The 10 Things No One Will Ever Tell You About Bikram Yoga:
Bikram yoga’s not for everyone, but here’s a bunch of lesser-known facts that you should know before you submit yourself to a hotbox for 90 minutes. And don’t think you can just leave if you get to hot or feel uncomfortable because that’s not allowed…
- The Smell: As soon as you walk into the yoga studio, not the room you are doing yoga in, just the lobby of the studio, the smell is overwhelming. It smells like a hockey locker room…and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being in one of those, you know exactly what I mean. Luckily, your sense of smell is your weakest sense, so as long as you just take a couple of deep breaths you’ll be fine. Oh, and don’t try to do the whole “I’m just going to breathe through my mouth” thing, because your teacher will repetitively say throughout class “For the rest of class we are going to practice normal breathing. In through your nose…and out…through your nose”. Not really sure who that is “normal” for, but ok I’ll do it.
- The Drama Queens: There are some yogis out there that really make sure everyone else in class knows how hard they are working. You can tell by their grunts, groans, and overly-dramatic “release sighs”. Personally, I prefer to stay quiet in yoga. For one, it’s the only 90 minute period of my entire week, when I’m not sleeping, that I’m quiet. Secondly, I tend to unintentionally judge these people…tighten up your game here…you’re only holding up your own body weight – it’s not like your pulling a plane.
- The Yoga Mats: The yoga mats can get pretty nasty. For instance, when you get to class and hold the end of your mat to try and quickly roll it out and spread it on the floor and it just doesn’t move because it’s glued together with last week’s sweat. Or even worse, when you do that same move and it makes a huge ripping sound as the mat separates from itself. Yea, that’s gross. But there’s not much you can do about it. Also, I don’t care what anyone else says; always bring at least one towel with you. Those mats will get slippery with all the flowing sweat!!
- The Hydration: I’m all for hydration, as you probably saw in yesterday’s post, but here’s the thing: You have to hydrate BEFORE class. Bringing 2 – 3 water bottles, or even a lunch box (I swear I really saw this), to drink during class is not going to help you. In fact, it’s probably just going to make you feel nauseas. Drinking water all day before class is key! The water you bring into class with you is just to sip on! But, do whatever you want…I’d love to see how you feel doing Bow Pose after gulping down 24oz of water!
- The Exfoliation: You probably think that dumping all the sweat through your pores gross until you take a shower and drink some water after class. Your skin feels amazzzing. It’s like getting a free exfoliation treatment (well not “free” parse since Bikram can get pricey, but it’s a two-fer for sure!): Any dead skin you have basically rubs right off. Ok, I guess it is gross, but that’s why no one tells you these things!
- The Time Commitment: Bikram studios are few and far between compared to regular gyms or yoga studios. Since each class is 90 minutes, you generally have to get there about 20 minutes early to get a spot, and there probably isn’t one in your town, you’re looking at a 2 – 3 hour commitment each time you want to go. Maybe one day when I’m retired, I’ll have more than enough time to go every day.
- The Regulars: The regulars can be almost as scary as the teacher. I suggest you avoid them, and whatever you do, don’t piss them off. You will definitely be able to spot the regulars right off the bat. They will likely have the smallest articles of clothing on and will always lie facing the back of the room, until class starts. They make it point NOT to make eye contact or talk to anyone at all, as obviously they are in some fantastic state of meditation.
- The Teachers: Like with anything, some of the teachers are nicer than other, but all of the teachers are brutal! These teachers have no problem calling you on anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first class or a lifetime member. For example, this really happened in my class a couple weeks ago: “Boy in the black shorts. Boy in the black shorts near the door,” he was clearly not paying attention “Boy in the black shorts near the door…looking down…taking out his gum…” the poor boy finally looks up, “I notice you’re sitting already…this is just the warm up”. Wow, way to call him out!
- The Weight Loss: I guess it would be easy to assume that Bikram yoga is a good method of weight loss seeing as how you’re basically exercising in a sauna. Wrong. You can tell the people who are there for weight loss – the ones in the back of the room with sweats and a baggy t-shirt. These people don’t understand that without being able to do any of the poses, you’re not actually getting any of the exercise. You’re just standing in a hot room for 90 minutes sweating. Newsflash: once you go back out into the lobby and chuck your Nalgene, you’ve successfully replenished your sweat weight. Congratulations.
- The Fruit: The fruit, or as I like to call it “Power Packs”, is one of the most delicious things I can think of. After class, normally the teacher will cut up an apple or some other type of fruit and put it out for everyone to take a slice. I found this so delicious, that I decided to make myself a little baggie of fruit for after class. Whatever I have around, apples, oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, and pineapple. After expelling so much energy and losing so much liquid, the taste of sweet fresh fruit is euphoric.
See that’s not so bad! Hopefully you all learned something today! If you also practice and have tips to add, please feel free!