As part of my fitness journey, I decided to sign up for a 30 day Bikram Yoga Challenge at Bikram Yoga West. The reason underlying me taking up this challenge is because I realise the reason I never succeed in keeping fit is because I lack discipline. I need challenges or some sort of incentive to keep me motivated… and in this case, it is a free T-shirt and my name enshrined on their “Hall of Fame” XD. Hey, just do whatever it takes to keep you motivated; even if its by buying new workout gear or new gym shoes or even as simple as to get a free T-shirt. All in the name of fitness 🙂
To those who are not familiar with Bikram Yoga, it consists of a 26 postures sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. It is practiced in a heated room of around 40 °C to ease muscles and joints, prevent injury and aid the healing of existing injuries, as well as promoting detoxification through sweating. Yes I tend to sweat like a chicken while finishing the series, it’s freaking 40 degrees. And yes I know chickens don’t sweat (:
This series is scientifically designed in a 90 minute program to deliver total health through the balancing and strengthening of every system in the body in order to prevent illness, injury and the limiting effects of ageing. What I love about it is you feel an “immediate change just after one class”. This change isn’t so much of a physical change, but I immediately feel more relaxed, my body feels all loosen up and stretched. It’s as if I found my inner peace.
Day 1 : I felt very intimidated going for Bikram Yoga alone, unsure about withstanding the heat for 90 minutes and insecure of my fitness level. I also felt really self- conscious when I was practising the series. This is because I was staring back at myself in the mirror the whole time and all the imperfections, the wobbly bits and pieces look so significant compared to the seasoned practitioners who look so fit. But after a while, I realise there is no standard of comparison except to myself. To be ‘Perfect’ in Yoga is to do the best I can do. You’ll be amazed at how such seemingly simple movements can be such a challenge. The instructor does not demonstrate but only tells you what to do, leaving me to be fully attuned by my own eyes and ears. And I was marveled that my whole body felt exercised without strenuous exertion. All the while I felt challenged, conversely I also felt a new energy surge throughout me. By the final Savasana, I was thankful it was over — I got my Asana kicked at — and was pleasantly surprised that I was eager to return, the very next day.
Some of the intense things we do at class :
Pranayama breathing : Something as simple as looking to the ceiling perhaps, I promise, is very challenging when incorporated with the proper breathing technique. Really opens the ribcage.
Bow pose ( Dhanurasana ) is probably one of the more challenging poses for me. Amazing stretch on the front, mid and upper back.
Camel pose. This is one of my favourite poses cause I can do this with ease 😛 But in all honesty, this is an excellent stretch to open the rib cage, heart, lungs and digestive system.
Bikram yoga is honestly amazing. I have never met anyone who has attended a class and wasn’t satisfied with the benefits reaped after just one class. But just saying, IT’S AWESOME! LETS GO EVERYDAY TOGETHER ain’t true either. Not everyone is into the whole idea of being in a 40 degree room like roasted chicken. If you’re not ready to give it your all at each class, it will be counter productive instead.
Whatever it is, I’m loving it and hopefully will do Bikram Yoga till I grow old.
That is me, drenched in all the yoga goodness. Today was Day 3 and I just had my best session so far. Looking forward to another 27 days of class 🙂