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Bikram Yoga. Any takers?

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
I am seriously considering taking Bikram Yoga classes and was wondering if anyone can share their experiences with me. I was taking Hatha Yoga but hurt my neck and really want to get back into a practice now that I feel that I have sufficiently healed.

Please share your feelings on Bikram with me. Any advice before I take my first class?
 

appletini

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,696
I love bikram! Unfortunately I don''t have the time or schedule for it so I now I maybe go about once a year. About 5 years ago I went consisently for about 3 months (2-3 times a week) and I got the same results if not better than I had with a personal trainer.

The first time I went I thought I was going to die at the end of the class and 10 minutes later I had so much energy. It was amazing to see how much I improved with each class.

One problem I did have though is that some class times just weren''t good for me. I used to have a work schedule where I could go to a 4:30pm class which was perfect, but the 6:30pm class was just too tough, i think because it was during dinner hour and I kept thinking about hungry I was and then I''d feel kind of naucious afterwards and have wait awhile before I could eat. You might want to try different class times to see what works best with your body clock.
 

RaiKai

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,255
I love Bikram. I have been doing it for a few years. DH does it as well. However, in the city I currently live in there is no Bikram studio so we have converted our spare bedroom to a "hot room" with huge mirrors and have Bikram's audio class to do it too, so we still practice about 2x a week (I used to go anywhere from 3-7 days a week!). It is not quite the same as being jam packed in with dozens of other people (which tends to make it even hotter and more humid), but it is way more convenient too as I don't have to worry about making it to class times and so on (I have always been more of an independent exerciser - I run daily as well) and a lot less distracting.

Most of my family has also got into Bikram. My mother is a HUGE convert now - she has been going for about 1.5 years - her first class she thought she would puke (she even brought a bowl which is a running joke now in the studio) and had to lay down a lot - now she has an annual pass and is excited to touch her head to the floor (not bad for a 52 year old still fairly recent cancer survivor!). She wanted to try it to see if it would help the lymphedema in her arm (from having her nodes removed) and the swelling went down within the next day after the class.

I know a lot of people who have serious illness and the like who swear by it (i.e. West Nile, cancer, etc). People generally do lose weight (just make sure to stay hydrated!) and tone up. I have seen people lose 20-30 pounds just by starting up Bikram with no other significant changes. Some Bikram followers (and instructors) can be a bit too...fake new agey to me at times...but you don't have to talk to them (indeed you can't while you are doing it anyway).

So advice....it is HOT (minimum 100 F...but it is usually more like 110). More than that...it is HUMID (40% is minimum...but I often see it between 50-65% depending on studio and where you live and so on). And you are in there for 90-minutes. It is the humidity that gets to me more than the heat! Take a big bottle of water. Do not wear cotton and the like. I always wear short shorts and a bra-top deal. Bring a towel for your mat. I would go into the classroom about 15 minutes ahead and set up and lay down to adjust a bit. Don't go to the front of the class until you have had a good handful of lessons - the more experienced people should be in the front as it helps others who are not so experienced to see them AND it is very distracting to have someone who is brand new in front of you!

And a warning...Bikram tends to be a lot more strict than a lot of other yoga I have tried (I have done hatha, iyengar, ashtanga, power, etc). It is really important in Bikram not to talk (not even BEFORE the class while in the room), move around when you are not doing a pose and so on. Only move into poses when the instructor tells you and such. If you need to lay down that is TOTALLY cool. Most people just need to survive the first class and then the next is a lot better!

The heat can lure you into pushing harder than you initially SHOULD so be careful. People do hurt themselves by going a bit TOO hard...the heat is designed to help you do this but not to point you hurt self.

It is always the same series of postures too. (26 of them - you repeat postures 2x and most are held from 30-60 seconds but that can depend on the instructor...there are days you will HATE your instructor with a passion I find and want to curse them under your breath...ha). But, you are ALWAYS considered a beginner. You can always "learn more" each time. Even the most experienced ones are always "learning" more (they do have advanced classes...but before you do the advanced class you need to take the beginner class right before...that is several hours of yoga...in a hot room...by the way!).

It is quite hard. In my experience while there is usually a fairly even split between men and women in the classes I go to....a lot of people, men in particular, underestimate how hard it can be. DH used to like to dare his military coworkers who thought it would be "sissy" to try a class. These were guys who were not afraid of tough physical challenges! He offered to pay for a couple classes for them if they made it through one class. Only one ever did. Most were out of there within the first ten minutes.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Thank you appletini and RaiKai for your responses and advice.

I am going to begin classes next week (6:30 a.m!) and I am looking forward to it. In the meantime I have to buy the proper attire and get myself psyched!

