Bikram Yoga: or, that time I almost died.

My sister-in-law is a big fan of Bikram yoga.  I don’t know everything about it, but I do know that you do yoga for an hour and a half in 40 C heat.  (That’s 104 Fahrenheit!  I’m sort of glad I didn’t Google that until after I went.)  I’ve been doing my own very light, easy yoga at home every morning for the past month and a half, and I finally felt courageous and confident enough to go.  My neighbor is starting at the same time, so we both bought unlimited 10-day trial passes, to see how it feels.

So far, it feels like I’m dying.  The whole process was actually much .less nerve-wracking than I expected it to be, we got a nice introduction, a little tour, and then after changing, went to lay down on our mats to relax before class started,  I knew it was going to be warm, so I just wore short running shorts, a sports bra and a tank top.  Thirty seconds after I stepped into the room, I decided to lose the tank top.

The beginning portion of the class consists of standing and balance exercises.  This is when I died.  I’ve always had low blood pressure and low iron, so couple that with losing a pint or two of water through sweat, and I couldn’t stand upright without black spots swimming and multiplying before my eyes.  I had to take it easy through a lot of the first part of the class because of that, but I got through.  The second part was more sitting or lying down, and while still difficult, at least the fear of passing out and crumpling to the floor was gone.

Afterwards, we all sat in the hallway drinking delicious, hot orange tea and letting our sweat catch up.  I was still sweating bullets literally a half an hour after I’d left the “hot room.”

You know how they say that after natural childbirth, the endorphins flow so freely that it sort of causes pain-amnesia in women so they don’t quite remember how awful it was?   I have a feeling the same concept sort of applies here, and is sort of the reason I’m going back again tomorrow (and the day after that…etc.  I bought a ten-day pass, and I’m sure as heck going to use it!).

I feel okay now, three hours after class ended, and have made it a goal to drink a glass of water every hour.  I think I’ll thank myself for it tomorrow.

One thing I really liked about the experience is that it is, if nothing else, intense.  It sort of reminded me of my martial arts days where we’d often be heard saying things like “Oh my gosh, I’m going to throw up,” and we’d do it all over again the next day.  I’ve missed pushing my body, and while I didn’t necessarily “perform” very well today, I was definitely pushed to my limits.

I’m not sure if I’m a yogi at heart, or a Bikram yogi at least, and I can’t say that my experience today was….enjoyable, per se.  However, it felt good to get out and really do something, to push myself and be pushed, and to forget about everything that’s been making me feel so confused and depressed.  Heck, I’d go again just for that reason.


2 thoughts on “Bikram Yoga: or, that time I almost died.

    • Haha, I don’t think I even got to that point before I had to give it up, but I definitely understand how people can get addicted!

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