Those of you who follow my Twitter and Instagram accounts are well aware that I have been experimenting with Bikram Yoga for a while. The thing is, Bikram Yoga became the center of heated (pun intended) debate for the last few months. Some say that it is not normal and favorable for everyone to be accepted to a highly demanding class, some say that it is the best class they have ever been to. In fact burning approximately 700 calories in 90 minutes is not so bad. However, let me explain my experience and decide for yourselves.
First things first, this shit ain’t easy… You are in a room, probably with 10-15 people, in 40 celcius and a shit load of humidity. I am literally experiencing the heat right now while I am writing, thus the inappropriate language. There are few things you have to know before you attend to a Bikram Class but the most important thing is, if you are not up for a heat challenge and sweat like an Eskimo in Los Angeles, it is not the place for you. In time you become accustomed to the heat and forget how much you are sweating. In fact in approximately 5 classes you become more focused on yourself and the pose rather than thinking about the heat.
If there is heat and Homo Sapiniens, you should expect the place to stink a little. Stink it does! I am so sorry but there is no easy way to explain that. The studio accepts 4 classes a day and if you are in the 8:00 PM Class expect it to stink like a dozen of dead animals hidden in the studio. But if you prefer PM class for example it is much more bearable since there is a 1,5 hours interval between 6:00 PM and 3:00 PM classes.
The instructors are very friendly and attentive, majority of them are not TR speaking and if you don’t speak English it’s a challenge. Because through the class you are supposed to listen to what is said instead of looking at the instructor. You are bent in some direction all the time anyway. There is no way to look at someone for instructions. Good news is, Bikram poses are all same, FOREVER. So you gain more control, more stability and flexibility in time and do the poses better but you don’t get to do new things even in the second month. This may sound somewhat dull to some of you but what you do in the first class and what you do in your 10th class looks nothing like each other since you improve extremely.
What I love about Bikram Yoga is that it lacks the people I hate in the gyms. You know the girl who does never eat and comes to the gym just to walk on the mill for 30 minutes and starts to stare the muscles of the guys who are going heavy on protein shakes and muscle training. You will never find anyone like those two in Bikram classes. Another fun fact is that the class has more men and middle aged people than I think. So everyone can do it.
If you ask, “why so motivated to burn yourself” It makes you burn 600-900 calories in 1,5 hours. Sweet or what? You don’t run, your heart doesn’t race but you get to burn as much calories as Spinning classes. And of course there are flexibility and balance facts. Your posture gets better, backpain goes away, your skin gets brighter, your muscles gets longer (giving you a longer and leaner look). It is a class made in heaven!
However, I have left it in my first month because some postures are really not good for your knee joints. First thing you have to know about the knee joints is that: you can not fool around with them. They are unforgiving bastards that will never forget what you had done with them in your life. As a moron who walked miles on the concrete in wrong shoes, I have already made a mistake with mines. I already have a little pain in my knees and it became unbearable with Bikram Yoga.
You are always encouraged to lock your knees on the standing poses some of which mean putting all your body weight to one knee while its locked, thus arched back. Physicians, orthopedists and professional athletes & trainers will never recommend locking your knees to make it arch back while you are putting so much weight on it. Remember, when I was working with a physical therapist to get more muscles in SuperSlow Zone. The first warning my trainers did was never to lock your knees or elbows.
This was the only thing that let me leave Bikram but a lot of my friends are going on with their program and they are not complaining about their knee joints. I think mine are a little more vulnerable than others. I would really recommend Bikram to anyone who want fast results, a 1,5 hours time for herself, self discipline and a good challenge. But if you are not a hot weather and humidity person, stay away.
By the way, it is 50 TL for the first 2 weeks for you to understand if you can go on. Then 190 TL a month. You can bring your own towel, mat and water or you can hire them (1TL). If you want another perspective on Bikram Yoga, please read Aysegul’s post in Adam in Town HERE.