8/03/2014

SEVEN THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE ATTENDING YOUR FIRST BIKRAM YOGA CLASS


Hello, it has been a long time I blogged. I just completed a six week summer intensive dance course at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York City. It was indeed an awesome experience. I tried to make the most of my time while in NYC, so I also registered at the Bikram Yoga Studio, Upper West Manhattan. I had no idea what Bikram Yoga was about, but I was feeling adventurous and willing to try anything. I was informed that the exercise would be done in a room heated to 105 degree Fahrenheit, the lady also informed me about the benefits: detoxification, improved breathing, flexibility, etc., and I was looking forward to coming for my first class.

The first day, I arrived with a towel, my exercise clothes, yoga mat and change of clothes as I had been told earlier that I would be unable to go back home wearing my workout clothes. I however, forgot to bring drinking water. Thankfully, I was able to purchase some at the reception. There were however some information that would have helped if I knew beforehand. If you are about to or looking to attend your first Bikram Yoga class, here are a few things to note.

The Heat: DO not underestimate the heat. I remember saying to myself “I live in Nigeria, heat should not be a problem”. The room is hot! I remember we had just started the deep breathing and I was already dripping with sweat. By the time we were fifteen minutes into the workout, my clothes were soaked. Prepare yourself mentally for this!


The good thing about the room, for me, was the eucalyptus oil in the air. It penetrates into the skin and makes you feel and breathe good. 

Water: Hydrate properly before the workout. Make sure you bring at least a liter of water with you. The studio sells water, so if you forget yours or run out, you can always buy some at the studio. 

Clothing: Before attending my first class, I had seen a “hot yoga” section on an online yoga clothing store and I thought the “hot” meant sexy. After my first class, I had to run to a sports shop to get some hot pants and bra tops. Some people were able to workout in their full clothes, but I just found it more difficult. You can imagine sweating in full clothes and sweating while naked, you’ll definitely feel cooler when naked. So for me, the less clothes on, the better.

Do not forget to take extra clothes to change into after your workout.

Towels: Please take at least two towels. You would definitely need one to spread over yoga mat, unless you want to wash your yoga mat after each session. You’ll also need a towel to wipe your face, palms, and body during the session. I remember sweat getting into my eyes a lot of times. 

Padlocks: If you are bringing a bag, make sure you come along with a padlock for your locker. The studio was strict about not letting bags in, so you would have to leave your bags in the locker rooms. The studio does not provide padlocks for free, so you’ll have to purchase one with them, or come along with one. You can pretty much purchase anything you forget. The studio rents out towels and yoga mats, and sells padlocks, drinking water, yoga wear and other drinkable products.

The Workout: The exercise lasts for 90 minutes, and yes you’ll be in the heat the entire time. In fact, the instructor would advise that you try to remain in the room for the entire duration even if you cannot keep up with the exercise. The exercise always starts with the deep breathing session and then goes on to some floor poses, followed by the floor series. I must say that the instructors were really good and properly guide you through the poses. They also do not put any pressure on you as they completely understand that not everyone has the same range of motion or fitness level. 

The Benefits:I really cannot describe how I felt at the end of each class, you just have to feel it. My skin feels smoother, I breathe better, and my muscles are relaxed. It is just an all-round great feeling!
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