Truth be told I was a bit sceptical, nervous and excited all at once as I arrived at SoHot Bikram Yoga in North Soho in London today. When the smell of the building hit me as I walked through the doors I was tempted to make a u-turn and I probably would had it not been for my friend who took me there. She assured me I would love it once I got really into it and it would be bad to turn around for a little bad odour. Everything should be tried at least once, right?
When I came into the reception area people were wearing very little clothes (men were only wearing little shorts) and I felt a sudden panic of being trapped in a heated sweaty room full of half naked strangers, but as the crazy adventurous londoner I now am I shook it off and slipped into my running nylon bottoms and nylon top (I was adviced to stay off the cotton) and tiptoed bare foot to the heated room with the half naked strangers. Nothing weird about that, right? ;)
As I entered the Bikram yoga room the heat hit me in that same surprising way as the air in Thailand did the first time I walked out of the plane, extremely humid and very hard to breathe. Again I panicked a little thinking of how the Policies and Etiquette stated no one was at any point allowed to leave the room, but having come this far there was no way I would turn around now. I only needed to get through 90 minutes…
I got a mat and a towel and found a place in the back where I could sneak a peek at the more experienced bikramers. The session started with vocal breathing techniques which fortunately increased my lung capacity in the humid air. We then starting doing the poses and it wasn’t long until we were all dripping of sweat, and I do really mean dripping. The poses were challenging to the point where my muscles started shaking and I really felt I was getting a great workout. In my head I had pictured all the people bending in ways that would fit right into The Exorsist, but it was actually far more sivilized and without sounding like a real prude I think I managed to keep up fairly well considering it was my first session.
The Bikram Yoga consists of 26 poses:
The session was divided into two parts, the first comprised of poses that are more physically challenging and the second of poses that are more about stretching. Apparently most people prefer the second part, but I think I preferred the first part as I quite like to feel I’m challenging my body and feel I’m using my muscles. The trainer we had was brilliant and explained everything very thoroughly, he also made me feel very welcome and at no time did I feel stupid despite some wrong turns here and there.
As I walked out of the room I decided that this could easily become my new “thing”. I feel eager to see how far I can push myself and how far I can be able to bend, and if I next time will be able to do better than this time. One of my new years resolutions was to get more flexible after all :)
What was your first Bikram Yoga session like? Would you consider going for one if you haven’t tried it yet?