In the spirit of revving up my exercise routine, I tried my first hot yoga class on Monday night. (As the teacher explained, the class is called "hot" yoga, not "Bikram" yoga, because the founder of Bikram yoga, Bikram Choudhury, has taken legal action to prevent anyone from teaching yoga in a heated room and calling it "Bikram" yoga unless they are certified in his specific method. Yikes!)
Semantics aside...it was an intense workout. The poses and sequencing were similar to vinyasa flow (the style of yoga I practice regularly), but the room was heated to approximately 100 degrees. For the first 30 minutes or so (it was a 90-minute class), I was feeling great and thinking to myself (in a not very yogi-like way) that the whole thing seemed like a piece of cake. 45 minutes in, I was starting to feel the burn in a big way. I was expecting the added heat, of course, but I wasn't prepared for how much extra effort it takes to complete the poses when your body is fighting just to maintain its core temperature, much less hold Paripurna Navasana. More than a few times, I had to take Child's Pose to find my breath and settle my heart rate. Needless to say, by the end of class I was totally wiped out, but in a hurts-so-good sort of way (similar to the sort of "runner's high" I feel after a long, hard run).
I've heard that hot yoga is a really great way to detoxify impurities from your system because you sweat so profusely - as I can personally attest! Plus, the class left me so relaxed that I slept better than I think I have in a long time - and that's saying something because I'm a pretty sound sleeper. I'm really glad I challenged myself to try it, and I think it'll become a regular or semi-regular addition to my yoga practice.
Have you guys tried hot or Bikram yoga? I'd be curious to hear about your experiences!
Image via Yoga Station.