Whether you want to start a new workout routine, lose some weight, tone your body, de-stress, improve your posture, or set aside a few hours a week to yourself, there seems to be no wrong reason to start Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga is a copyrighted set of twenty-six yoga poses, or “asanas”, and two breathing exercises that together have a great deal of benefits for one’s body. There are poses to help digestion, metabolism, cardiovascular strength, and more. The teachers are all specially trained, so no matter where you go, you can find a uniformity in all Bikram yoga classes which you can’t really find in other types of yoga. You’ll easily have the routine memorized after a few classes. It’s the type of workout routine that becomes addictive. The endorphins that are released and the sense of accomplishment after each class is crazily satisfying. It’s become a club activity – you’ll recognize the regular students and find a strong community at just about any yoga studio you attend.
So, let’s pretend it’s your first class. The first thing you’ll notice when entering the studio is the heat. At around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s super hot. The idea isn’t to kill you, but to loosen up your muscles and deepen your practice. You’ll understand what this means once you try it. It’s expected you will sweat through your clothes and leave a puddle, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. Of course, it makes sense to bring a mat, towel and a big water bottle to deal with the heat. The heat is what sets apart Bikram yoga from other yoga practices. It takes a little getting used to, but you’ll find that the heat becomes a necessity for your practice.
The second thing you’ll notice is that everyone is spreading out their mats and lying down on the floor. The more advanced students might be in meditation while others might be preparing themselves for what’s to come. Because there’s no talking in the yoga studio, it’s a nice place to really relax without distraction. One of my favorite things to do is come at least half an hour early to class in order to have sufficient time to prepare myself.
At the studio I go to, there are students of all types- those who can do each pose flawlessly, those who are recovering from injuries, those who are trying yoga for the first time, those who pace themselves, those who are old, young, fat, thin, confident, shy, motivated, unmotivated, and everything in between. Once the class begins and you begin to start going through the routine, don’t give up. The first class is always the hardest. I promise that if you survive your first few classes, which can even mean lying down for the majority of the class, you’ll see motivating improvements and you’ll be hooked. Every day there’s a new challenge.
Now, go find a studio. That’s the first step.
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Alison Shlom is a rising junior at University of Colorado Boulder. She is majoring in environmental science and dance and minoring in French. Her biggest passions include the performing arts and travel. To learn more about her, check out her blog at http://thecollegewings.blogspot.com.