I will let you know about my progress...
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
I''ve been wanting to try Bikram for a while now, but I have heat intolerance problems in certain situations. I cannot tolerate hot tubs, I feel like my chest is caving in when I sit in one, but I CAN tolerate high heat and humidity climates. (I spent seven weeks hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing in the Middle East, for example.) I''m just not sure if I could handle the heat in a Bikram yoga room for 90 minutes. But I am very attracted to it as a practice, so I''m torn.

What do the experienced Bikram Yoga followers think?
 

RaiKai

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,255
Date: 5/14/2010 11:28:22 AM
Author: sphenequeen
Thank you appletini and RaiKai for your responses and advice.


I am going to begin classes next week (6:30 a.m!) and I am looking forward to it. In the meantime I have to buy the proper attire and get myself psyched!


I will let you know about my progress...
Good luck - and have fun! I can''t wait to hear all about it!

I always liked the morning classes - a bit of a more mature crowd. I was always a little more stiff but it was invigorating! I am rather used to the early morning workouts though....that is when I like to run too :)
 

RaiKai

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,255
Date: 5/14/2010 11:42:46 AM
Author: Haven
I''ve been wanting to try Bikram for a while now, but I have heat intolerance problems in certain situations. I cannot tolerate hot tubs, I feel like my chest is caving in when I sit in one, but I CAN tolerate high heat and humidity climates. (I spent seven weeks hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing in the Middle East, for example.) I''m just not sure if I could handle the heat in a Bikram yoga room for 90 minutes. But I am very attracted to it as a practice, so I''m torn.


What do the experienced Bikram Yoga followers think?
I think it is worth a try.

Just let the instructor know ahead of time that you may HAVE to leave due to it (they tend to promote JUST laying down rather than ever leaving).

Have you ever had your blood pressure and such checked? I wonder why you get that sensation when you sit in a hot tub...and I know they aren''t recommended for people with blood pressure problems and the like!
 

appletini

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,696
when it comes to the attire less is more. I normally wear a sports bra or sports bra tank. I used to wear hot pants/biker shorts under some of those cheap cotton gym shorts but the last few times I tried some of my form fitting champion (target) sweat wicking shorts and liked those a lot.

be hydrated and definitely have a gianormous bottle of water with you in the class, they should sell it in the studio so buy one there the first time so you have an idea...and yes by the end of the class you will have finished the bottle.
 

appletini

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,696
one more thing...try to get there 20-30 min early. For your first class you probably want to be on the 2nd row so you can have a good mirror view but can also look at the people in front of you if need to help figuring out a pose. I love first or second row and I have to be any further back than that then I''d just rather not go.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Date: 5/14/2010 12:43:51 PM
Author: RaiKai
Date: 5/14/2010 11:42:46 AM
Author: Haven
I''ve been wanting to try Bikram for a while now, but I have heat intolerance problems in certain situations. I cannot tolerate hot tubs, I feel like my chest is caving in when I sit in one, but I CAN tolerate high heat and humidity climates. (I spent seven weeks hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing in the Middle East, for example.) I''m just not sure if I could handle the heat in a Bikram yoga room for 90 minutes. But I am very attracted to it as a practice, so I''m torn.
What do the experienced Bikram Yoga followers think?
I think it is worth a try.

Just let the instructor know ahead of time that you may HAVE to leave due to it (they tend to promote JUST laying down rather than ever leaving).

Have you ever had your blood pressure and such checked? I wonder why you get that sensation when you sit in a hot tub...and I know they aren''t recommended for people with blood pressure problems and the like!
I think I will try it, RaiKai.
I typically have very low blood pressure. I wonder if that''s the problem. I''ve never thought there might be a connection, there. Interesting.

Okay, so I stopped writing my response and went to look up low blood pressure and hot tubs, and now I''m a bit scared about my low blood pressure. It''s usually close to 90/60 when I get it measured by doctors, although a couple times it''s been lower. My heart rate is on the low end too, or at least I think it''s the lower end. It''s in the low 50s, usually. I''m going to schedule an appt with my doctor to ask some questions before I try the Bikram yoga.
 

Bella_mezzo

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
5,754
haven-hope everything is ok with the bp!

I''ve been thinking about Bikram too, and need to drop some of my winter lbs
so I might try to find a good studio in NYC.....any suggestions?
 

zipzapgirl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 28, 2008
Messages
369
I've been to this studio in NYC and it was pretty good. They have several locations and classes literally every hour of the day from 6am-9pm.

www.bikramyoganyc.com

(The website was down this morning, so be patient)

I really liked the workout and I felt so refreshed the next few days. It just took up so much time for me (1.5 hour class, 20 mins before to change and situate, 20 mins to shower and change, and then a commute home) and I got home so late that I stopped going.

