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Bikram Yoga

27-05-2013 · Violeta Sugranyes

Try to remember the warmest moment in your life. You are drenched in sweat, out of breath and you can’t stop thinking of a massive glass of frozen water loaded with ice. Well now try to imagine feeling like this during hour and half, plus having to do impossible postures, with no water and surrounded by a group of 15 people in a 30sqm space. Welcome to Bikram Yoga.

Temp. 39 CI would say my first contact with Bikram yoga was by coincidence. We went to film a yoga competition training session the Bikram Yoga centre in Barcelona and as we arrived I was taken back by the expressions of the group of people that were just coming out of a Bikram yoga session: semi naked, red-faced bodies with an exhausted smile on their face.

When a few days later Sara suggested the Padi team tried the weekly trial course, I jumped with excitement.  I have always been interested in yoga, my grandmother practiced it until she was 90 and I inherited her profound respect for yoga’s philosophy.

Each September I plan to enrol for a full-on course but I’ve only every actually done it for a trimester; something I regret because I really enjoyed it, I remember a lovely peaceful feeling of contentment during the following hours and the day!

That said, Bikrma yoga is different to the “common” style of yoga, it’s always a 90 minute session in a 40 degrees heated room. All the classes have the same structure, a repetition of 26 Asanas, postures. It became popular in the early 70s but it’s said that’s been done in India for centuries. There’s a school on every corner in New York and people like Madonna, George Clooney or David Beckham are said to be regular practitioners.

The first day we tried it out was a challenge. Bikram yoga must be done on an empty stomach (no food in the previous 3 hours) and having drunk at least a litre and a half of water.

Bikram YogaWe were all kind of nervous in the office that afternoon; we kept bumping in to each other on our way to the toilet.

Once we had arrived at the Bikram Yoga centre I had to overcome the first challenge: undressing in front of your work colleagues. It seems absurd but when you’ve never done it before its weird, and it’s funny because you seem to feel more comfortable doing it in front of strangers than in front of people you see every day.

The best clothing for Bikram yoga is the least as possible. For someone not that comfortable with their body that’s another challenge.

When you enter the classroom the heat slaps you in the face, you instinctively take a step back and must move slowly to avoid getting dizzy. Heat makes it easier for you to stretch into the postures, it relaxes your muscles and you become more flexible. Plus it helps you release tons of toxins with all the sweating.

The postures seem simple, and you say to yourself “ah, I can do this” but then you compare how you look in the mirror next to the other pros in the class and you see how far you still have to go!

I thought the heat would be harder to tolerate and that I wouldn’t resist not drinking water (you are allowed to but the teacher recommends you don’t) or leaving the class for some cool air, but I didn’t. I managed to do most postures which was another tick in the box. And the feeling of satisfaction hours later and the fun I had with my colleagues, was a great reward.

Two weeks have gone past and I’m still not 100% sure if I want to enrol for more classes or do regular yoga and/or swimming instead. I loved trying it a couple of times and I should probably take a few more sessions before I make a final decision. At least now I know that I practice it daily, I do a Shavasana (the dead body pose) every night in my bed before I go to sleep! ;)

Violeta Sugranyes

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