Some like it hot… and I’m becoming one of them!
For the past three weeks I have been a faithful attendee of the 6AM hot yoga class at the Bikram Yoga Studio in Irvine, CA. I had done a bit of Bikram Yoga this past summer, so I knew what to expect – 26 postures, each repeated twice, in a very specific sequence, bookended by two different breathing exercises, over the course of 90 minutes. Oh, and the room is heated to 105 degrees and set at 40% humidity… Ya, I know, that’s what I thought at first too.
The first time I did Bikram yoga, I couldn’t finish half the postures and for the two days following, I felt like had been hit by a mack truck. I gave up after 3 classes. But when I gave it a second try this summer, I began to like the heat and the sweat and the progress I made. This time around, my most consistent effort yet, I believe I have discovered the magic of it. I passed some sort of invisible boundary one day last week when, in the middle of class, drenched in sweat, lying in shavasana (corpse pose), I noticed how absolutely incredible I felt, like my insides had been washed clean and wrung out, and I knew in that moment, I had found the ‘it factor’ of Bikram yoga.
They say that the Bikram Method stimulates the organs, glands, and nerves – systematically circulating fresh, oxygenated blood to your entire body.
Birkram yoga reshapes your body, restores flexibility, strengthens your spine, provides relief from pain, increases your energy, reduces your stress, burns calories and builds endurance.
The heat allows for a safer, deeper practice by warming up the muscles and joints. It also helps to detoxify the body through sweat, strengthens your immune system, and promotes blood circulation by expanding the blood vessels.
One of the benefits for me has been a strengthening of my focus and determination. I wanted more focus in my work, and now I use my yoga practice as an opportunity to build that muscle by maintaining stillness in the postures, moving efficiently between the postures, focusing my eyes on a fixed point in shavasana, and maintaining calmness of breath throughout the practice.
For all these reasons and more, I look forward to my 6AM yoga class, to seeing my Bikram yoga buddies, and to hearing that familar Bikram phrase… “lock your knee, lock your knee, last chance, lock – your – knee.”