Bikram Yoga – Pushing past the sweat

Bikram yoga. A type of hatha yoga that runs through a set series of postures and breathing exercises – sounds easy right?

Add one final element in the mix – heat. An artificially heated room, with temperatures reaching between 37 and 40 °C.

Suddenly, you have a sweat concoction of your own sweat mixed with 20 others in the room.

Let’s ignore the smell for a moment.

Before trying Bikram, I had tried hath yoga, Pilates and body balance classes. But nothing would quite prepare me for what Bikram had in-store.

The 90-minute class duration headed the first warning, combined with the websites declaration that you are expected to remain for the whole class. There was no escape route.

The class begins and you work your way through a series of 26 poses. The sequence remains the same, so if you were to go next week or next year you won’t have too many surprises.

Back to the sweat again.

For those that have ever questioned the purpose of a yoga mat, I have decided its proper function is a pooling device for capturing the beads of sweat as I quiver in a balancing stick pose as shown below.

At this point in the class I was definitely not the perfect face of composure, my forehead veins rising above my skin in concentration.

Recently, health concerns have been raised over the practice of hot yoga. Studies found that participants’ temperatures were coming narrowly close to the 104-degree threshold doctors consider dangerous. 

However, like many forms of exercise, instructors recommend if you are feeling nauseous or light-headed, leave the class immediately or lie down.

The instructor was observant and kept a close eye on me, ‘the newbie’, giving me extra attention on my postures throughout the class.

I have now attended four classes and there is always a certain point in the class that  I dawn on the fact ‘I actually paid for this’. It kills me. I soon start brainstorming all the other ways I could have spent my hard-earned cash… mostly lingering on food.

I breath a sigh of relief when I reach the dead body pose, also known as Savasana.

#Savasana. And that’s a wrap. #idayofyoga #beinspired @borealisyoga

A photo posted by Borealis Community Yoga (@borealisyoga) on

At the end of the class, I peel off my sweat-soaked clothes and patiently wait my turn for a place in the open shower (a whole separate experience in itself).

Suddenly, despite the earlier mental torment I feel completely rejuvenated. It’s almost as if all the bad toxins in my body and all the chocolate I have eaten in the last week have immediately left my body. If only it was that easy.

Maybe, just maybe, I will try another class next week.