So last night, I got a 30 day unlimited use membership at Bikram Yoga.
For those unfamiliar with the difference between yoga and bikram yoga, bikram is a type of hot yoga. Put simply it involves doing all the wishy-washy stretching, balancing, meditating, bum-sticking-out, deep breathing and giggling (optional) excercises of regular yoga, in a room that just happens to have its temperature set at 35-38c (95-100 fahrenheit, for the Yanks) with a humidity of 60-70%. Yes, it's hot. Yes, it's humid. And yes, you will sweat more than you thought possible. But that's why it works.
Basically by sweating, you flush toxins, burn more kilojules (or calories if you want to jump on the media band wagon), speed up the cardiovascular system and "promote relaxation and well being" (perhaps from relief when you leave the room and enter the cool hallway?)
The heat itself is beneficial as it ensures you warm up before the excercise even begins, maximising the effects of the postures.
OK, it's time to get a bit more honest and personal about it. The routine starts with standing postures, which probably take up half of the 90minute session. There isn't a better way to put this: the standing postures are hell. Most of them involve raising your arms above your head and tucking in your stomach, which as our homeboy Jesus knows only too well, makes it very difficult to breathe (oh yes, it is EXACTLY like asphyxiating on the cross, except you pay through the nose for it). During your first few sessions, you WILL get dizzy. You may see spots and feel like if you continue, you will faint. You may feel like your in a mosh pit- hot, sweaty, and struggling to receive enough oxygen- only there's no good music to distract you. You will almost certainly have to take at least one break to sit on your mat, breathe deeply and feel sorry for yourself. Having never done yoga myself, I felt sure I was going to die. I was wondering when the rolling about on the floor and relaxing while the instructor talked of finding our centre bit was going to happen.
Thankfully, the upright part only takes up the first half of the session, and is followed by 45 blissful minutes of lying/crouching with your bum/stomach/limbs/groin pointed skywards. Between every floor posture is a short "savasana" or "corpse pose" which involves lying flat on your back, looking at the ceiling and breathing. It's magical. After struggling to stay upright on one leg and breathe at the same time for what feels like eternity, the floor postures are fantastic relief. Quite relaxing actually, and for the most part, not too challenging.
Now, with another 29 days ahead of me, and plans to go to 4-5times a week with mah girlfruns Kate and Kasey, it's bound to have some effect on my body. So, naturally, I thought it best to star weighing myself again (something I've avoided since well before Christmas) and take some preliminary measurements just to see how effectiver Bikram Yoga is for weightloss.
So, as of this morning, admitedly after one session but I forgot before hand, my "stats" are:
(please don't judge me!)
Height: 172cm/5'8" (it won't change but it provides a frame of reference)
Weight: 67kg (147lb) (oh gosh I do NOT like seeing that in pounds)
Hips: 103cm/40.5" (yes really- at the largest part mind. I've never claimed to have a small arse)
Yes, I'm that out of proportion. I could have included my thigh measurements, but at risk of frightening small children and hating myself, I've left them out. It's better for everyone that way.
As for the costs, an introductory 30 days pass at Bikram Yoga Northside will only cost you $39. Considering a single class is $20, it's worth it so long as you don't give up after one class. After that, a new student pass gets you the first month for $99, so long as you purchase it before the intro pass expires. From then on, it's $169 a month or $129 a month if you pay for a minimum of three months. So no, it's not cheap, especially considering a month-long membership at Next Generation Gym is only about $80. But it's different, and worth a try.
Obviously it's too early to know long term results, but I enjoyed the first class and the feeling afterwards. I mean, my skin is as soft as a baby's butt today after sweating out everything. We're heading in again tonight, tomorrow night, and possibly Thursday morning. I'll report any changes in my "stats" every week and of course the overview at the end of the month. It's fun to have something solid to talk about other than my nail colour.
catch you on the flip side