Last summer, my friend Carrie came over after she had completed a session of Bikram yoga. She was drenched with sweat from head to toe and explained that it was a 90 minute yoga class in a 105 degree room. For some reason, I had been dying to it ever since that day. Why? Mostly because completing a class like this comes with a great sence of accomplishment. After many conversations with friends, one year later we actually buckled down and tried the class. Much thanks to Erin who did all the research and rallied the troops. Myself, Erin, Nina and Jeanne all met at Bikram’s Yoga, college of India in St. Paul. The neighborhood is not the best location being on Dale and Charles, but the studio was adorable and well decorated. It was a tiny studio with a quaint lobby, male and female locker rooms and a large room for yoga. When we walked in, we signed some paperwork and paid $20 for the 90 minute class. We had a very quick lesson on breathing, a few tips and were encouraged to sit down if we became dizzy or felt faint from the heat.
We proceeded into the room and started what I thought was 90 minutes of pure hell. I consider myself fairly in shape and strong-willed. But it took everything in my power to not walk out of that room. It wasn’t the yoga that was so challenging, it was doing it with the heat. I was instantly hot, sweaty and feeling faint. I had to sit down multiple times just to try to breathe. There was no escaping the heat and it was pure misery. Ultimately, I was able to push through the pain and finish the class. I met my friends outside and we all shared the same look of pain and disgust on our faces. Everyone agreed that it was not something we would recommend to others unless they are looking for a workout torture session.
I ask myself, would I do this again? Odds are slim to none. However, if I am pressured into it by friends again, I would maybe go. With that said, this isn’t a class I am dying to take again anytime soon. Maybe in the dead middle of the winter when the temperature is below zero outside and 105 sounds more appealing.
What is Bikram Yoga? Here is the explanation right off the website of the studio we went:
“Bikram Yoga is a series of twenty-six Hatha Yoga postures and two Pranayama breathing exercises designed to provide a challenging, invigorating, rejuvenating and effective yoga experience. In this 90-minute yoga class every muscle, joint, ligament, tendon and organ in the body will receive benefit. This class is for you. The room is heated so be prepared to sweat, strain, laugh and do more for your health, body and general well-being than you ever imagined possible.
Bikram Yoga’s twenty-six posture exercises systematically move fresh, oxygenated blood to one hundred percent of your body, to each organ, fiber and cell, restoring all systems to healthy working order just as nature intended. Proper weight, muscle tone, vibrant good health and a sense of well-being will automatically follow.”