Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bikram Yoga: What you (really) need to know

For my final #NewYearNewYou post on fitness classes, I have decided to highlight Bikram Yoga because no time like the present to support sexual assault perpetrators it's one fitness scheme that I found myself returning to recently (ya know, "shedding for the wedding" and what not). Sadly, Bikram Choudhury, the creator of the practice, didn't respond to my email requesting an interview - hard to track down a man who fled from the US with pending criminal charges. While I don't support his weekend dalliances, I do appreciate his yoga, and because I didn't try too hard to get a professional/certified Bikram yogi to answer my questions, this post will solely include my amateurish thoughts on said yoga - no need to thank me. 

At the very least you know my answers will be wholly honest unlike Steph's and Pistol's which both required extensive edits and clarification.

What can I expect when trying Bikram Yoga for the first time?
Sweat. So much sweat. A class consists of 24 postures and two breathing exercises. The first posture after opening breathing requires you to hold your arms over your head for approximately 300 minutes, like you're training on the rings for the Olympics sans the obligatory performance-enhancing drugs. This is the posture Choudhury decided to start with. Essentially, you're provided a warm welcome, if a warm welcome is taken quite literally and means your body is melting in the 100+-degree room within the first ten minutes. They tell you before class begins that you are not to leave the room for the full 90-minutes, and after the first posture you've already concluded that this was the worst decision of your life (worse than your "Hillary 45" tattoo). For the next 80 minutes, your body's typical 60% water makeup is successfully reduced to .60%. Seems doable right?

What are the common myths about Bikram Yoga?
Many assume that because the room is heated in a Bikram class, it's similar to other hot yoga practices. This is not the case. Bikram is masochistic hot yoga. If you're familiar with the strenuous Child's Pose, it doesn't matter because there is never a Child's Pose sanctioned in this series. The only livable moments in the class exist during Shavasana - when you literally lie on the ground immobile for 20 seconds at a time. Hold on to those 20 seconds as long as you possibly can.

Do I need to have an athletic background to try Bikram Yoga?
Nope, just an internal hatred for yourself. 

Does Bikram Yoga help me lose weight quickly?
If "quickly" is the operative word, then, no. If it helped me lose weight quickly, I wouldn't be on the auto-renewal program hoping for something to figure itself out by June. I know, I know - weight loss is blah-percent based on diet. Whatever - at least class is 90 minutes and I am forced to fast for all 90 of them. That being said, when I finished a 30-day challenge (completing 30 classes in 30 days #HumbleBrag), I did lose some weight - enough that I didn't mind being in a bathing suit on a small Caribbean island where I knew no one and would never see these no ones ever again.

If I decide to try Bikram Yoga, when can I expect to look like you?
Day one, if you eat enough. It helps if you peaked in high school and enjoy drinking your feelings away daily caloric intake at the bar. I'm the kind of #FitChick that needs a jumping jack to achieve thigh gap. So, if you're thigh-gapping feet together, I hate you because I ain't you you're way ahead of the curve.

I sold you on Bikram Yoga, didn't I? I wonder if my yoga studio offers a referral program? 

Please bear in mind, I am fairly lazy and the only reason I tried Bikram in the first place was due to the fact that everyone in the room is aggressively sweating as opposed to just me. My Bikram sweat level easily rivals my mid-summer subway sweat. So, if you're into that sort of thing - try a Bikram class!

Namaste.

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