Bikram Yoga has been in vogue in recent years. Pioneered in LA by loud talking, Rolls Royce driving, Speedo sporting Bikram Choudary, it is an intense series of 26 yoga postures performed in a hot room – up to 40 degrees.
It was therefore with some trepidation that I found myself slipping into my shorts, grabbing my two towels and bottle of water and heading into the yoga room. The room itself was big with mirrors all along one wall. Picking up a rubber yoga mat I took my place among the other acolytes. Soon enough I heard what sounded like a ship’s boiler roaring into life and the room started to get warm, then hot. Next news is that a very fit looking woman hoves into view with a Madonna-esque radio mic and let’s us know that we are about to begin.
After a bit of preamble about not pushing yourself too hard and that just staying in the room for 90 minutes was an achievement it was time to start the first breathing exercise. This completed I was puffing like the Flying Scotsman and redder than Dennis Healey. I was also sweating up a storm. After breathing it was straight into Half Moon. You would be amazed at how difficult it is standing with your arms above your head or on one leg for over a minute. The people around me were also bending sideways like bendy pink bananas.
And so it went for about 20 minutes when we were allowed our first water break. At this point I made the rookie error of downing about a litre of water. If I wasn’t nauseated before I certainly was after that bit of tomfoolery!
After our break we were taken through all manner of contortions from the punishing Triangle to the just plain sadistic Rabbit posture. In the end things settled down a tad and I was able to get into some of the postures without wondering how I would be able to get out. Apparently when you are squeezing in and out of the postures, you are dumping a lot of toxins into the bloodstream which can cause a bit of nausea.
By the time we got to the final breathing I was standing on a soaking towel in shorts that were as wet as if I had been sitting in a bath. However I felt strangely euphoric. Standing under an ice cold shower some 10 minutes later I began to feel even better. By the time I was dressed and outside, better still. I was so full of energy that I could hardly sleep that night and this carried into the next day.
So next day and every day for the following 10 days I returned for more hot stretching and bending action and the results have been amazing. Apart from the stone in weight that has gone somewhere, the big difference I feel is the increased energy – a total revelation. So while it can be very daunting and 26 postures done twice each in such a hot room can cause you to have many strange moments, the results have to be felt to be believed. So get yourself down to your local hot yoga studio and start puffing like the Flying Sctosman!