My first ever experience of Yoga was when i was about 14 years old, and all i remember is feeling like it was an hour of my life i had wasted and was never getting back. Since then, i was skeptical about yoga and pilates, even though people would RAVE about it and it always seemed to be discussed in magazines, keeping up with the kardashians, miley cyrus being papped walking out of pilates classes, and of course being known as the reason Madonna has a body 20 year olds are jelous of. SO WHY DID I ALMOST FALL ASLEEP DURING MY EXPERIENCE. Well, i think- like a lot of gym classes- it is very dependent on the instructor and who they are tailoring the class to. I admit, i was the only person below the age of 150 in the class, so that was probably why the instructor spent the hour going through positions best for SLEEP.
I tried Pilates during my third year of university- admittedly because my flatmate had shown me a link to Blogilates.com and the instructor who was teaching it looked JUST LIKE HER so i thought it HAD to be good. And it was- but i looked at it as more of a post-hardcore-gym-workout-might-aswell-go-to-pilates-and-stretch-my-muscles-out sort of thing.
['"Okay shut up, i just want to know about Bikram Yoga goddammit"]
SO WHY DID I TRY BIKRAM YOGA
one reason and one reason only. It featured on The Only Way Is Essex and said it burns like 1000 kcal in one hour, so HELL YEAH that got me curious. Oh and my posture was atrocious- i have rounded shoulders which has been pointed out by a guy at the gym, a spinning instructor, and my sports masseuse.
Now after my first session of Bikram Yoga, i feel as though the "raving" regarding Bikram Yoga is that you push your body into a zone which cannot be emulated by a gym workout. The lighting is dim, you are surrounded by half naked people sweating, deep breathing and extremely focused. And your body becomes so focused on mantaining certain positions, and pushing through the discomfort/sea of sweat that your thoughts become silenced/peaceful. At the gym i model a "IM IN A ZONE, I GOT MY DRE BEATS ON, LEAVE ME ALONE; ANYONE TALKS TO ME I WILL SCREAM" look because i'm just a really friendly person. ehem. and i consider the gym to be my therapy because my music is so deafening that i can't process my thoughts even if i tried to because Kanye West is screaming in my ear, and the buzz of the gym doesn't allow you to process your thoughts. Now i have slowly over the years realised i do suffer a bit from anxiety- i worry about things that aren't in my control and may not even happen, and it was only since Bikram Yoga that i have been able to silence these anxiety-fuelled thoughts and worries and find inner peace- even if it is for just 5 minutes.
I had bought a 10 days course for £20 with the intention of only using it twice during my exams (because 1 drop in session was £17 so it worked out cheaper). Now that was my intention, but in reality i used it 5 times, and i would have used it more if my uni schedule/my own gym routine had allowed me to.
Now i try and go once every 2 weeks to help with my posture and enable me to relax and work on finding peace within my (improved) anxiety.
Tips for newbies:
* Nike pros/shorts and a sports bra is ideal if you dont want sweaty clothing on you; some people obviously don't want to have their stomachs/legs on show and do wear leggings/gym gear, but personally i don't really care about the nakedness, and being bare actually makes me feel like more natural
* Waterproof mascara and no facemakeup. Its dark and noone cares.
* Hair up in tight bun on the top of your head, so it doesn't act as a pillow when you lie flat on your back, and so when you bend over (you will A LOT) your hair doesn't smother your face. If you have a fringe, clip it back. I tried to work this "fringe out" look, and i ended up almost ripping it off my face + it was dripping wet. Sexual.
* This is something guys and girls do. My classes were 60/40 Female/Male.
* If you're going to focus so much about what you look like/ what people are thinking then i would advise sitting further back in the room (i.e. away from the mirror), as it will distract you from working on your INNER mind and body.
* Sip water throughout, but because i live a clean-gym lifestyle i need to pee 24 times an hour, so personally i can get by sipping only 2 sips throughout the class because any more and i wet myself.
* Bring a towel to lie over your matt. It will be soaked after.
* Some say don't eat before, but personally if i don't eat before i'll end up eating my arm because i have the appetite of a teenage boy going through puberty. I eat 5 meals a day and will end up having 1 meal around 30mins before i leave my house to go to the class, and 1 meal when i get home.
* BRING WATER for the journey home. You will be so thirsty after. And if you're not, force that h20 down you because IT WILL HIT YOU. AND YOU WILL BE DEHYRATED
* This tip isn't for everyone, but it is a lighthearted one because of my experience of practicing yoga next to someone which did ruin it for me: BRUSH YOUR GODDAMN TEETH BEFORE YOU GO. DO NOT EAT GARLIC. IF YOUR FOOD HAS ANY DISTINCTIVE SMELL. THROW IT AWAY AND COOK SOMETHING BLAND.
* Don't let being intimidated by other peoples flexibility/lack of your own flexibility be a reason to not try it. You can sit some things out/do an easier level of the exercise
* I'm immature in some ways and in some classes they like you to do the whole humming thing, which cringed me out at first. But embrace it. By the end i was probably humming the loudest.
That's all i can think of for now
I personally don't think you burn 1000kcal. Definitely give it a go, because i was skeptical and it not only proved me wrong, but converted me, and i now REQUIRE it in my life for personal reasons.
Hope this helps!
(P.S. i took photos this time purposely for the blog)