Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 5 - Why You Shouldn't Practice Bikram Yoga

Cold fall days make the hot yoga studio feel great!
I'm at week 5 of my hot yoga practice now and I've discovered some things about it I would like to share with anybody thinking of trying Bikram yoga.

1.  If you decide to start a Bikram yoga practice, you should know that it will take come commitment to get the most out of it. I used to go to a yoga class at the YMCA which was twice a week on Monday and Wednesday. There was also a Saturday class by the same instructor but usually weekends are busy for me with family stuff and weekdays are for exercise classes.

Anyway, going to a regular Hatha yoga class is simple. You can drop in once or twice a week and work out but if you skip a practice, it's no big deal. In other words, it's easier, for me at least, not to have commitment. I went to other classes during the week but yoga was only once or twice.

When I started doing hot yoga, I realized that if I was going to stick with it, it would require a certain amount of commitment to keep it going. Once or twice a week wouldn't be enough to really gain benefits. For one thing, it was a much more strenuous workout and to get into good shape, I had to work out about 4-5 days a week. Luckily at most Bikram studios, there are multiple classes per day to choose from. Still, I had to make it a priority.

Can I keep this up? It remains to be seen if I can or not. Last week I went five times but with Thanksgiving and company visiting, we ate a lot and I needed all the workouts I could get.

2.  The workout is going to be strenuous - This is kind of like an aerobic class in a room at 105 degrees. Your heart pounds, you sweat a lot! I've always avoided regular aerobic classes in favor of water aerobics, treadmills and yoga so this was a big deal for me to take on.

3.  In beginning a practice, you are going to be in pain. I hurt in every muscle in my body! This lasted about a week too but at least I knew I was working out everything - a real total body work out.

4.  Hot yoga makes you tired - I've been sleeping like a baby, which isn't a bad thing. If you're a baby boomer, you might have noticed your sleep habits are changing. Disrupted sleep, not able to fall asleep, etc all happen as you age. A good workout on a regular basis can literally solve that and you sleep like a baby. Still, I was tired a lot the first couple weeks. Now I feel more energetic but still sleep at night.

5.  If you enjoy being stressed out, don't practice Bikram! I've felt so unstressed since I started, I'm almost a new person-lol

6.  If you hate sweating, don't practice hot yoga either. I never liked sweating, even though I live in Texas. Still what I've found is that I almost begin to crave it. You start detoxing and your skin is suddenly softer and smoother, your stomach is flatter, your joints more flexible and you just start wanting to be there as much as possible.

These are just a few of my observations after a month at Bikram yoga. I've been reading and studying the Hot Yoga Doctor's tips on technique and I feel I'm getting a lot more out of my practice because of that. You can sign up for a free email newsletter that is packed full of valuable hot yoga info. There are free downloads with pictures of all the poses too so if you are new to Bikram, you can see what a class is all about. There is so many valuable resources at the Hot Yoga Doctor, you'll love it.

If you don't have a studio near you, you can still practice hot yoga at home. This Home Practice Kit tells you how to create your own class at home or you can take it on the road with you if you have to travel.

If you've tried hot yoga or Bikram yoga, I'd love to hear about your experiences. Why do you like hot yoga? Or maybe, why you don't like it.

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