For Day 2 of Emma’s birthday, I had scored Groupons for us both to attend a hot yoga class at Riverflow Yoga in Lambertville. Riverflow Yoga is a hot yoga studio, which meant we would be practicing Bikram yoga (90 minutes of 26 poses peformed in a 105 degree room at 50% humidity). Emma had already done Bikram yoga before, but I only have experience in Hatha yoga. I was excited, but also very nervous! I had read accounts of people passing out or feeling extremely nauseous while practicing Bikram, and I wasn’t sure I was strong or flexible enough to handle it.
I decided that the best I could do to quell my Bikram-anxiety was to make sure I was well prepared. I drank 2 bottles of water before I went to bed, and then another 3 when I woke up in the morning. Two and a half hours before the class, I ate a hearty but clean breakfast of eggs with tomato, spinach, and onion, and a banana. The website advertised “the less clothes, the better”, so I donned my sisters volleyball compression shorts and a sports bra, picked Emma up, and we headed to Lambertville.
Upon seeing the yoga studio, I got a bit more relaxed. It was pretty small, cute, and homey looking, with art on the walls and full length mirrors lining the walls. The class was small (about 10 students) and diverse in age and fitness level. I rolled out my mat (with a bath towels on top, of course) and lay down, as the instructor turned up the humidifier and the heater.
Halfway through the first pose, Pranayama (Standing Deep Breathing), I was already sweating BUCKETS. Literally, sweat was pouring from my forehead, the tips of my fingers, and the backs of my knees. I was weirdly fascinated by it, and proud of it. Other than experiencing some slight lightheadedness (which is to be expected in 105 degrees), my body felt strong and flexible in the heat and humidity.
Our instructor, Arielle, was wonderful! She didn’t take herself too seriously, but gave helpful adjustments and tips to get through each pose. The non-stop instruction really helped me be able to put my always racing mind on auto pilot and just be able to focus on breathing my way through all of the poses for the duration of the class. My favorite standing pose was Triangle, and my favorite pose on the mat was Locust (who could have thought I could lift my leg that high? I definitely attribute this one to the heat and humidity).
At the end of the class, Arielle told us to “lay in the bliss we had created for ourselves”, and man, what a true statement. I was totally blissed out! I don’t think my body has EVER felt better than it had at the end of that class. I felt so relaxed, positive, energetic, and cleansed. I was also starving!
Later in the day, after I ate, I felt a bit low energy (in a good way). All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and stare at the wall. I’m not sure if that was from lack of sleep during the week or the yoga class, but I was totally spent! The next day I woke up feeling pretty sore in my shoulders, back (Bikram has a series of poses that work ever part of the upper, mid, and lower back, and mine is already pretty weak), and hips. I took it easy (on the beach!).
I would recommend hot yoga to anyone who is in good health. The poses aren’t difficult at all, and you don’t even have to have practiced yoga before to follow along. It is a great way to increase strength and flexibility, and it is a cool experience to sweat so much (seriously, I didn’t even know that it was possible!) and to get all of those toxins out of my body. The class is what you make of it, and if you go in with a receptive mind, you will definitely get a good workout and leave feeling relaxed, renewed, and fabulous! As a student, it’s not convenient or cheap enough for me to practice on a regular basis, but it’s definitely something that I’m looking forward to doing again.
- Have or would you ever try Bikram yoga? If you have, did you enjoy it?