Last year when I was done with breastfeeding and ready to really tackle baby weight I joined Bikrams Yoga with my sister in law and I also joined The Running Room Learn to Run group at the same time. I had a pregnancy that required bed rest and a year of total baby focus with zero time away from baby so I was eager to get physical again and get some me time.
My first few classes of Bikrams was pure hell. It was Bikrams torture chamber for sure. I felt panicky after the 3rd asanas and like I was either going to bolt from the room or my lungs were going to collapse. It was so humid and hot I felt like I was drowning. But I’m a determined person and I guess part of me also likes getting beaten into submission by my exercise so I told my sister in law (who is a team Canada ellite athlete) that I was in for more if she was.
Sometime after about the 3rd class I became addicted. It was such a cardiovascular workout to stay in a room that hot and move through the asanas and maintain my breathing that I found it so much more difficult than running. Plus I loved the dialogue the teachers used. “mama give me money” and “fold yourself into a Japanese Ham Sandwich” and “welcome to the torture chamber”. The instructors all warned us to drink at least 1 lt. of water prior to class and then 1lt. after class. I probably got in half a litre before and half after and spent that first week feeling totally hungover, drowsy, freezing cold and very headachy. My running room instructor told me I was very dehydrated and that when you stop sweating it means you have no fluids left to give and cannot cool yourself down. So it seems the Bikrams instructors knew what they were talking about. I not only started drinking the amount of water they recommended, I added Vita coco water (the most complete electrolite drink) and emergen-c. what a huge difference that made. I was now able to complete every single pose (except for one, continue reading) and feel great after class. 2 weeks of Bikrams and I had a flat washboard stomach again. wow, this Mr. Bikram was on to something.
Two memorable poses from Bikrams are Camel pose which I could not for the life of me do. Physically I was flexible enough to do it but for some reason that pose made me feel vulnerable like I was going to fall or rip my muscles apart. It always made me feel very sick to even attempt it and had to do child’s pose until the next asanas. I was told this is common and that some poses sometimes make you have a very emotional reaction. The second pose was Eagle pose. The instructor always said this pose was the fertility pose. Boy was she ever right. Three weeks post stopping breastfeeding and Bikrams I found myself feeling “off” again. I waited a few days and thought…hmmm..I should take a test. What a waist of my money that’s going to be. Ha! Ha Ha! Pregnancy happens for me usually with very calculated effort so this was a huge surprise. And that was the end of my very short but sweet Bikrams career….One day after I purchased a two month unlimited pass. Dr. said no go for sweating your entire weight of body fluids while pregnant but Yes to running…although I lasted until my 12th week when I got very lax joints and had to quite.
And that was the beginning of my little baby girl #2’s existence. Perfect little baby at the Ideal (so says everyone but me) age gap with my first daughter (21 months apart) yet inconvenient timing. And it’s so almost comical that she was a breech baby from week 20 until the end and because she was cross legged all of that time was born with a dislocated hip requiring an annoying harness for her first 3 months. My little yogini.
So I have a few tips for anyone wanting to try Bikrams:
1. hydrate. coconut water is awesome! Coconut water is balanced much the same way blood plasma is so a little of it goes a long way.
2. first class I wore cotton lulu crops, before the second class I went to lululemon and pleasantly discovered they made hot yoga specific clothes. I wore a very short luxtreme tank and shorts to the next class. I couldn’t handle having any fabric over my belly so I just wore a top over my short tank into class and took it of right as class started.
3. Move slowly and with intention. If you move too fast into and out of poses you feel sick.
4. Take a good microfibre yoga towel with you. I got a cheap one at London drugs and it absorbed Everything. Lulu now has the Maduka towel meant for hot yoga and It has some really good reviews.
5. Take a spot nearest the door. Sometimes the teacher is nice and will open the door during class and you will get the best draft possible there.
4. only start sipping your water when the teacher tells you you can. After the second pose. The first two poses are meant as a warm up so it’s best not to cool down at that point.
5. Enjoy the dialogue. it’s hysterical and if anything lets you forget your self for a microsecond the dialogue will.
6. Watch out for eagle pose!