Hot yoga; it’s a form of exercise quickly gaining in popularity, with multiple studios popping up in big cities and small towns across the country.
For this week’s “Try it with Tabby,” I decided to jump on the sweaty bandwagon and give Bikram yoga a try.
Named after founder Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga combines 26 asanas (poses) with rhythmic breathing and a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Think a traditional yoga class, stretch it to 90 minutes and move it into a sauna, then you have Bikram yoga.
While I am not a yoga guru, I have practiced traditional forms of yoga for quite some time. Going into Bikram, I felt a sense of confidence in my skill set and figured the addition of heat would be a hurdle easily overcome. Wrong.
Acclimating to the 105-degree studio prior to the yoga practice is something easier said than done. Each breath in is like inhaling fire, burning in my lungs and inducing a mild suffocation paranoia. It is safe to say, I do not like extreme heat.
Class began with a breathing exercise, which ironically took my mind off of the fact that I felt as though I couldn’t breathe.
From breathing we moved into standing poses, and soon the sweat and heat combined to make simply standing nearly impossible. Lightheaded is an understatement, but just at the right moment we moved to the ground for floor poses.
At this point I took the instructor’s advice from the beginning of class, and moved into a resting pose as to not pass out. Five minutes of rest and I was back at it, and somehow made it through the entire class without passing out.
Twenty six poses and 90 minutes later, I left feeling not only successful, but also a bit more flexible.
The larger benefit is in a 90 minute Bikram class, an average of 500-1,000 calories are burned.