Bikram: Hot Yoga, Cool People

bikram-yogaWith the exception of crack and bull riding, I’ll try almost anything once.  Case in point, Bikram. Bikram is a style of yoga that features 26 specific postures and breathing exercises in a room that’s 105 degrees.

I didn’t look anything like to the two girls in this picture, but I did reap the intended benefits of the Bikram yoga system; a post-class sense of wellness,  restoration, and rejuvenation of body balance.

Upon a recommendation from my friend, Alex, I attended a class at the Bikram Yoga Studio in Cedar Knolls last Wednesday.  After a nice workout and protein shake in the morning at the Y, me, Paul (another yoga newbie) and Alex took a little field trip to the studio.

I’ve always been a big believer that the teacher makes all the difference when taking any kind of class. Our instructor for the day was Shelley Some, and she was fantastic.  Shelley, who’s been teaching for three years, lost 22 lbs. practicing Bikram and most importantly, has kept the weight off for three years.  She shared her thoughts on Bikram in a follow-up interview.

bikram-yoga1SS “The biggest misconceptions about Bikram Yoga is that it is a gentle yoga and does not enable someone to burn calories and that it’s not the intense athletic workout that it is.”

mp: yeah… I can attest to this.  If you were expecting the downward doggie pose with a scented candle- kind of stuff like I was, you’d be in for a rude, sweaty and exhausting awakening.  (In a good way, of course.)  This was one of the most challenging physical workouts I’ve ever attempted.

SS “People think that they need to be flexible to do yoga,when in reality yoga will make you flexible.”

mp: As a former soccer player, cyclist and triathlete, strength and conditioning were always the focus.   Flexibility and balance was never a priority.  Bikram actually caters to all three, without the pounding on your joints.
SS “Yoga works your body from the inside out. Every cell, organ,  tissue, body system, muscle, ligament etc. in one 90 minute session. I have done every type of exercise available over the years. Bikram Yoga is the only type I’ve been able to do injury free…”

bikrammp: The experts recommend swimming for the same reason.  A person can swim several times a week for years and not experience the typical ground and pound issues that avid runners and turf athletes do.

SS “It truly is a wonderful form of exercise for your mind, body and soul! “

mp: When you get past the self-consciousness of sweating profusely and not being as gumby-like and statuesque as the Yoga regulars in the front row, you’ll be in for a rewarding experience.

Since we like to change up our workout routines every month to avoid muscle adaptation and to keep it fun, we’ll be going back each Wednesday for the rest of December.   If you’d like to join us, the class begins at 9:30 am and costs $25.

My friend, Paul, is coming back for a second try and my friend, John, said he’s ready for the challenge also.

zico_coconut_water1Special shout out to the folks at Zico, they make a delicious coconut and mango-flavored water that hits the spot after class.  It’s billed as “Nature’s Sport Drink.” Served up chilled and right out the box, it tasted great coming out of a cool-down shower.   If you are looking to change up your regularly scheduled Gatorade/Vitamin Water etc. routine, give it try.


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