|From Yoga Practices and Techniques|
Remember how I did a couple of unlimited months of hot power yoga (“Baptiste”) last year? Due to monetary reasons (an unlimited month at my power yoga studio is $110 with a required minimum of six months) — plus, shortly thereafter I started personal training again — unfortunately I had to stop going regularly.
The problem with me is I often lack true regularity with activities, even if I LOVE them . . . an excellent example of this is even with my writing. So even though those two months of power yoga were amazing (and my “skillz” improved very quickly), my pattern with yoga has always been that of “feast or famine.”
That said, I admittedly haven’t been doing much yoga lately.
The Gym-Pact, however, has been pretty good at getting me back at the gym, and since my boyfriend Anthony and I usually spend our weekends together and he isn’t (yet) a member of XSport (my gym), we decided to try out Bikram yoga out for the first time last Saturday (to fulfill my pact, as I’d missed Monday and Tuesday).
So for anyone unfamiliar with Bikram, it is an intense style of hot yoga performed in 105°F at 40% humidity, with 26 precise postures (asanas) and two breathing (pranayama) practices. Poses are done twice in a row, each, and I found the following photo of the postures from yogaposturespictures.com. They are done in this specific order, and it is the same each time. I’ve spoken at length to my yoga instructor at XSport (incidentally my favorite yogi) about Bikram, which he personally only does maybe once a year.
Like any other practice, yoga becomes more natural and better over time. The people at the studio encourage a very regular practice, coming in as frequently as you can (and this applied to power yoga as well), but consulting with a physician, I’ve been advised that generally it is not great to do Bikram more than once or twice a week due to the excessive sweating.
Which, honestly, I am not complaining about. While power yoga was challenging, it was challenging in a way that I enjoyed. I went three times a week, every week, and I honestly miss it (even more so now). Differences between the two styles of yoga include that power yoga is done in a 90°F setting and doesn’t necessarily follow a planned routine of asanas. Also, power yoga is usually only one-hour sessions as opposed to Bikram’s extensive 90 minutes.
The Bikram session was tough. The 105°F was frankly far too hot for me (I will definitely wear skimpier clothes next time!), and I had to take several breaks. My Lululemon The Mat (the sticky one made for hot yoga) definitely held up, but the instructor later advised me to use a towel on it to absorb the sweat! (Still skeptical about this.) There was a distinct lack of familiar (and favorite) asanas and also very segmented transitions. In addition to all that, the almost-militant direction/instruction throughout the practice I found distracting and made it very difficult for me to stay present.
The lack of demonstration, as well, from the instructor, made following the directions challenging because really all we had to go from was the other students in front of us (which is pretty typical of yoga classes), and because many of the asanas weren’t as familiar (as well as the transitions), it was a bit disorganized for me.
Anthony, on the other hand, felt that the difficulty of the postures required a whole lot more concentration than more traditional yoga, and found himself more present than usual. He was a trooper! He hardly took any breaks and pushed through most of the poses with very little visible fatigue.
Admittedly, I need to give Bikram another chance, which is why I signed up for a 30-day trial with him.
I hadn’t done yoga in a while prior to this class, and my sleep schedule had gotten all wonky due to my crazed obsession for Olympic gymnastics (which I’d watch till 3.30am every night). As well as the fact that it was my first week back at the gym on a regular basis for a while, and I think I was just too out of sorts to fully appreciate the practice.
So I’ll be back to give it a fairer shot again and let you know how it goes. Otherwise, I’ll be back at Power Yoga on Main. 😉
To our healing,