I had seen the cheesy infomercials on TV growing up, but never had I thought that I’d actually be inside a steaming hot Bikram yoga class myself. Lo and behold, there I was last year, sweating bullets in little more than some lycra shorts, while awkwardly holding the lotus position.
Although I was familiar with yoga, I had never tried Bikram yoga. A friend of mine, who’d been getting into Brazilian Jiu jitsu, had asked me to try it with him. He wanted to improve his flexibility so that he could gain an edge over his opponents. I, on the other hand, just wanted to fix my body. My back and neck had accumulated various aches and pains due to years of intensive computer use and sadly, they weren’t getting any better on their own.
Being a somewhat inflexible male (I couldn’t touch my toes!) who had never practised yoga before, I was extremely nervous about walking into a Bikram yoga class. A multitude of fears played out in my mind as we drove to the studio, but I reminded myself that I couldn’t continue living with back and neck pains. And for some reason, I was 100% adamant that yoga would cure my physical ailments.
As we walked through the front doors of the studio, all of my preconceived fears melted away. Our soon-to-be yoga teacher greeted us at the reception with a warm smile. She was ecstatic just to have two more guys at the studio!
We registered, changed our clothes and stepped into the yoga hall with a towel and water bottle in hand. Oh, did I say, “yoga hall?” I actually meant, “yoga hell!”
The room was dimly lit with burgundy lights and had been heated up like a furnace. A deep breath scorched my lungs while filling it with the heavy, sour stench of dried sweat.
Tiptoeing through the array of bodies which were strewn across the floor in savasana (corpse pose), we grabbed a yoga mat and found our patch of the floor - right at the back of the hall. Following the lead of those who’d come before us, we too laid down in savasana, silent and motionless, until finally, the lights flicked on.
For the next ninety minutes, it was game on. The teacher stood up on a podium in front of the hall and took charge of the class. Shouting out instructions through her headpiece like an army drill sergeant, she guided us through Bikram yoga’s 26 asanas, each stretching our bodies to the limits.
Sweat spilled out from every pore in my body as I contorted it in ways that I had never before. Each posture and minute that we were inside the yoga hell drew me closer to dehydration and exhaustion.
There were moments when I considered walking out to cool off, but I told myself that I had to hang in there. I was there to heal my body and I couldn’t afford to miss out on anything.
Eventually, we arrived at the final, deep relaxation. All stretched and sweated out, I collapsed down into savasana for one last time.
Looking up at the ceiling, I took a deep breath down into my belly. My mind stood still and I felt a deep sense of peace throughout my body. Although my back was still a little sore, I knew that I was one step closer to returning it to the healthy condition that it was when I was a kid.
The teacher flicked off the light and walked out.
After a few minutes of stillness, I emerged from the yoga hall and walked over to the reception desk where the yoga teacher was standing once again.
Exhausted and soaked in sweat, I looked up at her and smiled.
She gave me a wink and said three words with a grin, “Welcome to Bikram.”
- You may want to bring your own yoga mat as you’ll be sweating profusely… and imagine those who used the mat before you!
- As you will be sweating buckets, things may get a little slippery and holding that downward dog position may prove difficult if not slightly dangerous! Invest in a towel for your mat which will absorb sweat and provide traction such as Yogitoes Skidless Towels.
For more of tips on preparing yourself for your first Bikram session, read this
Join the PurelyB community for more tips on beauty, nutrition, fitness and wellness. Sign up as a member for free!