I unfortunately have little to no flexibility in my body. So when I started increasing my exercise I found myself getting tighter and tighter, even the little muscles I didn’t know I had started screaming at me!
So I turned to yoga, not nice normal yoga that goes for an hour. NO, I chose the most gruelling, mentally challenging kind – Bikram Yoga! It’s the competitiveness in me. I figure if I’m going to try something new, it may as well be something that’s going to push me beyond my comfort zone and give me maximum bang for my buck!!
This kind of yoga is gruelling, 90 minutes of hard knocks-style yoga. You are in a studio that has been heated to 38-40 degrees celsius and as an added bonus, it has also been increased to 40% humidity. It’s a very confronting environment, not for the faint hearted and as a yoga novice, I find it incredibly challenging.
Prior to class I drink litres of water, I’m usually tired and very sore. It’s 7:30pm after a long day and I am never, never in the mood for it. But I drag myself into the studio wearing embarrassingly short shorts and an even shorter top (clothing and Bikram do NOT go together!). I always find the studio filled with long and lean bodies, clearly they do this often, they’re not sweating, they’re relaxed and enjoying the eerily quiet environment.
Then there’s me, I fumble with my mat, whilst quickly gulping down water before the instructor comes and tells me no more water until after the first 30mins! I am not at peace with the silence, nor the heat and that ridiculous humidity. Oh and have I mentioned the mirrors, wall to wall mirrors! All the Crossfitters that read this, just smirked, Crossfit gyms DO NOT have ANY mirrors, ever, period!
Once the class begins you have no time to think, the instructor fills every minute with the fluid and fast instructions for the class. Because the environment is so confronting, your mind wants to wander, you will start to doubt your ability to do the movements and stay in the studio. So the instructor keeps you focused the entire time, never letting you think, sh*t get me out of here!! And those mirrors, they are a crucial element of keeping you focused as well. You must keep eye contact with yourself the whole time, eyes open and focused. Looking at anyone else is a bad idea, you will lose balance. Thankfully no one is interested in looking at me in ridiculously short shorts and even shorter top!
By the end of the 90 minutes I am exhausted, I’ve lost at least 3 litres of sweat on my beach towel covering my yoga mat and my clothes are soaking wet. I’m feeling very proud of myself for surviving. The sore muscles are now warm, relaxed and I feel very, very calm. Once at home, showered, with my P.J’s on and another litre of water consumed. I crawl into my delicious bed, it takes approximately 15 seconds to fall into a sleep coma (according to my hubby).
The next morning, well this is the reason I go through with Bikram Yoga, the next morning I feel brilliant. Fresh, detoxed, my skin is glowing, no sore muscles and so relaxed.
Crossfit, I love. The environment, the exercise, the MUSIC, crazy fun people, no mirrors, everything. But whatever your fitness routine, doing something different that complements it can help. Bikram Yoga might not be it, swimming, pilates, surfing, running (whatever makes you feel good) can all help to improve your overall fitness and health.
I’m going to continue with Bikram Yoga over the next couple of weeks. After my competition, I’m switching to swimming. It’s summer and the thought of Bikram Yoga during an Australian summer, well, let’s just say “thanks, but no thanks!”