Bikram Yoga: A warning… it’s hot!

Someone visited us recently and as we’re so loving the yoga and really enthusiastic about it, she decided to join us.

It was an early morning (6.30am) class because we wanted to do it before the work day and it was the day after she arrived from her 24 hr flight over from Australia.

We thought it would be good for her, to help with jet lag and encouraged her to drink water to prepare etc.  In fact just the week before, our yoga teacher got off a flight from San Francisco and came straight in to teach a class so we thought it would be ok for her to join.  Also during class, they always say that certain postures are good for regulating sleep patterns.

“I’ve done it before” she said.

I responded, “Well, just to warn you this is Bikram Yoga”

“Yeah, I know!”

“The hot one! Where…”

“Yeah, I know, I’ve done it before in Sydney.  Me and my husband used to go and I used to laugh at him because he couldn’t do the poses. I don’t think he liked it.. “

“OK so, just want to check that it’s the one where you get really sweaty because it’s hot in the…”

“Yeah… it’s the same, I told you, I’ve done it before.”

I didn’t want to push the issue so said “OK great… Well it’s exactly the same here, there’s nothing different.”

She said “Yep, OK, I’m ready, let’s go!”

The next day we all got up to go, she wore long tights.  When I asked where her shorts were, she said “oh I’m wearing these”.. I thought, well, no biggy, lots of people wear tights in Bikram yoga…

So I then asked “where’s your change of clothes?”

She said  “Oh I’m wearing these back”

“Really?  But you’re gonna be really sweaty afterwards and..”

“Yeah, it’s fine, I used to do this back in Sydney”

“Yeah but this is London… it’s cold.. are you sure..”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

At this stage alarm bells rung in my mind “is she really serious??” but hey, if she’s alright with being in a really hot room and then walking home in wet clothes with a cold wind blowing, that’s her prerogative.

“OK then…”

When we got there and entered the room, her first words were “It’s so hot in here!  Is it supposed to be this hot?”

Did she seriously just ask that question?   “What?!! I thought you’d done this before!?!”

It was the first class of the day, the room was just starting to warm up, it wasn’t hot at all…

“Yeah, I have.. just not in a hot room like this..”

The teacher walks in.. it’s too late to explain anything.  The teacher asks “is this your first time?” her answer “No, I’ve done this before, ages ago” and off we went.

She did alright for her first class, she stayed in the room.  Thank God it was first thing in the morning and we hadn’t eaten anything for more than 6 hours because right after class we went into the change room and immediately she said, “Where’s the toilet?  I need to throw up.”

Actually she didn’t say it.. she just made motions with her face and hands… so I quickly showed her the toilet.  She was in there a while.

4 times.  She vomited 4 times.  I actually don’t know what she vomited considering we hadn’t eaten since the night before.  Apparently water…

So what’s the warning?

NEVER assume that Bikram Yoga is the same as other yogas.  It’s distinctly known for the temperature at which you do the yoga.. It’s hot.

I did ashtanga for a while before my very first Bikram Yoga class when I was in my 20’s and I couldn’t get through my first 3 classes because of the heat…

I have never been to a Bikram yoga class that wasn’t hot?  Anybody out there been to one that wasn’t?  I’ve been to Bikram in London and in Sydney… they’re just as hot as each other!

That person STILL insists that she’s been before just “not in a hot room like that”.

Alright mate.. whatever you say!  I don’t believe her and I’m still not convinced.

Who the hell goes to a Bikram yoga class that’s cold?  I know I ranted last time about it being TOO HOT but I’d rather that than just doing poses in a cold room.  If that’s what I wanted, I’d just go do Ashtanga in the park.. or in my lounge room.

Can I just say that if any of you have ever been to a cold / cool Bikram Yoga studio, I’d like to know where one exists… not so I can go there but so that I make sure I avoid it!

As for any of you who have “done it before”… don’t EVER ask me if it’s “supposed to be this hot?”  I’m telling you now… yes, it’s supposed to be that hot!

Drink your water and prepare to sweat unless you want to vomit 4 times afterwards…

As for the person who joined us… I still don’t believe that she’d been before that time.  I realise now that as a general rule, everybody who’s been to Bikram Yoga will never JUST say “I’ve done it before”.  They’ll definitely tell you if they loved it or hated it, they’d know immediately if they want to re-attend and they’ll never ask if “it’s supposed to be this hot!”


5 thoughts on “Bikram Yoga: A warning… it’s hot!”

  1. Australia has heaps of non-Bikram-accredited hot yoga studios. They tend to do the Bikram series – and teachers will refer to the classes as Bikram classes, although they’re usually careful not to put this into print – but the room is usually 25-30 degrees celsius. I suspect your friend might have visited one of these 🙂 The poor thing; I hope she felt okay afterwards!

    1. Ummm…. so in a Bikram hot room what’s the temperature supposed to be? I think I will sneak in a thermometer next time I go – I have a sneaking suspicion they don’t tell you the temperature on purpose!

      1. Yikes!!!! OK… now I know why they don’t tell me… in saying that, I never asked directly… I guess I didn’t want to know 😉 40’C and 40% humidity sounds about right though – no other way my fingers would burn (their usual state is frozen just like my feet). The other day the teacher said “is the heat turned up to full? Turn it up to full…. oh! It’s already on full? OK well then turn off the air… ” you could just hear the silent indignation all around the room! 😛

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