Lately, people have been asking me what Bikram is really like. They know it's practiced in a hot room, but other than that, little is known. So, today, I thought I would take you a typical class for me.
I arrive at the studio about 15-20 minutes before class starts. I need time to sign in, fill up my water bottle, find a spot in the room, and just veg before class begins. Ten minutes before class, I go into the room, and my first thought is, "I can't do this in the heat." It hits you immediately. If you live in the South, it's like August when you go outside and immediately you feel sticky and uncomfortable. It's not a pleasant feeling. The other thing, I guess I better tell you about, is the smell. Sweaty people kind of stink and it permeates the room. After a while, you don't really notice it when you come in, but first timers always kind of stop at the door and crinkle up their noses for a moment. I go to my yoga mat, which is covered by a towel and lay down. Letting go of the day and quieting my mind are the major purposes of this, but it also lets me know if there is anything that is sore, tight or just needs attention before class. If there is, I'll do a couple of specific stretches for that area.
The lights seem to come on right after I do this, and the instructor enters the room. They use a wireless microphone to instruct the next 90 minutes. Instructors do not demonstrate the poses but give a very detailed description of what you are supposed to do. After the instruction, they will call your name if there is something you need to change or if they want to praise you for your effort. I don't know how it is at other Bikram studios, but at mine, the instructors have a knack of learning your name really fast. It's uncanny.
The 90 minutes are filled with 2 breathing exercises, one at the beginning and one at the end, and 26 postures, that if you've done yoga, you would recognize most of them, that are done twice. You start of with the warm up postures, then move on to the more challenging standing postures, and then for the second half of the class, you do poses on the floor. I won't describe each and every posture, because it would take to long, but I will say this, they are there to balance the flexibilty and strength of your body. I'm ok with the strength aspect of things, but my flexibility is a work in progress. I'm learning as I tackle the 30 day challenge that it's a journey......
Try it, you never know if it's what you've been looking for.