Don't eat anything for 2-3 hours before, take lots of water with you, and tell the instructor you are new or just beginning. Usually they sit you by the door so they can open it if they see you get overheated, or you can walk out if you really need to.

ETA: Get on their mailing list. They offer the $30 for 30 days unlimited for first-time students and it's a really great deal.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
an update on the bikram yoga-

I was suppsed to start on Tuesday, but that has been postponed until the following Tuesday due to my co-worker catching a cold (she is my partner in crime).

I am getting a bit nervous about the whole "what to wear" situation. I have to go to Target and get something that will be appropriate for hot yoga. I have regular yoga wear, but apparently that will not do.

I am looking forward to trying something new - I remember feeling nervous when I started Hatha Yoga for the first time... Here''s to next Tuesday
.
 

tigian

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
2,722
Date: 5/20/2010 6:25:55 PM
Author: sphenequeen
an update on the bikram yoga-


I was suppsed to start on Tuesday, but that has been postponed until the following Tuesday due to my co-worker catching a cold (she is my partner in crime).


I am getting a bit nervous about the whole ''what to wear'' situation. I have to go to Target and get something that will be appropriate for hot yoga. I have regular yoga wear, but apparently that will not do.


I am looking forward to trying something new - I remember feeling nervous when I started Hatha Yoga for the first time... Here''s to next Tuesday
.
Have you gone yet? How did it go for you? I don''t usually hang out on this forum but Bikram Yoga caught my eye. I''ve been practicing Bikram for about 5 years now. It''s amazing how your mind and body will transform thoughout your practice.
 

mayachel

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
1,749
Hey there, I thought I''d check in and see if you''ve gone yet. *Gentle Nudge*. Your post inspired me to get to my first Bikram class this evening. You''re going to laugh at this, but I''ve managed to procrastinate a full year before I entered my first class AND it is literally a block from my house.

So-I haven''t drunk the kool-aide yet. After the first 25min I felt dizzy. After the first 35min I was pretty sure I was going throw up or pass out. I was sweating like no tomorrow. I would just kneel with my head down or sit on the mat until the pose finished and then stand up and try the next once I felt a bit better. There was a lot of up and down for me. It did get easier after 1 hour.

My studio has a special where you can go an unlimited amount of times for your first week for $20. So I''m going to try and go at least 6 more times, though that means going twice some day.

They aren''t kidding about wearing as little as possible, and close fitting for comfort. If it hangs it will just get heavy. My studio doesn''t sell water, they promote you bringing your own bottle and refilling.

Now that it''s done and I''ve eaten dinner (definitely take the advice of going on an empty stomach) I feel pretty good.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Hi Sphenequeen,

Please tell the instructor about your injury so that he or she can make the appropriate modifications. Also, if the heat is too much for you, maybe you can warm up in a steam room or sauna and then do a hatha-style practice instead. Good luck and take care!
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Date: 5/14/2010 11:42:46 AM
Author: Haven
I''ve been wanting to try Bikram for a while now, but I have heat intolerance problems in certain situations. I cannot tolerate hot tubs, I feel like my chest is caving in when I sit in one, but I CAN tolerate high heat and humidity climates. (I spent seven weeks hiking, rappelling, and rock climbing in the Middle East, for example.) I''m just not sure if I could handle the heat in a Bikram yoga room for 90 minutes. But I am very attracted to it as a practice, so I''m torn.


What do the experienced Bikram Yoga followers think?
Haven,

I have low blood pressure too (slightly lower than yours), and have been advised against inversions. From what I understand, Bikram doesn''t involve in inversions, so it might work for you.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Hi, Harriet.

Thank you for the info. What are inversions?

I recently learned that a friend of a friend is a yoga instructor on the side and he''s going to take me to a local class this Sunday. I''m very excited. It''s not Bikram yoga, though. I can''t remember which yoga it is. I''ll report back once I''ve tried it.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
You''re welcome. Please let me know what else you find out about low blood pressure. I can''t handle heat nor humidity.

An inversion is a pose where the heart is above the head. E.g. Downward dog. Inversions are also not recommended for that time of the month.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Haven,
I asked my physician about low blood pressure and inversions. He said that as long as you move into an upright position slowly, it''s ok.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Hi All,

An update~

I have YET to try Bikram. I have been diagnosed with "winged scapula" and another shoulder disorder that may be caused by a neurological issue. I have been ordered to undergo an EMG (electromyography) test today to determine if I have any issues with the nerves in my neck or shoulder.

Additionally I have to do physical therapy to strengthen and correct my scapula before I can be cleared for yoga. :((

Hopefully this will be resolved soon!
 
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