Bikram Yoga: Feeling HOT HOT HOT

If you’ve ever asked can Bikram yoga ever be too hot?  My answer is ABSOLUTELY!

I LOVE the hot room.. mate, the hotter the better!  I hated when the room was cooled down by opened doors and people fluffing their towels and whatnot because it would send a cool breeze to my warm muscles and give me shivers or make me feel slightly more cramped and less flexible.  Besides, I like using the sweat to lubricate my eagle pose… it’s a LOT easier to do when you’re sweaty than when you’re not!

However, after my Bikram yoga session (on Easter Monday), I’ve changed my mind… I like hot rooms but not THAT hot.  Just before the class started, the teacher said, “This class is going to be tough…”

Class listens in silence, anticipating the onslaught of a screaming, pushing, boot-camp style teacher.  She was nothing like that at all…

“…because we’ve had a 4 day weekend, been eating chocolates and drinking alcohol…. the goal is to stay in the room”

Oh!  I breathe a sigh of relief!  WELL, I didn’t eat chocolates or drink alcohol so I’m sweet!  I’ll get through this class no worries!

The first half of the standing series went OK but then people were starting to sit instead of doing the postures and some were lying down.

I think to myself… wow.. those guys must’ve had a HUGE piss up over the weekend and ate TONNES of chocolate!

It was starting to get quite hot, my thighs were red, my face was red, my towel was drenched and I was sweating profusely – much more than ever before.  Every inverted pose I did sent sweat up my nose making it hard to breathe…. I decided to ignore this, “it’s all good…. just relax… and breathe”.

Standing savasna, I hear the sound of water pouring… ???? I look around.. water would be AWESOME right now….  I see the guy next to Tony is DRIPPING, soaking, water all over the towel, mat and floor… OMG he sounds like a waterfall!! Is that sweat? Or did he just pour water on his head???

Not knowing the answer, I returned to my practice, completely baffled BUT insisted that I remain with my breath…. “all is well again.. focus on one spot and breathe”.

Floor series, a person walks out… a few postures in, another person walks out… half way through the floor series, yet another person walks out.  I agree it’s hot… but why didn’t they stay in the room and just lie down?

I’m sweating a lot still.  Usually by floor series, my sweat has stopped but it hadn’t in this class, making all the gripping postures practically impossible.

And then.. it happened… my entire body was BURNING.  I have never begged in my mind for the door to be opened before but I could hear myself begging for a cool breeze.  For the first time during yoga, my mind left the room entirely.  I thought of everything except what I was doing.. I thought of what work I had to do and the calls I had to make… basically I had to think of ANYTHING other than how hot it was.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse… I started panicking…. I just HAD to get out… I just HAD to, my fingers were red and felt like they were burning!!  Even in a fever my fingers don’t burn!  I then understood why those people left the room… we were being cooked alive!! RUN!!!

I wanted to get out, there were only 6 people left doing anything and I was not one of them.  The teacher opens the door… ALLELUIA!  A cool breeze!! Thank you God!!  One guy moves and sits right next to it and he sits there for the remainder of the class.

I breathe a sigh of relief…. OK I can stay here… but she closes the door all too quickly and the heat starts to build up again.  I’ve now completely finished sweating.  I was still hot so I either had no more water in my body left or it was so hot it evaporated my sweat as soon as it emerged from my skin… either way… I was becoming a slow roasted pork belly.

But before I could imagine myself wallowing in mud, I gave it one last shot and got through the last few poses limp and ready to give up.  By that stage, Tones was lying down on his mat not moving.

The begging in my mind started again…. “please make it stop!!! When is this class going to end?????” and then… it did and I rejoiced when I heard the fans and heater switch off.

PHEW!!!

It took me 30mins to cool down after class and have enough energy to walk home again.  Turns out Tones was lying down because his brain completely shut down… he was lying there with pins and needles in both arms and both legs and couldn’t move anything.  I had the same feeling after class so we rested before walking home.

I’d asked the teacher if they’d turned up the temperature and she said that “it wasn’t any hotter than normal”.  Man, I’m now scared of her classes if that’s NORMAL!

On the way home we felt AWESOME!  I’d like to say we felt awesome because we both stuck it out even when it was clearly getting to be extremely uncomfortable for both of us but I think Tones’ explanation for our feeling of awesomeness rings truer.

Tony: “We felt great because the torture was over, we were NOT in the class anymore and we got the F*ck out of there!”

Ha ha ha!  Too right!!  In saying that we’re alive, our skin is soft (not crispy like a roasted pork belly) and we’re still going back even in the early mornings, in the cold and in the rain.  So it couldn’t have been THAT bad!

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3 thoughts on “Bikram Yoga: Feeling HOT HOT HOT”

  1. “it wasn’t any hotter than normal” <– I'm pretty sure there's a class during Teacher Training where they're taught how to say this with a straight face. My teachers say it too… and I'm like "Um, I burnt my hand on the doorhandle when I walked in. Pretty sure that qualifies as hotter than normal” 😉

    1. It almost happened again the other day with me (the burning hand syndrome) – either I’m getting really sensitive or these teachers are getting tougher.. either way I feel like weeping and whimpering during class! Seems I’m a sucker for punishment though, ready to go through it all again tomorrow!

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