There’s most certainly a right and wrong way to go about Bikram Yoga. I learnt this the hard way. My first session I turned up in my standard gym gear = long yoga pants, a t-shirt and a leotard thing (so I can bend this way and that and not have my belly fall out), and realised my mistake as soon as I entered the studio. The vast majority of the 30-ish attendees were wearing what I first thought were bikinis, but turned out to be Bikram-intended gym gear. These people had the right idea. Before I’d even started, I had condensation dripping from my eyelashes.
And there’s definitely a learning curve. The three sessions I went to followed a pattern – I would arrive, enter the room and be freshly shocked at HOW warm Bikram yoga is (40 C), lie down on my mat and start to feel like I was adjusting and this might be okay – then the instructor would enter and we’d start moving. I lasted 40 minutes in my first session, overdressed and not hydrated enough, and drove home bewildered and drenched.
My second attempt was far better. I wore as little as I was able and attended an evening class, meaning I had a whole afternoon to get hydrated enough in preparation, which made a big difference. I left the room twice to pace around in the air conditioning before heading back in, but I still stayed until the end of the 90 minute session. I considered this progress, and decided to give it a third shot to see if I could top that effort.
Third session was exhilarating. I didn’t leave the room, though I did sit sweating on my mat to recover every once and a while. But I still stayed for 90 minutes and emerged sweaty and victorious at the end, feeling like I’d proved to myself that I could adjust to what felt like an insurmountably difficult physical challenge.
And the end result is fantastic. Once you’ve rehydrated (and I deeply recommend the Chi Coconut Water available at the front desk) you feel godlike. You’re energised, ultra limber and have all those good aches that tell you you’ve done well.
My particular Bikram was at the newly opened Bikram Yoga Victoria Park – and I had three different instructors over that session. The circuit of poses was identical each day, which was a small mercy since there was a collective boneless relief when we moved to the second half of the session (the stuff on the floor). Our instructors all wore headsets and talked continuously through the 90 minute class. Granted, they weren’t doing the full exercise that we were, but they were still demonstrating, wandering between people and fixing postures. It struck me as incredibly exhausting. There must have been some serious tolerance build up in that.
Ultimately I had a really positive experience – I feel like I was worked hard and got results, and the staff were professional and friendly. I’m even considering some of those Bikram bikini things. I’m a sucker for nice new gym gear.
♥ There are even showers you can use before/after class!
Bikram Yoga Victoria Park has a rather awesome beginner’s deal that I’d recommend: Ten days of unlimited Bikram for $20!
I spread my three sessions over five days, and the amount of improvement I felt just in those three sessions drives home for me that it really is something that needs to be done in bursts, multiple sessions in close proximity. Karen, the vibrant and ultra-fit Studio Director confirmed as much by very gently suggesting I come back for the third class, and I’m glad I did. (She also clarified for me that I was not, in fact, drowning in my own sweat, but in an ungodly amount of condensation. This is very reassuring). Can I also suggest that you remove all makeup before heading in there? I finished a session looking like I’d emerged from a screening of The Notebook.
Unit 1, 345 Shepperton Road
East Victoria Park, Perth
Ph: (08) 9470 5700
Have you tried Bikram Yoga before, or want to? Does the idea of heat-based exercise excite or scare you? Lets chat in the comments!
Review by Suzanne from Don’t They Know Who I Am?