your body and drink a lot of water before and after class. Otherwise, there is a high risk of dehydration and hyperthermia.
The first classes are always the hardest. Personally, I really enjoyed doing the postures and breathing exercises. It helped me stretch my whole body and it felt really good to release all the tension. However, the hardest part was the heat. Did you ever witness a lobster being boiled alive? Yeah, I was the lobster. That’s exactly what it feels like. The humidity makes the evaporation of the sweat a lot harder. So, after half an hour, you look like you just came out of a pool with your clothes on. I’m exaggerating (a little bit). But, it is very hot. Towards the end of the class, I felt a bit dizzy and I couldn’t hear very well because of my blood pressure. That’s why you really need to breathe deeply when the heat starts to feel unbearable. In the beginning, the heat felt good and relaxing, but, because we we’re moving and stretching our muscles, it felt more and more hot. I guess the more you practice it, the more you get used to it.
So, I think everyone who is physically healthy should give it a try at least once. It’s a nice experience even though it’s really intense to me. I had more energy after the class and I felt more calm and in peace. For my next try, I’ll go with a «milder» type of hot yoga: the moksha yoga. Let’s see how it goes. 🙂