I went to my first Bikram Yoga class on Thursday. In short, Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga poses performed in a room that is heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity (!).
I’ve done other types of yoga before (mostly Hatha Yoga). To be honest, I never really enjoyed it that much. I definitely feel it’s beneficial- it promotes balance and flexibility. What I had trouble with was the whole meditation/relaxation aspect of it. I’m rather…Type A (to put it mildly), and always had a hard time just sitting and breathing. My mind just starts running to the millions of other things I need to be doing, and I get all agitated…which probably means I really SHOULD be doing yoga on a regular basis, but oh, well.
I will say that I enjoyed the Bikram class, and I think I might start going on a regular basis. Like many runners, I tend to get a bit lazy about stretching, and this class certainly will cure that problem. The heat of the room does seem to make stretching easier. What I found really interesting was that I didn’t feel like I was working out that hard during the class, but boy was I sore the next day!
So, here’s my overall opinion of the pros and cons of Bikram:
Pros: The heat does promote muscle flexibility.
The postures hit all the major muscle groups.
There is an emphasis on balance and core strengthening.
You get into an aerobic state just by virtue of your heart rate increasing from the heat and dehydration.
Cons: It’s easy to overdo it- maybe too easy. Forcing a stretch can definitely lead to injury.
Dehydration is a definite risk.
Anyone on blood pressure medications, diuretics, or medications that interfere with sweating (antihistamines, especially) should not do this.
Anyone with a history of cardiac disease or lung disease should not do this.
Anyone who is pregnant should not do this.
So, I’ll be attending some more sessions- we’ll see how it works out.
*A big shout out and thanks to Becky for getting me started!*