Bikram Yoga: In a Cold Room

“The heating system is broken”.  It happened again yesterday.  We’ve now been to a number of classes when the heating system at the yoga studio has not worked and we’ve had to do our “Hot” yoga, in a not-so-hot room.

The staff seem to always be SO apologetic when this happens like they’re anticipating that we’ll be really upset or something which makes me wonder how everyone else has reacted.

We are unperturbed.  To some people this is a big deal.  They’re always complaining about how cold it is even when the heating system is working.  And yet, those same people will practice under the vent, next to the door ie. where air is going to blow onto your sweat and make you cold and then complain that it’s cold.  Seriously, it makes me want grab them and put them in the middle of the room where there are no vents and where you won’t feel the air from the open doors, surrounded by hot sweaty people and then say.. THERE… NOW complain that it’s cold!!

I know they won’t complain about the temperature but they will complain that there’s no air or that they can’t see themselves in the mirror!!  Some people are just way too precious.

Next time someone complains it’s cold, I wish the teacher would make them wear a jumper, a beanie and thermal leggings and make them do the rest of the class like that.  One teacher just quipped “Well, you’re not working hard enough.”  and then continued with the class.  Legend!

To be honest, I like doing yoga in a hot room.  The sweat makes Eagle really easy to slide your foot down to your ankle.  When it’s cold, there’s not enough sweat and “twisting your legs like 2 juicy wet ropes” feels more like giving your thighs Chinese burns.  But that’s the only time I like the hot room.  The rest of the time I’m just “enduring”.  I do it because that’s how it was designed.

Since we’ve tried some other types of yoga that are done in normal room temperature and ended up sweating like crazy in them anyway, we now judge difficulty based on how much internal heat we actually generate as a sign of how hard we’re working.

If you’re working hard enough, you end up sweating regardless of the temperature of the room and this way, you know the sweat is your doing and not because you’re sitting in a sauna-like situation.

After all, anyone can sit in a sauna and sweat.  You don’t see them coming out feeling proud of themselves for all the “work” they did now do you?

Anyway, we still end up sweating while doing Bikram Yoga in a cold room, so we know we’re working.

There are advantages to the cold room such as comfort to breathe normally all the time.  People think they’re working when it’s hot because they feel like it’s hard, they breathe heavily, their heart beat is accelerated and they’re sweating profusely.  Do the same thing in a cold room and it’s not that intense AT ALL.  Which means, you can breathe deeper and push harder without causing yourself to hyperventilate.  So it does make you question, are you really pushing when it’s hot or are you actually just struggling with the heat?

The hot rooms always test my irritability.  Being “hot and bothered” isn’t an expression for nothing.  So a hot room’s advantage is it makes me practice calming myself down quite a bit.  The cold room makes me quite comfortable so I can get on with other things instead of always checking my temper.

I find getting a grip in a cold room, much easier too.  Fingers and feet don’t slide as much so you can focus on getting to the next step with the posture rather than using all your energy trying not to slip out of it.  One can say that the slipping makes you gain strength in your fingers – if you can get a grip while your fingers are slipping then you’ve developed and strengthened certain muscles you wouldn’t have otherwise.

And they would be right.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both hot and cold just like there are advantages and disadvantages to practicing with or without being able to view yourself in the mirror.

I like going into a room and being pleasantly surprised that it’s much cooler just like I enjoy going into a room which has a stifling and oppressive heat that it makes it hard to breathe as soon as you enter ’cause all your muscles relax and you start sweating straight away.

I reckon a broken heating system and a 45’C class should be all part of the mix and I reckon they shoudn’t apologise for it.

It is what it is.  You get as many benefits and disadvantages by doing a cold class as you get doing a hot one and the sooner we all learn to adapt to whatever comes, without so much drama,  the better for all of us.


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