Bend it like Bikram...
How does 90 minutes of yoga in a room heated to 40 degrees sound? If you haven’t already shuddered in horror then welcome to Bikram Yoga, an extreme form of yoga that leaves practioners elated (if not a little dehydrated).
We at Londonist decided to check out this invigorating craze and so armed with towels and water bottles we set our yoga mats down at Old Streets’ Bikram Yoga Centre and prepared to become human pretzels.
In the course of the non-stop class we worked through 26 postures, two breathing exercises and enough water to fill the Regent’s Canal. The series of 20 plus Hatha yoga poses is designed to work every part of the body while the heat helps you detox by sweating out all the nasty toxins. It also demands much more physical exertion than any of us had been prepared for as we tried to maintain a sense of poise while shifting gracelessly between poses.
None of us were as flexible as the pre-class bravura had suggested, but the joy of Bikram, once you have got used to the heat, is that it builds strength, lengthens muscles and also improves stamina, so you will start to see results after a wee while and enjoy each posture more and more.
We went three times in the first week, and after clocking up a month’s worth of classes we were amazed to find we could all touch our toes without snapping our hamstrings and were noticing newly emerged muscles.
Bikram may sound full on, but it really is an uplifting full-body workout and the feel-good buzz you get after a class will mean that, like us, you can get addicted to Bikram. And don’t worry, there were lots of novices like us falling out of poses and glugging down water as if they had just run the Marathon Des Sables.
So why not stretch yourself and your horizons and take up Bikram? There are five Bikram Yoga studios around London (Fulham, Chiswick, Kilburn Lane, Queens Crescent, Vestry Street). Introductory offers from £10 for 10 days / £29 for 30 days, check studios for details
By Clair Whitefield