Hi! I just got back from Bikram Yoga tonight for the first time ever and it was AMAZING. I have always been so scared to try it, but have wanted to go for so long. When things are new to me and I think I’m going to be bad at them, I am so hesitant to try them. But you never know until you try so I have to get over that! I did a bit of research over the last few days and I found Bikram Alexandria, where they offer your first class FOR FREE along with a free mat rental. There was a class from 7:30-9pm, so I just decided to go for it! And I am sooooo happy that I did. They even give you popsicles at the end! 🙂
In terms of the experience itself, every studio is different, but here’s how it went at Bikram Alexandria. I went in and told them it was my first time, so they had me sign in and then fill out a waiver with my information and sign away that if I get hurt its not their fault. After that, they give you a tour of the studio, show you where the bathrooms/shower are, where to put your shoes, where the yoga room itself is, and told me to line up my mat inside on one of the lines. There was black tape spaced out all along the floor indicating where mats should go so there was enough room between them. He said to make sure I looked up and that I wasn’t underneath a heat vent, because that’s too much for your first time. I picked a spot in the back near the door, which turned out to be pretty good. I liked being by the door because when it opened I got a quick cool breeze, but I would have preferred to be in the front so I was in the first line for the mirror. You have to observe yourself in the poses to figure out if you’re doing it right, and focusing on your image helps you stay steady. Next time I’ll definitely choose a spot closer to the mirror, but still by the door.
Once the class begins, the instructor walks you through 26 poses. The first two are breathing exercises, and then the rest vary in difficulty. Some were so hard that I couldn’t hold them at all, and some I had no problem getting into and could hold it for the full 40 seconds. The instructor talks you through the whole thing, and as you look around the room, especially during hard poses, people around the room are in all different stages of the poses. I was worried I was going to be the worst one there, but I was really just average which made me happy. You do each pose twice, and the second time you try to go a bit deeper in if you can manage. There’s several rest periods built in, and you can just lay down on the mat during any time if you need to take a break. The instructor also said we were free to walk out if we couldn’t stand the heat/thought we’d pass out, but I was able to stay in the room the whole time and didn’t have to lay down once (except when I was instructed!). Overall, it was an amazing experience. I seriously cannot wait to go back.
Here’s a few great tips for first timers, some that I knew going into it, and some that I learned once there and wish I knew before I went!
1.) DON’T BE SCARED TO GO! Seriously, I am the most unflexible person there is, so if I can do it, you can too! I’ve always heard people say that you don’t have to be flexible and everyone is really focused on themselves and not looking at you, but I didn’t believe it until I was there. It is very intense, and people are so focused on themselves that no one is looking at you or cares if you fall out of the pose! I also thought that everyone who was there was going to be long and lean and that I would feel very out of place, but there were people (women and men!) of all shapes and sizes there.
2.) BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES – My friend Emily told me this one, and I am so happy she did. As I’m sure you can imagine, you sweat so much since the room is 105 degrees, and after you get out, the last thing you want to do is stay in your sweaty clothes to drive home. I wore shorts and a tanktop with a built in sports bra, and wore capris over the shorts. I just brought a change of underwear and a new tanktop and I was perfect.
3.) BRING WATER – And lots of it with ICE. Ice is a must. I filled my entire bottle with ice and just a little water and it was perfect because it stayed cold the whole time. I brought in that bottle and one regular bottle, and drank them both during the class. I don’t usually drink any water while running or biking, but you need it during Bikram because the room is so hot!
4.) BRING AT LEAST TWO TOWELS – You want one to lay on top of your mat (because you are literally dripping sweat) and another smaller one to wipe you face off while you’re between poses when necessary. I was so thankful to have a little hand towel with me!
5.) BRING A PLASTIC BAG – You will want to have something to put your clothes and towel in once you are done with the class because you are dripping wet. I brought a plastic shopping bag with me and it was perfect.
6.) REMOVE ALL YOUR MAKEUP OR BRING MAKEUP REMOVER/FACE WASH – This one I didn’t figure out until after it was too late, but you sweat so much and you don’t want to have black makeup running down your face. I noticed some of the women washing their faces before class started but I didn’t have any face wash or makeup remover with me! By the end of the class, my makeup had dripped all over my face. Not cute.
7.) BRING A SNACK FOR AFTER CLASS – You’re not supposed to eat for a few hours before the class, so by the time I got out I was pretty ravenous. Luckily, I had a PURE Bar in my car, and ate it on my drive home.
8.) LOOK FOR FIRST-TIMER SPECIALS – Most Bikram studios offer specials for first time students. Not everywhere offers a free class, but a lot of them do a discounted week or buy one get one free for new students. Check it out so you can try different studios out to find one that you like.
9.) JUST GO – Really, I am soooo happy that I went and now I’m plotting when I can go again already even though I just got back. If you’ve been toying with the idea and are scared like I was, just do it and you’ll be so happy you did!
Any other tips for first timers that you can think of??
Onto my eats!
Before I left work, I had a Blueberry Chobani with a chopped up apple and crushed Weetabix biscuit.
Loved this combo. After I got home (around 5:45p when the class started at 7:30), I had a slice of whole wheat bread with some almond butter that I didn’t take a picture of. That was the perfect pre-Bikram snack for me because it sits well in my stomach but was enough to hold me over.
On my way home from Bikram, I had the PUR bar in Cherry Cashew.
I’d never tried this flavor before and it was goood. In case you’re curious what the bar looks like inside the package, here it is:
Then, I made some Banana Ice Cream! This is so simple, but so delicious. All you do is take frozen banana and put it in the food processor for about 2-3 minutes. I had chopped up the banana before I froze it which made it easier to get into my mini food processor and to mix up.
Scrape down the sides as needed, and then it turns into a wonderful, creamy consistency, that is the best frozen yogurt/ice cream you will ever taste. I topped mine with dark chocolate chunks.
And it was sooooo good. You won’t even believe how creamy and delicious this gets with bananas at the only ingredient.
Seems counterintuitive, but you can’t even really tell its bananas! It just is creamy, flavorful, deliciousness. So good!
I’m off to relax. See you tomorrow!