90 Minutes Of Exercise In 40 Degrees: Sound Painful? Here’s What We Thought Of Bikram

We tried an intense Bikram yoga class, and this is our verdict!

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Having recently given up my gym membership, due to extortionate prices, I found myself in a pickle. As the weeks rolled by and I gradually felt softer and softer due to my inactivity, I knew I needed to get back on the wagon quickly. I’ve tried pretty much all of the classes out there, from Reformer Pilates to TRX and Ballet Barre, so I decided it was now time to give Bikram Yoga a go.

It’s a form of yoga that I knew relatively little about, apart from the fact that it’s VERY hot and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston can credit their incredible bodies to it.  I spent time practicing yoga a few years ago and I even attempted some “warm” yoga classes (where you’re in a room of about 25 degrees) but Bikram is in a league of its own, and the temperature is up around the 40 degree mark.

After a little bit of shopping around, I stumbled upon Bikram Yoga Fairview, a lovely little studio tucked away in Chartreuse Business Centre, Dublin 3. I didn’t really know what to expect but Grainne, the instructor, explained we would be doing a series of 26 Hatha yoga postures and two breathing exercises, which sounded very easy altogether. Within about five minutes of the door closing, I realised this wasn’t to be the case.

Bikram posesAs you would expect, the first thing that you notice is the hot, heavy heat engulfing you, and you don’t really get used to that, not in the first class anyway. I wore my usual gym gear but I think I’ll be dressing more scantily next time.

I was absolutely drenched with sweat before I knew what was happening and the cotton material of my attire wasn’t really suitable. I’ll also be going prepared with a headband. In fact, I’m going to say that a headband is pretty essential Bikram attire.

The class was fast paced and we did each posture or exercise twice; the longer the class went on, the more difficult that became. It’s different to any other form of yoga that I’ve done because you never really slow down and your heart rate is up for the duration. After the 90 minutes, I was well and truly exhausted and felt as though I had lost half of my body weight through perspiration alone. I felt really relaxed too though, and like I deserved a good night sleep.

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The benefits of Bikram yoga are endless and it can help with everything from thyroid problems, to stress, insomnia, kidney conditions, heart disease, depression, blood pressure, and back pain. That’s only a quarter of the list. It’s also an exercise that will pretty much guarantee weight loss, if that’s the end goal. Grainne said that after a couple of classes, you’ll also see a vast improvement in your skin and an increased brightness in your eyes, it kind of works like a detox for your whole body.

It’s obviously hard to see any of the benefits after only one class, so I bit the bullet and signed up for the month. On a bit of a high after last night’s 90 minutes, I made it my mission to do three or four classes a week, a decision I hopefully don’t end up regretting! I’m looking forward to seeing what a month of Bikram can do so I’ll be tracking the progress week by week. Physically, I’d like to tone up and see more definition in my body and mentally, it would be nice to de-stress and generally feel more relaxed and clear-headed… I’ll let you know how that goes, wish me luck!

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